The Civil Human Right Front claimed that over 1,600 protesters rallied on Wednesday night against an expected move by Beijing to interpret the Basic Law over the Legislative Council oath controversy.

The oaths of Youngspiration lawmakers Yau Wai-ching and Baggio Leung Chung-hang were deemed invalid last month after they carried a flag which said “Hong Kong is not China,” and pronounced China as “Chee-na” – a term often regarded as a slur.

Baggio Leung at the protest. Photo: InMedia.

The government subsequently requested an unprecedented judicial review and interim injunction in an effort to block Yau and Leung from being sworn in. The court rejected the injunction request but granted leave for judicial review, due to be heard on Wednesday. On Tuesday night, local media cited sources saying that Beijing may interpret the Basic Law banning “unusual” oath-taking forms, and possibly banning the re-taking of oaths.

Beijing ‘interference’ 

Protesters demanded Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying step down and urged the central government to stop interfering in Hong Kong. They said that only the Hong Kong court should deal the oath controversy.

The organisation said that they did not apply for a Letter of No Objection from the police this time, which is required for protests of more than 30 people.

Yau Wai-ching. Photo: InMedia.

In contrast to organiser figures, the police said that 750 people attended at the height of the rally.

Demonstrators marched from the Chief Executive’s Office in Admiralty to the China Liaison Office in Sheung Wan. Those who attended the rally included Leung and Yau, as well as Lam Wing-kee, one of the five missing booksellers in the Causeway Books incident. Pan-democratic lawmakers such as Civic Party’s Alvin Yeung and Demosistō’s Nathan Law were also present.

Law told Apple Daily that any interpretation would be breach of Hong Kong’s legal system. He said that issuing an interpretation just as the court was preparing to make a judgement on the case “is like the old times… during a trial, when someone says there’s an imperial edict.”

Chantal Yuen

Chantal Yuen is a Hong Kong journalist interested in issues dealing with religion and immigration. She majored in German and minored in Middle Eastern studies at Princeton University.