‘We are forced’: Hong Kong lawmakers see physical fights as last resort

by WorldTribune Staff, May 19, 2020

The civil war between freedom-minded Hong Kong residents and Communist China was stymied by the outbreak of coronavirus. Now tensions have again erupted.

Several pro-democracy lawmakers in Hong Kong were dragged out of the city’s legislative chamber Monday during a dispute concerning a bill which would criminalize disrespect of the Chinese national anthem.

One of the lawmakers carried out, Eddie Chu, told the BBC: “If Hong Kong was a democracy, we would not need to start scuffles like this. Unfortunately we are forced into this situation. I can foresee more fights within the chamber and outside the chamber.”

Pro-democracy lawmaker Ted Hui tried to jump onto the chairman’s bench.

It was the second time in recent days there have been scuffles in Hong Kong’s Legislative Council.

The Legislative Council was in dispute over who should run the house committee, which scrutinizes bills and decides when they are voted on.

Last week, the council president appointed Chan Kin-Por, a pro-Beijing lawmaker, to oversee the election of a new leader.

On Monday – before the Legislative Council began – Chan was in the chairman’s seat, surrounded by more than 20 security guards, the BBC reported.

As pro-democracy lawmakers entered the room, they tried to reach 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 sign that said: “CCP [Chinese Communist Party] tramples HK legislature.”

At one point, a lawmaker took a running jump to try to reach the chairman’s bench, but was stopped in mid-air by guards, the report said.

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 national anthem bill to be passed.

The city will elect new lawmakers in September. Democrats want to delay the bills to the next term.

Beijing has accused the pro-democracy camps of “malicious” filibustering, effectively paralyzing the legislature.

Some smaller-scale protests and clashes have come back to the city recently amid the coronavirus outbreak, and are expected to gain much more momentum after the pandemic.

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