A group of pro-democracy lawmakers have said a pro-Beijing lawmaker gave false information during a Legislative Council session by claiming that they had signed a cooperation document with a Taiwanese independence-leaning group.

Lawmakers Eddie Chu, Nathan Law and Ray Chan last month attended the launch event of the Taiwan Congressional Hong Kong Caucus in Taipei. The 18-member caucus was formed by a group of lawmakers of the ruling Democratic Progressive Party and the independence-leaning New Power Party.

At a regular question and answer session on Wednesday, pro-Beijing Hong Kong lawmaker Priscilla Leung claimed in a question to an official that three fellow lawmakers attended the event and signed a cooperation document with the caucus. She did not name the lawmakers.

priscilla leung mei fun
Priscilla Leung. Photo: HKFP/Kris Cheng.

“It has been reported that the caucus, established by some advocates of ‘Taiwan Independence’ and funded by the Taiwanese government, has been engaging in activities to split up China,” Leung said. “There are comments that the acts of the aforesaid three members allegedly bore an element of collusion with secession forces and were therefore in violation of the Basic Law.”

Eddie Chu demanded Leung explain whether her question was aimed at him. He cited an article of the LegCo’s Rules of Procedure as saying that a lawmaker shall not impute improper motives to another lawmaker.

Ray Chan and Nathan Law also said they never signed any such cooperation document during the event.

“I want her to clarify on what grounds she can say that. Does she have that document? If not, she should retract her speech,” Chan said.

Establishment of the Taiwan Congressional Hong Kong Caucus
Establishment of the Taiwan Congressional Hong Kong Caucus. Photo: Ray Chan, via Facebook.

Acting LegCo President Starry Lee did not ask Leung to clarify, adding that the president had previously ruled her question was made in accordance with the rules.

“The Rules of Procedure… do not rule that lawmakers cannot quote speculation mentioned in other comments,” Lee said.

Leung also refused to clarify and said Chan should himself make the clarification publicly.

In response to Priscilla Leung’s question, Secretary for Constitutional and Mainland Affairs Patrick Nip said that – according to the Article 23 of the Basic Law – Hong Kong shall enact a national security law on its own to prohibit Hong Kong political organizations or bodies from establishing ties with foreign political organizations or bodies.

He added when people’s confidence in the government is restored, society will have the right conditions to embark on a rational discussion on enacting the legislation.

"Long Hair" Leung Kwok-hung
“Long Hair” Leung Kwok-hung. Photo: LegCo.

Pro-democracy lawmaker “Long Hair” Leung Kwok-hung also criticised Priscilla Leung for giving false information.

He said the pro-Beijing DAB party had visited future president Tsai Ing-wen of the independence-leaning Democratic Progressive Party in 2008, and that then-Federation of Trade Unions lawmaker Chan Yuen-han visited an election rally for the independence-leaning New Power Party last year.

“Were their actions splitting up the country?” he asked Nip.

Nip said the government would not comment on individual cases.

Kris Cheng

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.