NPC point man sets behave line for pan-dems

Local | Michael Shum 14 Aug 2020

Hong Kong's sole delegate to the decision-making body of the National People's Congress called upon pro-democracy lawmakers yesterday to behave themselves after being allowed to stay on during the one-year extension of the current legislative term.

Tam Yiu-chung, who attended the NPC standing committee meeting this week that voted on the issue, said he expects the pro-democracy camp would eventually announce that they will be staying on and that Cheng Chung-tai was being honest when he decided to break the silence first.

Tam also said he had told the committee of the potentially "awkward position" if the four pro-democracy lawmakers who were barred from running in the now-postponed elections were allowed to stay on.

"But the committee decided it was not a constitutional problem, and therefore decided to leave it to the SAR government to decide. This shows the committee is not arbitrarily using its power," he said.

Civic Passion lawmaker Cheng said Wednesday that he will stay on during the transition, making him the first pro-democracy lawmaker to make such a decision.

Cheng yesterday said the extension makes the coming year no different from another year of the sixth term on the Legislative Council.

"Lawmakers are not required to reswear their oath, nor are they appointed. None of them were thrown out, therefore I think that the public mandate of the legislature will remain unchanged," he said.

Pan-democrat lawmakers are starting to hint that the camp is going to stay on.

Council Front's Claudia Mo Man-ching said: "If the pro-democracy camp is going to boycott the transitional legislature, that would mean the pro-establishment camp can pass evil laws without any obstacles and without any opposition voices in that time."

"If the pro-democracy camp can retain the critical one-third minority, we still have enough votes to veto evil bills," she said. "Therefore, I do not think now is the time for the camp to give up the battle in the legislature."

The Democratic Party's James To Kun-sun echoed the sentiment, saying more supporters are supporting staying on after he said on Wednesday the camp's supporters were pivoting slightly toward staying on.

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