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China accused as chaos erupts in Hong Kong legislature

Suppression allows people to see the grim future of democracy in the territory, says Catholic activist

UCA News reporter

UCA News reporter

Updated: May 19, 2020 01:15 PM GMT
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China accused as chaos erupts in Hong Kong legislature

Pan-democratic politician Lam Cheuk-ting is removed by security guards after throwing papers torn from the Legislative Council rulebook during a scuffle between pro-democracy and pro-Beijing lawmakers on May 18. (Photo: Anthony Wallace/AFP)

Rights groups have accused China's communist regime of undermining the democratic system in Hong Kong as chaos continued in its legislative house and pro-democracy leaders appeared in court.

Uproar broke out for the second time in a month in the legislative house as a pro-democracy lawmaker was dragged out of the building when opposition attempted to stall the passage of some draft laws, including one that criminalizes offending the Chinese national anthem.

"The basic issue is China undermining the 'one country, two systems' policy and interfering in the affairs of the Legislative Council," said Biddy Kwok, chairperson of the Justice and Peace Commission of Hong Kong Diocese.

As the chaos continued in the legislative house, 15 prominent pro-democracy advocates, including Martin Lee, the 81-year-old veteran legislator and lawyer known as the father of democracy in Hong Kong, appeared in court on May 18.

Police arrested them last month and charged them with unlawful assembly, but rights groups say the arrests aim to intimidate members of the pro-democracy movement that has grown substantially since protests began last June.

All the arrested 15 are on bail and their case has been adjourned to June.

Church leaders and rights activists who support the pro-democracy movement point out that China took over the former British colony in 1997 while agreeing to respect the city-state's democratic system under the "one country, two systems" policy.

The communist regime interferes with the Legislative Council and Hong Kong's internal affairs, Kwok said.

"The lawlessness of the Legislative Council on Monday was heartbreaking. The pro-establishment camp is out to sell the future of Hong Kong," the Catholic rights activist said.

Kwok, also a member of Catholic Monitors on Legislative Councillors, said that institutional violence has increased since the handover of Hong Kong.

"The Legislative Council has been distorted and rendered ineffective by the separate voting mechanism. The Chinese Communist Party is tearing off its face," and that was exposed in recent events in the house, she said.

"The current situation is awful, but it has awakened more people in Hong Kong to the prospects of more difficult days ahead. We should stick to our beliefs and continue to fight for justice," Kwok said.

"The despicable face of those in power has already been revealed. They are looking to suppress Hong Kong people's fight for democracy."

The Legislative Council election is scheduled for September. The pro-democracy camp should work as a united force to win more seats, Kwok said.

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