Pro-government lawmakers on Wednesday rejected suggestions that the absence of their pan-democratic rivals means there are no more opposition voices in the legislature, as they took their opposition colleagues to task for blocking government proposals in Legco and betraying the interests of the country.
The pro-establishment camp is in complete control of the legislature after the disqualification on Wednesday of Alvin Yeung, Dennis Kwok, Kwok Ka-ki and Kenneth Leung, which prompted all 15 remaining pan-democratic councillors to resign.
New People's Party lawmaker Regina Ip told RTHK that their obstructionist stance and failure to embrace the country were to blame.
"They cannot be just democrats in name," Ip said. "They have to not only embrace true democratic values in the sense of respecting the rule of law and the rights of other people with whom they disagree, they also have to respect the sovereignty, security of our country.
"They have been opposing everything that has to do with the nation, whether it is national security, national education, national anthem, co-location... anything to do with integration with the nation.
"Hong Kong being part of China, this sort of position is not viable."
The convenor of the pro-establishment camp, Martin Liao, brushed aside suggestions that the resignation of pan-democrats en masse means there won't be any opposition in the legislature.
He said that there are in fact different voices within the pro-Beijing camp, insisting they will monitor the government more carefully in future.
"We've been wasting a lot of time dealing with filibustering by the pan-dems. If the atmosphere in Legco can be more quiet, I think the establishment parties and members can really monitor, look into the government policy, public policy and legislation a lot more carefully and more critical about it," Liao said.
Ip too said there are still "plenty of opposition voices" in the legislature.
The DAB, the city's largest pro-government party, voiced support for the decision to oust the four opposition lawmakers, accusing them of lobbying or supporting the United States to sanction Hong Kong and harming the SAR and the country's interests.
On concern that foreign countries may now seek to punish Hong Kong and Beijing for the saga in Legco, Ip said authorities will just have to "bite the bullet".
"I'm sure the Beijing authorities and the Hong Kong government have taken all this negative overseas publicity, media reports into account before coming to this decision. I think we simply have to bite the bullet... Time will tell that it was the right decision to take," she said.
Pan-dems have only themselves to blame: Regina Ip
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