A law professor says it seems Hong Kong's mini-constitution is becoming more and more irrelevant, after Beijing ousted four pro-democracy lawmakers, labelling them "unpatriotic". Fifteen of their colleagues are resigning in protest, leaving only two non-establishment members in the legislature.
Professor Johannes Chan from the University of Hong Kong said the legal basis of Beijing's decision was unclear. He said it was neither an amendment to, nor an interpretation of the Basic Law.
"We work on the basis that all government organisations and institutions are bound by the law and now it seems that all these fundamental premises are gone," Chan said. "The Basic Law can be interpreted arbitrarily, the Basic Law procedures have been side-stepped, new procedures can be introduced.
"We have seen the NPCSC is above the law. They can just pass any decision or stop any decision without any regard of the procedures of the Basic Law. I think inevitably, people's confidence in the Rule of Law will be undermined and increasingly it seems the Basic Law is getting more and more irrelevant in Hong Kong."
The pro-government camp denied Beijing was trying to crush dissent, and said it would help restore order in the Legislative Council.