Pro-democracy politicians in Hong Kong have resigned en masse after four of them were expelled from the territory’s parliament.
On Thursday, Hong Kong’s legislature will look remarkably more like its counterpart in mainland China. It will sit without any opposition lawmakers after they announced their resignations in protest at four colleagues disqualified from the body on Wednesday under a new power granted to Hong Kong authorities by Beijing to dismiss “unpatriotic” politicians with immediate effect.
The 70-member legislative council will then consist of only pro-Beijing lawmakers, turning into what several observers have described as a rubber-stamping body like China’s National People’s Congress (NPC), which passes pre-approved measures. On Wednesday, Beijing released a vague statement barring anyone from the legislature seen as supporting independence, seeking help from foreign forces to “interfere” in Hong Kong’s affairs or otherwise committing “acts that endanger national security”. Hong Kong’s chief executive, Carrie Lam, later added anyone objecting “in principle” to the sweeping national security law implemented in June, and said a government “must be composed of patriots”. The law took immediate effect and was used to disqualify four sitting members.
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