Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying has said that the oath lawmakers have to take is “very simple,” when he was asked how it may be determined that lawmakers were taking their oaths sincerely following the recent controversy at the Legislative Council.

“Any literate person can very easily and smoothly complete [the oath-taking],” he said on Tuesday before a regular Executive Council meeting.

Leung said that oath-taking was required during many occasions, such as getting married and giving testimony before a court.

Leung Chun-ying. Photo: GovHK.

Youngspiration lawmakers Yau Wai-ching and Sixtus “Baggio” Leung both pronounced China as “chee-na” in their first taking of the oath in English, which some took as an insult to Chinese people, whilst Yau seemingly pronounced “republic” as “refucking” in the phrase “People’s Republic of China.” They also brought a flag that read “Hong Kong is not China” during the ceremony. Their oaths were rejected at the time.

In response, Leung questioned their sincerity.

“Even for the simple [phrase] ‘People’s Republic of China’, no matter in Chinese or English – for it be read like that, is it sincere? I believe people have clear eyes,” Leung said.

Leung added that it was “absolutely unacceptable” to use words to insult China when taking the oath.

“Imagine if a member of a foreign legislature uses ‘chee-na’ to replace China in a formal speech, and adds an English swear word in China’s official name. If the speaker in this foreign legislature and his government did not correct this event with seriousness, I believe a huge international incident, a political storm will be caused – therefore Hong Kong society and the LegCo must take this seriously,” Leung said.

“If it is not handled well, I am afraid there will be a huge and deep effect, because it will affect the central government’s view on Hong Kong, and it affects the relationship and feelings between Hong Kong and mainland people.”

Yau Wai-ching and Baggio Leung. Photo: Kris Cheng/HKFP.

Leung applied to the High Court last week for a judicial review to overrule the LegCo president’s decision to allow Baggio and Yau to retake their oaths.

Leung said he did so in accordance with the law: “I attach high importance to the relationship between the LegCo and I, the relationship between the executive branch and the legislature, but you know that according to the Basic Law, the Chief Executive has two roles – one is in the executive branch, the head of the government; the other one is chief of the whole special administrative region.”

When asked as to whether the central government in Beijing will issue any statement before a court judgement is made, Leung said he hoped Hong Kong would be able to handle the issue itself, and he especially hoped the LegCo president would handle the issue as soon as possible.

The LegCo president Andrew Leung Kwan-yuen has yet to make any new decision, as a LegCo meeting was set for Wednesday morning. The pro-Beijing camp has vowed to employ all actions to block Baggio and Yau from taking the oath.

The chief executive said: “We can see this is an unusual incident, two lawmakers belonging to the same party took such actions during the oath-taking, causing huge public anger across society. No-one would want to see these two lawmakers or any other person during the oath-taking continue making [actions] that hurt the feelings of Hong Kong and mainland [people], and also Chinese people overseas.”

Kris Cheng

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.