Beijing on Thursday condemned pan-democratic lawmakers for announcing they are resigning en masse, describing their plan as “a farce” and “an open challenge against the authority of the Basic Law”.
Just hours after the SAR government announced the immediate disqualification of the Civic Party's Alvin Yeung, Kwok Ka-ki and Dennis Kwok, as well as Kenneth Leung from the Professional Commons, the 15 remaining pan-democratic lawmakers said they would quit in protest at the decision.
In a statement, the Hong Kong and Macau Affairs Office said the camp’s action showed their stubborn resistance against the central government.
A spokesman said it was an open challenge against Beijing’s powers and the authority of the Basic Law.
He said the National People’s Congress Standing Committee (NPCSC) decided in accordance with the law that some lawmakers should be disqualified as they didn't uphold the Basic Law and weren't loyal to the HKSAR.
He said the decision was supported by Hong Kong residents as it is beneficial to the smooth operation of the Legislative Council and the stability of society.
He accused the opposition lawmakers of using their jobs as a political tool, in a bid to smear the NPCSC’s decision as some form of “suppression”.
“This farce has exposed the instinct of some opposition lawmakers who ignore the public interests for their political benefits,” he said.
“They are challenging the Basic Law and the decision by the NPCSC, opposing Beijing’s overall jurisdiction over Hong Kong,”
“If these lawmakers hope to make use of their resignation to provoke radical opposition and beg for foreign interference, they have miscalculated,” he said.
The spokesman also gave recognition to what he called legislators “who were labelled opposition” for choosing to stay, calling it a wise move.
Non-establishment lawmakers, Cheng Chung-tai from Civic Passion and medical sector representative Pierre Chan had said they would not join the mass resignation.