Another clash explodes in Hong Kong's parliament

Friday, 22 May, 2020

Professional-democracy lawmaker Tanya Chan accused safety guards of Hong Kong's legislature of "dropping their impartiality", after the safety guards surrounded the bench the place the chairperson was seated and prevented pro-democracy lawmakers from getting shut.

Legislators were arguing over the leadership of a key committee, which would affect the bill's progress.

The move is likely to provoke strong opposition internationally and in Hong Kong, which previous year saw months of pro-democracy protests.

He continued: "Unfortunately we are forced into this situation".

Pro-democracy demonstrations in Hong Kong have resumed recently, as protesters hope to regain momentum with the coronavirus showing signs of subsiding in the financial hub. It has built up a backlog after failing to elect a chairperson since previous year.

He spoke at a briefing on the eve of the start of China's annual parliamentary session. The scene repeated itself Monday many members of the pro-democracy group were dragged out of the chamber by security guards shortly before a pro-Beijing lawmaker, Starry Lee, was elected the committee's chair.

"It's worrying, but I'm not surprised", said Claudia Mo, an opposition lawmaker.

During the dispute, which went on for several minutes, at least one person fell to the ground and was apparently injured. It is expected to be given a second reading on May 27.

Image copyright EPA Image caption A clerk counting ballots during the eventual vote What is the dispute about?

China will introduce a national security law, tailor-made for Hong Kong that will outlaw acts of separation, sedition, foreign interference and terrorism in the city, local media reported Thursday.

The pro-Beijing takeover of the House Committee paves the way for a debate on a bill that would make it a crime to insult China's national anthem.

The city will elect new lawmakers in September. This was because of resistance from pan-Democratic lawmakers, who created a backlog of bills and filibustered in order to prevent both seats from being filled.

The meeting quickly dissolved into acrimony and scuffles, as lawmakers arrived to find a pro-Beijing politician, Chan Kin-por, sitting in the chairperson's seat, according to Hong Kong's public broadcaster, RTHK.

Yet such power has not been employed since Hong Kong returned to Chinese rule in 1997.

Those protests were initially sparked by another controversial bill that would have allowed extraditions to mainland China.

Hong Kong Education Secretary Kevin Yeung has asked the Hong Kong Examinations and Assessment Authority (HKEAA) to find out why the question was part of the history exam, taken by 5,200 students, and asked for it to be invalidated. "A broad-brush interpretation of this law would signal the end of Hong Kong as we know it".

The House Committee has failed to elect a chairperson since late past year leading to a backlog of unscrutinised bills.

He said this was to account for any actions Beijing might contemplate ahead of China's National People's Congress this Friday.

Appearing on Monday had been 15 high-profile figures together with the 81-year-old veteran legislator and lawyer, Martin Lee QC, thought of Hong Kong's "father of democracy", in addition to media tycoon Jimmy Lai, activist Lee Cheuk-yan, former authorized sector lawmaker, Margaret Ng, and "Long Hair" Leung Kwok-hung.