Beijing’s top official in Hong Kong has said the recent disqualification of four lawmakers has struck a heavy blow to “Hong Kong independence separatist forces.”

Last month, “Long Hair” Leung Kwok-hung, Nathan Law, Edward Yiu and Lau Siu-lai were disqualified by the court, which deemed they did not take their oaths of office solemnly and accurately. The ruling followed an interpretation of the Basic Law – Hong Kong’s de facto constitution – by Beijing a month after their pledges. The interpretation has a retroactive effect.

There is no evidence that the disqualified lawmakers support the Hong Kong independence movement, though some of them support self-determination for Hongkongers to decide upon their own future.

Zhang Xiaoming. Photo: RTHK screenshot.

Zhang Xiaoming, the director of the China Liaison Office in Hong Kong, said the new administration has enjoyed a smooth start since it began work on July 1, adding that the situation in Hong Kong was optimistic.

“On July 14, four more lawmakers who took illegal oaths were disqualified by the court, the Hong Kong independence separatist forces received a heavy blow – the authority of the Basic Law and the interpretation by the National People’s Congress was rightfully manifested,” Zhang said.

He was speaking at an event marking the formation of a committee to celebrate the 68th anniversary of the People’s Republic of China this October.

Leung Kwok-hung said ‘Hong Kong’s future is tied with China’s future.’ Photo: RTHK screenshot,

Pro-independence accusation

After the Basic Law interpretation was approved last year, National People’s Congress top official Li Fei had claimed that those who support self-determination are pro-independence in their nature.

When asked about his stance on Hong Kong independence last June, ousted lawmaker Leung Kwok-hung said that Hong Kong’s future is tied with China’s future and he believed Hong Kong independence would not solve the city’s problems.

Nathan Law, who advocates self-determination, went to Taiwan in June to attend the establishment ceremony of a cross-party platform promoting Hong Kong’s democratic development.

Beijing mouthpiece Ta Kung Pao accused the two “pro-independence forces” of attempting to stir chaos in Hong Kong and Taiwan in order to achieve the “evil goal” of splitting the country. Law dismissed criticism of the meeting.

Checkpoint row

Zhang also commented on the controversial joint checkpoint arrangement for the Express Rail Link to Shenzhen and Guangzhou, saying that most Hongkongers support it. He spoke of the convenience it will bring to local residents said it benefits the city’s long term development.

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.