Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Hong Kong police detain pro-independence lawmakers after China protest

Hong Kong police have detained two former pro-independence lawmakers at their homes, amid a widening crackdown on dissenting voices in the former British colony. The pair, Yau Wai-ching and Sixtus “Baggio” Leung, were disqualified from the city’s legislature late last year after a dramatic anti-China protest during their swearing-in ceremony in October.

During that ceremony, Yau and Leung, who have both called for a complete split with mainland China, altered the text of their oaths, declaring allegiance to the “Hong Kong nation”. They also unfurled banners that said “Hong Kong is not China” and used an expletive to refer to China. The protest enraged officials in Beijing and led Hong Kong’s chief executive to launch an unprecedented legal challenge, seeking to remove the pair from office.

The two lawmakers were taken from their homes at 7am and are being interrogated over their attempt to retake their oaths, which were declared invalid. That attempt saw the pair storm the legislative chambers and ended in scuffles with security guards, three of which were treated at hospital. Pro-Beijing lawmakers called the police for assistance at the time.

Yau confirmed her detention today in a Facebook post. The detentions were also confirmed by their political party. At least one of their assistants, as well as “a few volunteers”, were also detained by police. “The actions of the Chinese communist party and their puppets in Hong Kong are pure evil,” the pair’s political party Youngspiration said in a statement. “Evil such as this deprives Hong Kong people of the freedom and democracy they cherish.” “Hongkongers attempts to achieve the democratic autonomy guaranteed in the Sino-British Joint Declaration have been in vain,” the statement added. “We shall struggle against evil on the streets.” Read more: