Pro-independence lawmaker Yau Wai-ching holds a court ruling as she leaves the High Court in Hong Kong on November 15. A Hong Kong court ruled to disqualify two pro-independence lawmakers from parliament, a week after Beijing said it would not allow the pair to be sworn into office as fears grow of the city's liberties coming under threat. Anthony Wallace / AFP
Pro-independence lawmaker Yau Wai-ching holds a court ruling as she leaves the High Court in Hong Kong on November 15. A Hong Kong court ruled to disqualify two pro-independence lawmakers from parliamShow more

Anti-China politicians disqualified from Hong Kong parliament



HONG KONG // A court on Tuesday ruled to disqualify two pro-independence politicians from Hong Kong’s parliament, a week after Beijing said it would not allow the pair to be sworn into office as fears grow of the city’s liberties coming under threat.

Baggio Leung and Yau Wai-ching deliberately misread their oaths of office, inserted expletives and draped themselves with “Hong Kong is not China” flags during a swearing-in ceremony last month, prompting a judicial review into their future as legislators.

“Mr Leung and Ms Yau have been disqualified from assuming and have vacated the office of a member of the Legislative Council,” judge Thomas Au said in a written judgement.

“The oaths purportedly taken by Mr Leung and Ms Yau on October 12 2016 ... are invalid and void and have no legal effect,” Mr Au said.

The High Court’s decision was pre-empted by Beijing’s ruling last week, saying that any oath taker who does not follow the prescribed wording of the oath, “or takes the oath in a manner which is not sincere or not solemn”, should be disqualified.

That move was slammed by pro-democracy activists and legal experts as a massive blow to Hong Kong’s judicial independence and sparked demonstrations from both pro-Beijing and pro-independence groups.

Ahead of the court ruling, the city’s leader called for zero-tolerance against activists pushing for independence from China.

"Those who are advocating for independence and other forms of splitting from the country are a small minority but I cannot lower my guard and cannot (give them) any tolerance," Leung Chung-ying told Xinhua Monday.

“Members of the Hong Kong independence [movement] cannot appear in the political system,” Mr Leung said.

* Agence France-Presse

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Key developments in maritime dispute

2000: Israel withdraws from Lebanon after nearly 30 years without an officially demarcated border. The UN establishes the Blue Line to act as the frontier. 

2007: Lebanon and Cyprus define their respective exclusive economic zones to facilitate oil and gas exploration. Israel uses this to define its EEZ with Cyprus

2011: Lebanon disputes Israeli-proposed line and submits documents to UN showing different EEZ. Cyprus offers to mediate without much progress.

2018: Lebanon signs first offshore oil and gas licencing deal with consortium of France’s Total, Italy’s Eni and Russia’s Novatek.

2018-2019: US seeks to mediate between Israel and Lebanon to prevent clashes over oil and gas resources.

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