Thousands march over bid against Hong Kong lawmakers

January 1, 2017 8:00 pm

A pro- protester (R), who is against independence, argues with protesters taking part in a pro-democracy march in , China January 1, 2017. (via Reuters)

Thousands have attended a demonstration in Hong Kong to protest against a bid by the government to unseat four lawmakers of the city’s parliament.
The march through the streets of Hong Kong on New Year’s Day on Sunday saw more than 9,000 people against a legal bid by the city’s government to ban four newly elected lawmakers over the alleged breaches in their swearing-in ceremony and in their oaths of allegiance.
The four, who will be subject to legal proceedings beginning from Friday, led the rally, which the police said had fewer than 5,000 people in attendance.
A court decided in November to ban two pro-independence lawmakers for failing to swear their oaths of office correctly. Those two had used the oath taking ceremony to express their views against China and reiterate calls for independence.
Hong Kong is governed under a ‘One Country, Two Systems’ rule since Britain handed the territory back to China in 1997. Under a deal signed at the time, Hong Kong should retain its broad autonomy, its freedoms and the rule of law for 50 years. Anti-China activists and politicians say, however, that Beijing’s repeated interference could erode those authorities and freedoms.
Hong Kong’s legislative, executive, and judiciary bodies are already separate from and independent of China, and Beijing only maintains authority in defense, foreign affairs and constitutional disputes.
“We can see that under Hong Kong’s rule of law, the government, with its unlimited resources, will use legal procedures to bully leaders and representatives with fewer resources,” said an activist attending the Sunday rally.
“The four lawmakers are genuinely concerned about the future of Hong Kong to ensure that our core values will be maintained,” said another protester, adding, “Particularly, that our next generations will enjoy the freedoms that I have enjoyed before.”
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