China’s legislature has asked for an interpretation of a section of Hong Kong’s Constitution.
Sixtus “Baggio” Chung-hang and Yau Wai-ching from pro-independence Youngspiration party last month altered their swearing-in oaths to refer to China by a derogatory term and displayed a banner, "Hong Kong is not China."
China’s legislature, the National People’s Congress, has now asked for an interpretation of a section of Hong Kong’s Constitution.
The section to be interpreted states that legislators must swear allegiance to Hong Kong and China in order to serve in the council, the Hong Kong government said.
Hong Kong’s High Court is also deliberating whether the actions of the Youngspiration candidates constituted refusal to take the oath, in which case they will not be able to take up their positions as elected lawmakers.
China’s decision could potentially clash with the decision of the court, and could call Hong Kong’s judicial independence to question.
If China votes to overrule the courts, it could signal a breach of the separation of powers in Hong Kong.
Hong Kong’s legal and governance system is separate to that of mainland China as part of a treaty that ceded the territory from Britain in 1997.
Hong Kong held elections for the city’s legislative council in September amid growing fears that residents were gradually losing their freedom to speak openly about the governments in Hong Kong and mainland China.