Pro-Beijing lawmaker Ann Chiang has come under fire for mispronouncing some characters in her oath, which she chose to take in Mandarin.
Some words in lawmaker Ann Chiang Lai-wan’s oath that deviated from the standard Mandarin pronunciation were listed in an infographic posted by teacher and activist Jenny Leung Wing-sze on Facebook on Wednesday. The move comes as the oaths of various lawmakers were called into question after an interpretation of the Basic Law handed down by Beijing said that oaths must be taken “accurately, completely and solemnly.”
The pro-establishment camp called for a review of lawmakers’ oaths after the interpretation, and some members of the camp on Monday requested that two pro-democracy lawmakers’ oaths be invalidated.
Chiang, who represents the pro-establishment Democratic Alliance for the Betterment and Progress of Hong Kong (DAB), mispronounced characters in “to swear an oath,” “the People’s Republic of China,” “the Special Administrative Region of Hong Kong,” “to be loyal,” and “integrity and honesty,” said Leung. Chiang made both tonal and pronunciation errors, which means that she said characters with different meanings instead.
Leung lost a Shau Kei Wan seat at the District Council by a margin of 15 votes last November.
Under a video of the oath that Chiang’s Youtube account uploaded in October, a description said that she practised many times but her pronunciation is still not up to standard. Regional accents can also vary greatly across China, meaning that the same characters may be pronounced differently by different people.
“Can we write a letter to the Legislative Council president or the Department of Justice to apply for a judicial review against the qualification of Ann Chiang as a lawmaker?” said one commenter on Leung’s post.
Another said: “the rules of the game now are not pronunciation problems – it is that if they don’t like it, they can disqualify you.”
HKFP found that Abraham Shek Lai-him, pro-establishment lawmaker, also slipped up during his swearing-in at the legislature last month, reading “administrative” as “administration.”
Claudia Mo, a lawmaker from the pro-democracy Civic Party, wrote to Legislative Council president Andrew Leung Kwan-yuen about the slip-up and asked if Shek’s oath was still valid.