Tsang Yok-sing defends Beijing's disqualifications - RTHK
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Tsang Yok-sing defends Beijing's disqualifications

2020-11-13 HKT 19:14
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  • Tsang Yok-sing defends Beijing's disqualifications
Former Legco president Tsang Yok-sing on Friday rejected suggestions from the Bar Association and some overseas governments that Beijing's ousting of four pan-democratic lawmakers this week was an affront to the rule of law, saying they either don't understand the situation or just don't like it.

Foreign politicians, including British Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab, have condemned Beijing's move to disqualify Alvin Yeung, Dennis Kwok, Kwok Ka-ki and Kenneth Leung, describing it as yet another assault on the SAR's freedoms.

The Bar Association said the disqualifications violated the principle of due process, while the Law Society urged the government to address public concerns over the legal basis for the decision.

But Tsang, a founder of the pro-Beijing DAB party, said critics had either failed to understand the resolution by the National People's Congress Standing Committee or simply didn't agree with it.

“The criticisms you referred to have come from people, I believe, who are either not fully aware of the constitutional and legal framework within which the NPCSC decision was made, or if they fully understand the system, they do not agree with it. But that is the system,” he said.

“Hong Kong, of course, is constitutionally based on the Basic Law. And the Basic Law is a national law passed by the National People’s Congress and it works in such a way that the Chinese Constitution rules. So the NPCSC decision has explained very clearly the basis, the constitutional and legal basis on which the decision was made.”

The pro-establishment heavyweight also dismissed concerns that the lack of opposition lawmakers in Legco undermines its legitimacy.

“The Legislature Council was constituted in accordance with the Basic Law. It served beyond its original term and the authority for doing so came from the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress. So it’s entirely legitimate,” he said. “The fact that a number of members in the Legislative Council have chosen to leave the council would not affect its legitimacy, as long as there is a quorum, the Legco can proceed with its business.”

Tsang said he doesn’t think that from now on there will only be one unified pro-establishment voice in Legco. He said with all pro-democracy lawmakers leaving the legislature, the pro-establishment camp will be under bigger pressure to perform better. He said he hoped the camp could do their job well to win over people’s trust.

Asked whether the pro-democracy lawmakers who resigned would be allowed to run in the next Legco elections Tsang said he couldn't really tell.

He noted that the Hong Kong and Macau Affairs Office and Beijing's liaison office had issued strongly-worded statements criticising the pro-democracy’s collective resignation and calling their move “an open challenge against the authority of the Basic Law”.

Tsang said returning officers may in future use those statements by mainland officials as reference, to decide whether a candidate would truly uphold the Basic Law.