After the disqualification of a few law-makers, more joined them in solidarity, leaving the legislative body on Wednesday.
Hong Kong’s opposition bloc resigned on Wednesday after Communist China moved to remove democratically elected lawmakers after labeling them "unpatriotic" according to the Beijing standard. It is one of Beijing’s strongest moves yet to quash dissent in the territory.
More than a dozen members of the pro-democracy camp of the 70-seat Legislative Council quit following the disqualification of four members under Beijing’s new rules. The announcement was made at a joint briefing, at which the lawmakers held hands and chanted protest slogans, including, “Hong Kong add oil – together we stand.”
“This move makes it clear that dictatorship has descended onto Hong Kong and that Chinese Communist Party can eradicate all opposing voices in the legislature,” Mr Cheung said. “There’s no more separation of powers, no more 'one country, two systems’, and therefore no more Hong Kong as we know it.”
Beijing top legislative body imposed on Hong Kong lawmakers a requirement "to be patriots", curbing debate in a democratic institution that has endured more than two decades after the former British colony’s return.
The decision by the National People’s Congress Standing Committee is “conducive to the long-term peace and stability, as well as prosperity and development of Hong Kong”, chairman Li Zhanshu said at the close of its two-day meeting.
Offences included supporting Hong Kong independence, refusing to recognise China’s sovereignty over the city, asking foreign countries to intervene, failing to uphold the territory’s Basic Law or pledge allegiance to Hong Kong and “engaging in any other acts that endanger national security,” Chief Executive Carrie Lam said.
“We need to have a political body that’s composed of patriots,” Mrs Lam said at a briefing on Wednesday, adding that Hong Kong planned to introduce legislation to formalise the process and spell out legal consequences for violators.