Lawmaker Eddie Chu Hoi-dick has met with UK Shadow Foreign Minister Catherine West to discuss questions surrounding the nationality of the Legislative Council’s new pro-Beijing president.
Chu arrived in the UK on Monday to meet with the Home Office to find out whether Andrew Leung Kwan-yuen had completed the process to relinquish his right of abode in the UK, as per LegCo rules. Chu and opposition lawmakers argued that evidence Leung presented had arrived from the UK several days faster than it should have, suggesting that the British government may have sped up the process under pressure from Beijing.
According to Chu, West said the application process was “unusual” and she said she will report the case to Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn and Shadow Foreign Secretary Emily Thornberry. West will also submit a question for Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson to give a written reply on Tuesday, and will request an oral answer during a parliamentary debate.
Chu said he also asked Labour to raise the issue during the Prime Minister’s Question Time on Wednesday. He said West had agreed to the suggestion and he will write draft questions for Labour to refer to.
The meeting with West came after a protest outside the Home Office’s building with former student leader Alex Chow Yong-kang and other Hongkongers residing in London. Chu failed to meet with Home Office officials.
“UK don’t kowtow to China,” the group chanted.
Chu said the normal procedure to renounce British citizenship may take around 40 days. He claimed the British government’s decision sabotaged the neutrality of the government, and had severely interfered in the autonomy of Hong Kong.
“Why was [Andrew Leung] so confident that by submitting his application on September 22, he could complete the application before October 5?” Chu said. October 5 was the end of the nomination period for LegCo presidential candidates.
“We were not received by the Home Office here. I do not believe Andrew Leung, if he is only a common Hong Kong person, could complete the process this quickly,” he added.
Chu was also interviewed by the BBC in London over the incident, commenting on recent social movements in Hong Kong, and his policy of self-determination for Hong Kong people.
“We need to do it in a non-violent way and to have a popular support in Hong Kong society, then we can move step by step,” he said. “At the end, I think, after one or two terms of the election in Legislative Council, we can have a majority. And at that time I don’t think China has the excuse to crack down us violently, because we have the support of majority of Hong Kong people.”
The UK Home Office has told reporters that it will not comment on individual cases.
Chu is expected to be back in Hong Kong on Wednesday morning to attend the next Legislative Council meeting.