Editorial:Escalation of political war

【明報專訊】The decision made by the National People's Congress Standing Committee (NPCSC) specifically states that members of the Legislative Council (Legco) who advocate or support the independence of Hong Kong, refuse to recognise China's sovereignty over Hong Kong and its exercise of the sovereignty, seek external interference in the affairs of Hong Kong, or engage in other acts that endanger national security are regarded as failing to comply with the legal requirement of pledging allegiance to the HKSAR in accordance with the Basic Law. When their incompliance is legally confirmed, they will lose their status as a lawmaker immediately. The decision is applicable not only to lawmakers who stand for election or serve in Legco in future, but also to members of the sixth Legco term whose nominations were ruled invalid as a result of the above-mentioned situations during the nomination period for election of the seventh Legco term originally scheduled for September.

This summer, the Hong Kong government postponed the Legco election in September citing the pandemic. In order to avoid a vacuum period, the government requested the NPCSC extend the term of office of all members of the sixth Legco term. There was quite a lot of controversy over whether the four disqualified lawmakers, including Alvin Yeung, Dennis Kwok, Kwok Ka-ki and Kenneth Leung, could remain in office. One month after the resumption of Legco, there was new controversy over the disqualification of these four lawmakers. From a constitutional point of view, the National People's Congress is the highest organ of state power in the country, and there is no doubt about the legal authority of the decisions made by the NPCSC, its permanent body. The Hong Kong government has only recently requested that the central government deal with the issue of lawmakers' eligibility and there is always for the government a way to justify itself. However, from a political point of view, the decision to ''disqualify'' the four lawmakers is bound to cause internal and external repercussions. That more than ten pan-democratic lawmakers have resigned en masse might only be the beginning.

From the central government's perspective, the anti-amendment storm illustrates a major gap in national security. With some people calling for the independence of Hong Kong, some determined to pursue a ''scorched-earth'' strategy and some colluding with external forces, an all-out ''political war'' has begun. In order to plug the loopholes and control the situation, the central government will no longer have any doubts and will not hesitate to take action no matter how serious the repercussions are. Both the National Security Law and the disqualification of lawmakers reflect this line of thinking. The definition of public office holders is quite broad, as it covers District Council members. Judging from the current situation, more shocks are likely to follow.

''One country'' and ''two systems'' have their own boundaries. If any side ignores the boundaries, problems are bound to arise. The pro-democracy camp stressed solidarity when it came to the extension of Legco's term. Now the lawmakers, who number more than ten, have resigned as a response to their supporters. But the operation of Legco will not be affected, so it remains to be seen whether such a move was wise. The original concern of the public was whether the NPCSC would take action against Legco members who filibustered and paralysed the operation of the legislature. However, the NPCSC's decision does not touch on this issue. The three red lines drawn by the central government for disqualifying the democrats are: promoting or supporting Hong Kong independence, seeking external interference, and endangering national security. Politicians must make a clear and unambiguous break with the independence of Hong Kong, violence and interference by external forces.

明報社評 2020.11.12:政治戰爭升級 「DQ」震盪或未息





■/ Glossary 生字 /

escalation /ˌeskəˈleɪʃn/

the act of becoming or making sth greater, worse, more serious, etc.

interference /ˌɪntəˈfɪərəns/

the act of getting involved in and trying to influence a situation that should not really involve you

all-out /ˌɔːl ˈaʊt/

using or involving every possible effort and done in a very determined way


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