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曾焯文

Chapman Chen, Ph.D.(曾焯文博士)香港綠色行者、政論人、翻譯家,語言學者 網誌

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Disqualification of Six Hong Kong Opposition Law-makers and Formation of Shadow Government

Disqualification of Six Hong Kong Opposition Law-makers and Formation of Shadow Government
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The executive power of Hong Kong has used the Judiciary to purge democratically elected law-makers. Six dissident Legislative Council Members have been consecutively disqualified by the Hong Kong Communist authorities, including Sixtus Leung Chung-hang, Yau Wai-ching, Lau Siu-lai, Yiu Chung-yim, Leung Kwok-hung, Nathan Law Kwun-chung. Now pro-democracy and localist law-makers have the option of collectively resigning from their posts, making a new constitution on a square, setting up a shadow-government, and, with their original authorization by the voters, reaching out for international support, and announcing the Hong Kong Communist Government as an illegitimate regime. Another option for them is to occupy the trash council, and call upon all Hongkongers to take part in the resistance. (Video) (Chinese written version

Certain political parties and critics are concerned that collective resignation on the part of the opposition law-makers will cause the Legislative Council to become something like the Provisional Legislative Council of 1997, where any evil bills, laws or motions, for example, laws to give effect to Article 23 of the Basic Law, the arrangements for "co-location of boundary control" (which will enable Mainland officers to operate on Hong Kong soil and conduct border checks for Express Rail Link passengers at the Express Rail Link West Kowloon Terminus), amendment of the rule of Legco procedures in order to forbid filibustering, can be passed unimpeded. But the fact is: Even without the oppositionists resigning collectively from their Legco positions, those bills, laws and motions can still be passed now.

Opposition law-makers in the Legco have always been vases for decoration and consultation purposes. With the six law-makers disqualified, the democrats and localists are even more passive in the Legco. As at the end of the day, they will be removed anyway, why don't they refuse to play by the rules set by the Communists? Why don't they take risks, pursue an alternative line, and courageously fight their way out of the dead waters together with all Hong Kong citizens?

The opposition Legco members are supposed to act for the public good of Hongkongers. So much the more, the first wave of disqualification hit the allegedly pro-independence law-makers (Sixtus Leung and Yau Wai-ching); the second wave struck the self-determination camp (the four recently disqualified law-makers); and the third wave will probably aim at the opposition law-makers who are lawyers. (The most compliant Democratic Party would be the last to go.) Thus, it is in the interest of the opposition law-makers, who are not yet disqualified, to collectively resign first. Below please find a detailed explanation as to why collective resignation will not make much difference as far as the passing of evil laws, bills or motions is concerned.

Article 23 and Co-location of Boundary Control

According to the Basic Law, the passage of bills introduced by the Government, for instance, laws to give effect to Article 23 and co-location of boundary control, only requires a simple majority vote of the members of the Legislative Council PRESENT. As a result of the last Legco election, the Legislative Council consisted of 70 seats, among which the establishment camp accounted for 40, and the opposition camp 30. Thus, even before the disqualification of the six law-makers took place, laws for Article 23 could still be passed (provided that the establishment camp were united). Of course, after the disqualification exercise, only 24 opposition members remain in the Legco, and laws for Article 23 can be passed even more easily.

Amendment of Legco Procedural Rules to Ban Filibustering

According to the Basic Law, the passage of motions, bills or amendments to government bills introduced by individual members of the Legislative Council shall require a simple majority vote of each of the two groups of members present: members returned by functional constituencies and those returned by geographical constituencies through direct elections and by the Election Committee. Members returned by functional constituencies are mostly pro-establishment. In last year's election, 35 members were returned by geographical constituencies through direct elections and by the Election Committee, among which the pro-establishment camp accounted for 16 members, and the opposition camp 19. After the disqualification of five directly elected law-makers (Yiu Chung-yim belonged to functional constituencies), the opposition camp only has 14 seats left in the Legco, two seats less than the pro-establishment camp. So amendment of Legco procedural rules to ban filibustering can easily be passed.

Electoral Reform Proposals

According to the Basic law, amendments to the method of electing Legco members and the Chief Executive must be made with the endorsement of a two-thirds majority of all the members of the Council. As aforementioned, as a result of the last Legco election, the Legislative Council consisted of 70 seats, among which the establishment camp accounted for 40, and the opposition camp 30. After the disqualification exercise, only 24 seats remain with the opposition camp. 40 plus 24 equals 64, two-thirds of which is 43. In other words, in order to have undemocratic political reform proposals passed in the Legco, the Hong Kong Communist Government only has to pay off three more pan-democrats for them either to be absent, or to abstain from voting, or to vote no. Thus, even if the opposition law-makers do not collectively resign, it will still be very difficult for them to fend off any evil bills, laws or motions proposed by the Government or by the pro-establishment law-makers.

No Risk, No Gain

Beijing is pushing Hong Kong hard and fast towards one country-one system. If the opposition law-makers really care about the well-being of Hong Kong, and if they want to protect themselves in the long run, they have to take a chance and choose one of the following strategies. Number one, they may occupy the trash council and lead Hongkongers to resist tyranny (as suggested by a netizen). Number two, they may collectively resign . And the follow-up action is making a new constitution on a square, forming a shadow government, denouncing the present Legco for being illegitimate, the Hong Kong Communist Government for being an illegal regime. For the executive authorities have used the Judiciary to persecute democratically elected dissident law-makers. And the Executive Council and the pro-establishment camp of the Legco have assisted Communist China to systematically colonize Hong Kong, arbitrarily arresting and prosecuting activists, etc, all in violation of the Basic Law and the International Covenant of Human Rights. Because most of the opposition law-makers are directly elected, they have voters' authorization and the shadow government formed by them will have a broad electorate base and credibility. In this way, it will probably gain the support of the majority of Hong Kong citizens and that of the international community.

Tennis Court Oath as a Precedent for Constitution-making on the Square

On the morning of 20 June, 1789, the members of the French Estates-General for the Third Estate, who had begun to call themselves the National Assembly, were shocked to discover that the chamber door was locked and guarded by soldiers. Immediately fearing the worst and anxious that a royal attack by King Louis XVI was imminent, the deputies congregated in a nearby indoor Jeu de paume court in the Saint-Louis district of the city of Versailles. There, 576 of the 577 members from the Third Estate took a collective oath "not to separate, and to reassemble wherever circumstances require, until the constitution of the kingdom is established". It was a pivotal event in the early days of the French Revolution.

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