A Hong Kong court has disqualified two pro-independence members of parliament from taking office, ruling their oath of allegiance invalid.
Tuesday’s ruling was in step with Beijing, which last week intervened in the city’s legal system after street protests.
Beijing ruled that Hong Kong legislators must swear allegiance to Hong Kong as part of China, adding that candidates who take the oath of office in an insincere manner will be disqualified and not given another chance to swear in.
Democratically elected legislators Yau Wai-ching, 25, and Baggio Leung, 30, sparked controversy when they displayed a banner declaring “Hong Kong is not China” and substituted derogatory terms for “China” while taking their oaths last month.
Al Jazeera’s Sarah Clarke, reporting from Hong Kong, called the Beijing court’s intervention in the matter last week “extraordinary”, since it “was in clear contravention of Hong Kong’s Basic Law”.
Protesters throughout Hong Kong have since mobilised against that decision.
“The Beijing court decision pre-empted any kind of high court or judicial decision [in Hong Kong],” Clarke reported.
The disqualified MPs will now have to decide whether they will try to appeal the decision in the courts.
Meanwhile, many await anxiously to see if the other pro-independence MPs now in the legislator are targeted.
According to Clarke, these dozen or so MPs may be targeted on the grounds that their oaths were questionable.
“If they are targeted, then this could be a huge setback for the pro-democracy movement who are now part of the legislative chamber,” Clarke said.