New lawmakers have protested and raised questions over the Legislative Council secretary-general’s decision to reject oaths taken by three incoming lawmakers.

Kenneth Chen Wei-on, the top official of the Legislative Council Secretariat, rejected the oaths of incoming lawmakers Sixtus “Baggio” Leung Chun-hang, Yau Wai-ching, and Edward Yiu Chung-yim. All three added new phrases to their oaths.

Yau Wai-ching unfurls flag at LegCo. Photo: Stanley Leung/HKFP.

Chen questioned whether Leung and Yau understood their oaths, as they displayed a flag that read “Hong Kong is not China” – potentially contradicting the oath’s wording.

Lawmakers Eddie Chu and Nathan Law. Photo: Stanley Leung/HKFP.

However, Baggio Leung insisted he and Yau have completed their oaths, and it was the responsibility of the LegCo secretariat to confirm them.

Both Leung and Yau once read “China” as “Chee-na.” Yau referred to the “People’s Republic of China” as the “People’s Refucking of Chee-na.”

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In response, Leung claimed that the different pronunciation of words in their oaths were because of their accents. He said he has an Ap Lei Chau accent.

Nathan Law Kwun-chung, who added phrases before and after his oath, said lawmakers were having a meeting with the LegCo secretary-general and their legal advisors.

Law said he, Eddie Chu Hoi-dick and Lau Siu-lai – who also protested during their oath taking – believed the rejected oaths of the three lawmakers should be validated by the Legislative Council Secretariat.

“He [does not] have the power according to the [Oaths and Declarations] Ordinance,” Law said. “The three should be allowed to be validated so lawmakers can participate in the presidential election, and their oaths should be considered by the president-elect.”

Eddie Chu and Nathan Law.
Lawmakers Eddie Chu and Nathan Law. Photo: Kris Cheng/HKFP.

According to the LegCo’s rules of procedures, “no Member of the Council shall attend a meeting or vote therein until he has made or subscribed an oath or affirmation in accordance with the provisions of the Oaths and Declarations Ordinance (Cap. 11).”

The Ordinance stipulates that the oaths of LegCo members should be taken at the first sitting of the session after a general election and before the election of the LegCo president which “shall be administered by the Clerk to the Council.”

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Photo: Kris Cheng/HKFP.

As of 1:30pm Wednesday, the LegCo meeting was suspended and postponed to an unknown time. The secretariat had previously stated that the meeting would resume.

The opposition camp questions the LegCo secretary. Photo: Stanley Leung/HKFP.

Lawmakers “Long Hair” Leung Kwok-hung, Fernando Cheung Chiu-hung, Law, Chu and Lau remained in the chamber in an attempt to resolve the oath issue with the Secretariat.

In 2012, former LegCo president Jasper Tsang Yok-sing allowed lawmaker Raymond Wong Yuk-man to retake his oath a week after the first failed attempt. Wong obscured some words by coughing during his first oath, namely “Republic” in “People’s Republic of China” and “Special Administrative Region.”

Kris Cheng is a Hong Kong journalist with an interest in local politics. His work has been featured in Washington Post, Public Radio International, Hong Kong Economic Times and others. He has a BSSc in Sociology from the Chinese University of Hong Kong. Kris is HKFP's Editorial Director.