The Hong Kong government has disqualified four pro-democracy lawmakers after Beijing’s top legislative body passed a resolution to oust legislators who promote or support Hong Kong independence, appeal to foreign governments to “interfere,” refuse to accept China’s rule over the city or endanger national security.

National People's Congress npc beijing great hall
The Great Hall. File Photo: Lukas Messmer/HKFP.

The lawmakers who lost their seats included Civic Party leader Alvin Yeung, party members Dennis Kwok and Kwok Ka-ki, as well as Kenneth Leung from the accountancy constituency.

The move came after the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress (NPCSC) passed a resolution on Wednesday stating that Hong Kong lawmakers who promoted or supported Hong Kong independence and refused to admit China’s exercise of sovereignty over the city should be considered in breach of their oath of allegiance to the SAR.

Those who appealed to foreign or overseas forces to interfere with Hong Kong’s affairs and those who engaged in behaviour endangering national security would also not meet the loyalty requirement, the ruling said.

Kenneth Leung Kwok Ka-ki, Alvin Yeung, Kenneth Leung and Dennis Kwok
Kwok Ka-ki, Alvin Yeung, Kenneth Leung and Dennis Kwok. Photo: via CC 2.0.

The Hong Kong authorities said Beijing’s decision applied to those who were barred from running in the now-delayed 2020 Legislative Council election: “Once confirmed in accordance with the law, [they] would lose their Legislative Council member qualification immediately,” the government said in a statement.

According China’s state-run Xinhua News Agency, the resolution discussed in Beijing was per Hong Kong’s Chief Executive Carrie Lam’s request for guidance.

‘Clear breach’ of Basic Law

Reacting to the news, Dennis Kwok said he needed to consult his team before committing to any legal action: “This is clearly in breach of the Basic Law and our rights to participate in public affairs, and a failure to observe due process,” he told the press at the legislature.

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Yeung, meanwhile, thanked supporters of the party: “The road ahead will be bumpy, difficult and challenging… but I am in full faith of Hong Kong and all Hongkongers.”

In July, 12 pro-democracy election hopefuls were disqualified after local electoral officers ruled that their nominations were invalid.

The returning officers cited opposition to the Beijing-imposed national security law, the pan-democrats’ previous calls for foreign governments to impose sanctions on Hong Kong officials, and their vows to veto the government budget as main reasons for concluding that they could not pledge allegiance to the HKSAR and its mini-constitution – the Basic Law.

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In September, Beijing loyalist Tam Yiu-chung said the four democrats should “leave the council on their own accord,” after they chose to remain in office and serve in the interim LegCo following the one-year postponement of the legislative polls.

The Hong Kong government said Beijing’s decision would be gazetted soon. It will also be applicable to any future LegCo candidates and members.

Legislative president Andrew Leung suspended Wednesday’s legislative meeting as the news broke.

Lam will meet the press at 2.30pm.

More to follow.

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Ho Long Sze Kelly is a Hong Kong-based journalist covering politics, criminal justice, human rights, social welfare and education. As a Senior Reporter at Hong Kong Free Press, she has covered the aftermath of the 2019 extradition bill protests and the Covid-19 pandemic extensively, as well as documented the transformation of her home city under the Beijing-imposed national security law.

Kelly has a bachelor's degree in Journalism from the University of Hong Kong, with a second major in Politics and Public Administration. Prior to joining HKFP in 2020, she was on the frontlines covering the 2019 citywide unrest for South China Morning Post’s Young Post. She also covered sports and youth-related issues.