All of Hong Kong’s pro-democracy lawmakers have resigned en masse after the government disqualified four of them.
On Wednesday, the Chinese government passed a new law allowing Hong Kong authorities to expel any lawmaker who “supports Hong Kong’s independence, refuses to acknowledge China’s sovereignty over the city, threatens national security, or asks external forces to interfere in the city’s affairs,” according to AP.
Minutes after, pro-democracy legislators Dennis Kwok, Kenneth Leung, Kwok Ka-ki and Alvin Yeung were expelled. Hours later, the remaining 15 pro-democracy lawmakers announced in a press conference they would all be stepping down in solidarity.
Legislator Claudia Mo said the the law is “an actual act by Beijing to sound the death-knell of Hong Kong’s democracy fight,” while lawmaker Wu Chi-wai said they would not give up the fight for democracy.
“Under authoritarianism, the road to democracy will be extremely long and arduous, but we will absolutely not be defeated by its pressures,” he said. “We will inevitably find new paths.” They all held hands and chanted “Hong Kong add oil! Together we stand!“. They handed in their resignation letters on Thursday, leaving Hong Kong’s legislature with only pro-Beijing lawmakers, who would be able to pass bills without much opposition.
The Chinese government condemned the mass resignation as an “open challenge” to its authority, with a spokesperson saying if the lawmakers hope to “provoke radical opposition and beg for foreign interference, they have miscalculated.”
Hong Kong’s chief executive Carrie Lam defended the four lawmakers’ removal, saying legislators must act in accordance with the law and Hong Kong needs “a political body composed of patriots.”
On their way out, lawmaker Lam Cheuk-ting unfurled a banner in the building saying that Lam had brought disaster to Hong Kong and “will stink for 10,000 years.”