A number of pro-democracy lawmakers in Hong Kong were dragged out of the chamber during a row about a Chinese national anthem bill.
The bill would criminalise disrespect of the anthem.Legislators were arguing over the leadership of a key committee, which would affect the bill’s progress.One of the lawmakers administered , Eddie Chu, told the BBC: “If Hong Kong was a democracy, we might not got to start scuffles like this.”
He added: “Unfortunately we are forced into this example . I can foresee more fights within the chamber and out of doors the chamber.”The chaotic scenes highlight the deep divisions in Hong Kong , which may be a special administrative region of China.
Although last year’s street protests died down during the pandemic, some demonstrations are expected to resume.It’s the second time in recent days there are scuffles within the legislature .
What happened within the chamber?
The legislature was at issue over who should run the house committee, which scrutinises bills and decides once they are voted on.
Last week, the council president appointed Chan Kin-por, a pro-Beijing lawmaker, to oversee the election of a replacement leader.On Monday – before the legislature began – Mr Chan was within the chairman’s seat, surrounded by quite 20 security guards.
As pro-democracy lawmakers entered the space , they tried to succeed in the seat, but were stopped by the guards.As the guards used blankets to corral the protesters, others pointed and yelled from their seats.
One lawmaker held a symbol that said: “CCP [Chinese Communist Party] tramples HK legislature.”During the melee – which went on for several minutes – a minimum of one person fell to the bottom , apparently injured.
At one point, a lawmaker took a running jump to undertake to succeed in the chairman’s bench, but was stopped in mid-air by guards.After most of the pro-democracy lawmakers left – or were removed – the pro-Beijing Starry Lee was elected chairwoman of the house committee.
This, her opponents fear, will make it easier for the anthem bill to be passed.
What is the dispute about?
China wants a controversial bill that might criminalise abuse of China’s anthem to urge passed as soon as possible.
But the house committee – liable for scrutinising controversial bills, including the anthem one – has did not select a chairperson for months.The city will elect new lawmakers in September. Democrats want to delay the bills to next term.
Beijing has accused the pro-democracy camps of “malicious” filibustering, effectively paralyzing the legislature.What happened inside the chamber is another sign that China continues to tighten its grip on Hong Kong .
It is very almost like what happened last year – when the pan-democrats did not stop the controversial extradition bill within the LegCo, which sparked months of mass protests.Some smaller-scale protests and clashes have come to the town recently, and are expected to realize far more momentum after the pandemic.
But there has been no sign that China, or Hong Kong’s leadership, will make any concession
Source: bbc news