Hong Kong’s opposition resigns en masse following unprecedented Beijing ruling

Pro-democracy lawmakers vowed to resign on masse. Screen capture from RTHK's video report.

All of Hong Kong's pro-democracy lawmakers resigned from the Legislative Council (LegCo) on November 11 in solidarity with four colleagues disqualified by a new directive issued by Beijing.

Passed by the National People’s Congress’s Standing Committee (NPCSC), the directive allows the Hong Kong government to unseat elected lawmakers if they “breach of the oath of allegiance” to the Special Autonomous Region.

The directive outlines four behaviors deemed “unpatriotic” and hence worthy of disqualification from the LegCo: promoting or supporting Hong Kong independence; refusal to recognize's China's sovereignty over the city; soliciting foreign forces to interfere with Hong Kong's domestic affairs; and engaging in behavior that endangers national security.

Following Beijing’s ruling, the Hong Kong government announced the disqualification of pro-democracy lawmakers Dennis Kwok, Alvin Yeung, Kwok Ka-ki, and Kenneth Leung.

This unprecedented, authoritarian decision by Beijing has effectively crushed Hong Kong's opposition in the legislature.

Chinese state news agency Xinhua reported that the directive was passed in response to a request made by Hong Kong’s Chief Executive Carrie Lam herself. Meanwhile, Lam suggested that she is merely following Beijing's orders. Radio Television Hong Kong reports:

Lam also appeared to be satisfied with the mass walk-out. Alvin Lum, a reporter with independent outlet Citizen News, highlighted one of the Chief Executive's remarks in the press conference this Wednesday:

At another press conference, the leader of the Democratic Party Wu Chi-wai announced the collective decision of pro-democracy lawmakers to resign:

It [the NPCSC’s directive] reflects that the central government has completely given up on the Basic Law and One Country, Two Systems… Democrats are facing a whole new set of circumstances. In view of our colleagues who were ousted today, all democrats decide to stand with them and resign en masse. The move will not frustrate us, as we know democracy will not be achieved overnight. The road to democracy is especially long when confronting an authoritarian regime. But we will not be defeated by pressure and oppression. We will find a new way.

Independent journalist Erza Cheung shared the historical moment on Twitter:

Benedict Rogers, the founder of the London-based advocacy group Hong Kong Watch, said Beijing has turned the Hong Kong legislature into a rubber stamp, like the National People's Congress:

Sophie Richardson, China director of Human Rights Watch, shared a similar view:

Activist Joshua Wong, who, along with 11 colleagues, was barred from running in the November district council elections, said that the new directive could prevent pro-democracy candidates from contesting future polls:

The DC-based group Hong Kong Democracy Council described the directive and subsequent disqualification as a “death sentence” to Hong Kong’s political system:

Independent journalist Mary Hui sees the move as Beijing’s complete takeover of Hong Kong legislature:

Start the conversation

Authors, please log in »


  • All comments are reviewed by a moderator. Do not submit your comment more than once or it may be identified as spam.
  • Please treat others with respect. Comments containing hate speech, obscenity, and personal attacks will not be approved.