The Court disqualified pro-independence lawmakers in Hong Kong

The Court disqualified pro-independence lawmakers in Hong KongThe High Court in Hong Kong on Tuesday disqualified two pro-independence lawmakers after they deliberately misread their swearing-in oaths in October.

Baggio Leung and Yau Wai-ching pledged allegiance to the "Hong Kong nation" and displayed a "Hong Kong is not China" banner during a swearing-in ceremony for the city's legislative council in October.

"Mr Leung and Ms Yau have been disqualified from assuming and have vacated the office of a member of the Legislative Council," judge Thomas Au said in a written judgment.

"The oaths purportedly taken by Mr Leung and Ms Yau on October 12 ... are invalid and void and have no legal effect," Au added.

Last week, China's parliament passed an interpretation of Hong Kong's Basic Law, which amounted to Beijing's most direct intervention in the territory's legal system since the 1997 handover to Chinese rule.

The official Xinhua news agency reported that China's parliament ruled at the end of a regular bimonthly session that the pair of pro-independence lawmakers could not assume their positions in Hong Kong's Legislative Council if they refused legal procedures when taking oath of office.

An oath that did not conform to Hong Kong's law "should be determined to be invalid, and cannot be retaken", the Communist-controlled National People's Congress in Beijing said in a rare interpretation of the semi-autonomous city's constitution.

The oath-taking controversy made waves in the former colony, where the topic of independence from China was once regarded as taboo but has come to the fore since the pro-democracy protests in 2014 that failed to secure any concessions from Beijing.

Leung has pledged to appeal against the court's decision, saying it would affect Hong Kong for decades. He added that he did not regret what he had done.
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