Editorial | SAR overruled

Paulo Coutinho

Paulo Coutinho

Elected lawmakers Yau Wai-ching’s and Sixtus Leung’s mockery oaths, three weeks ago, were ruled invalid by the Legislative Council, and subsequent attempts have resulted in mayhem in LegCo’s weekly sessions. The government had no choice but to take the case to the Hong Kong courts.
From then on, inflamed detractors of the two young localists awoken to politics by the Occupy Central movement, like tens of thousands of others, labeled them kids, idiots, fools, puppets, whatever – they all sounded like the People’s Daily on a good day.
Usually, in authoritarian regimes such as China the first effort the establishment makes is to discredit dissenting voices, while intimidating all the others by example: is this what you want to be?; is this what you want your children to become? Then when the hordes see them as “outcasts,” comes the fatal blow – the punishment – as happened yesterday when Li Fei, deputy secretary general of the National People’s Congress Standing Committee, labeled them as “traitors.”
“All traitors who sell out our country will never meet good ends,” Li said making it sound like a real threat, and rightly so because the punishment the state serves a “traitor” is the capital sentence.
The NPC’s ruling barring two legally elected separatist lawmakers from taking office was seen as Beijing’s rhetoric against emergent separatist movements in our sister SAR, but is a gross interference in internal Hong Kong politics. What stands is that China overruled the SAR judicial autonomy with the ever-zealous helping hand of CY Leung: duly noted.
That being so, by-elections will be called to fill the two vacant seats at the Legislative Council.
According to experts quoted by AP, the NPC made no clear ruling on whether the two could run again for their original seats.
If that is so, and if they should both win the elections again, the mockery will be no more. The fools will be on the wrong side of history.
If that happens, the two young and rebellious lawmakers-elect will have done more good for Hong Kong society in a few days than a thousand charities in a lifetime. Remember Martin Lee’s wise words in the 1997 handover days? How can I be (totally) happy if we are returning to a place we ran away from some 40 years ago?!


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Categories China Editorial