The Chairman of the National People’s Congress (NPC), Zhang Dejiang, requested interpretation of Basic Law Article 104 and sought the views of the Basic Law Committee, according to Maria Tam Wai-chu. Tam is a deputy member of the congress, which is China’s top legislative body, as well as a member of the Basic Law Committee.

Tam said that she believed the chairman of the National People’s Congress made the request “because the issue was related to the unity of the country and the completeness of territory… a very important topic.”

Maria Tam
Maria Tam Wai-chu. Photo: GovHK.

Article 104 of the Basic Law says that “the Chief Executive, principal officials, members of the Executive Council and of the Legislative Council, judges of the courts at all levels and other members of the judiciary in the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region must, in accordance with law, swear to uphold the Basic Law of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region of the People’s Republic of China and swear allegiance to the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region of the People’s Republic of China.”

Zhang Dejiang
Zhang Dejiang with Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying. File Photo: GovHK.

Two localist lawmakers, Yau Wai-ching and Baggio Leung Chung-hang, had their oaths deemed invalid in October as they took them while carrying a flag stating “Hong Kong is not China,” and pronounced the word China as “Chee-na,” which is considered derogatory.

The Hong Kong government is currently seeking an order from the court to bar the pair from the Legislative Council.

National People's Congress
National People’s Congress. File Photo: Wikicommons.

On Friday morning, Tam said that “our meetings are still continuing, so I cannot tell you if it will be put into the agenda.”

However, the Hong Kong government soon released a statement that day saying that it received the notice on Thursday night, after the hearing of the judicial review relating to lawmakers Leung and Yau concluded.

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.