Hong Kong pro-democracy lawmakers threaten to resign ‘en masse’

HONG KONG: Pro-democracy members of Hong Kong’s legislature will resign “en masse” if Beijing moves to disqualify four of them for violating the city’s Basic Law, the bloc said Monday (Nov 9).

The threat came ahead of a meeting of one of China’s top law-making bodies, with Hong Kong media reporting that it was considering disqualifying four of the city’s legislators for violating their oaths by disrupting the chamber.

“(What) the central government is trying to do with the people’s representatives in Hong Kong is totally ridiculous,” Wu Chi-wai, head of the Democratic Party, said at a press conference announcing the decision.

Hong Kong’s leader is chosen by pro-Beijing committees, but half of its legislature’s 70 seats are directly elected, offering the city’s 7.5 million residents a rare chance to have their voices heard at the ballot box.

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The inability of Hong Kongers to elect their leaders and all of their lawmakers has been at the heart of swelling opposition to Beijing’s rule, including the huge and often violent protests that broke out last year.

Hong Kong’s democracy camp has come under sustained attack since Beijing imposed a sweeping national security law in response to the protests, including political disqualifications, arrests for social media posts and activists fleeing overseas.

China’s leaders have described the law as a “sword” hanging over the head of their critics.