Failed Election of Two Mavericks to Hong Kong Parliament Fuel Claims That China is Interfering with the Country’s Democracy

Yau Wai-ching

Yau Wai-ching is the youngest woman to be elected to Hong Kong’s parliament. She and Baggio Leung were elected after becoming involved in a new political party- Youngspiration – that campaigns against mainland China’s influence on Hong Kong, and advocates a “Hong Kong first” approach.

It didn’t take long for the couple’s strike-out adventure into the political fray to cause a commotion. They sparked a furor when being sworn into office. “Instead of pledging allegiance to the “Hong Kong Special Administrative Region of the People’s Republic of China”, the duo swore allegiance to the “Hong Kong nation”, used a term considered derogatory towards China, and displayed a banner that read “Hong Kong is not China”, the New York Times reports.

Their oaths were invalidated, and thousands of people protested against their actions, demanding they be removed from parliament. They appealed the ruling against their disqualification and lost in the “high court” and are now hesitant about taking their case to the Hong Kong Court of Final Appeal .

Meanwhile, a ruling from Beijing preempted a decision by the Hong Kong courts over whether the two young politicians should be disqualified from parliament after deliberately misreading their oaths to office: The ruling said the two were disqualified from taking office.

The Hong Kong government says the high court will still issue its own ruling on whether Wai-ching and Leung should be barred from taking up their seats.

But city leader Leung Chun-Ying has already said he will “fully implement” Beijing’s ruling. The case highlights the authenticity of Hong Kong’s “true democracy” many protesters say.

The pair of lawmaker-elects had referred to mainland China as “Chee-na” (a derogatory variation of the offensive “Shina” used by the Japanese during the second world war). They unfurled a flag that reading “Hong Kong is not China.”

As to why they took their oaths that way, they say the flag idea came when a friend brought a souvenir from a university students’ union to their office – a blue flag with the words “Hong Kong is not China”, used by Hong Kong soccer fans during a World Cup qualifier match against China last year. The duo were moved by the words – which they said encapsulated the basic doctrine of the city’s localism – and decided to bring it along to Legco. Leung draped it on himself while he read his oath while Yau spread it out on the table before her”, reported.

The two mavericks have been left with a pile of debt and have been labeled by some, including a former Beijing official, as independence activists, “rats running on the streets” who should be hunted down “with no mercy.” Their supporters feel that issues of this type are critical towards the goal of establishing Hong Kong’s independence from China’s heavy ruling hand.  

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