The Legislative Council has voted not to censure Civic Passion lawmaker Cheng Chung-tai for flipping flags at a legislative meeting. If the motion passed, Cheng would have lost his seat.

The vote came after a LegCo investigative committee comprising of pro-Beijing legislators recommended Cheng’s censure last month.

Out of 65 lawmakers present, 39 voted in favour of the motion, and 25 voted against. It did not obtain the support of two-thirds of lawmakers in attendance needed for it to pass.

Cheng Chung-tai
Cheng Chung-tai. File photo: In-Media.

The LegCo Committee said Cheng’s conduct “has not only brought serious discredit on LegCo but also tarnished the dignity of PRC and its HKSAR.” It added that Cheng’s behaviour went against the generally assumed standard expected of a lawmaker.

Cheng was seen turning over Hong Kong and China flags during a legislative session last October — flags which were placed by the pro-establishment camp as a protest against Youngspiration lawmakers Baggio Leung and Yau Wai-ching’s oath-taking. The pair used a term that Chinese people regard as derogatory and were later ousted from the legislature.

cheng chung tai
Photo: Screenshot/LegCo.

Cheng was found guilty of desecrating the regional and national flags, and was handed a HK$5,000 fine.

Earlier this year, the Hong Kong Polytechnic University decided not to renew Cheng’s teaching contract due to the conviction.

Cheng did not attend the vote or speak during the debate to avoid a conflict of interest. Speaking to reporters afterwards, he maintained that he did not believe his act was an insult to the Chinese and Hong Kong flags.
He said that, even though he was able to keep his seat, the legislature still had many problems.
“The pro-Beijing camp holding a majority, the rules being twisted – these are still our concerns,” he said.

Karen is a journalist and writer covering politics and legal affairs in Hong Kong for HKFP. She has also written features on human rights, public space, regional legal developments, social and grassroots activism, and arts & culture. She is a BA and LLB graduate from the University of Hong Kong.