Railing against “tyranny,” the rebel lawmakers banged drums, shouted, and mangled the oath of office, which repeatedly refers to Hong Kong as a “special administrative region” of China. Britain returned the territory to China in 1997. It has operated as a semi-autonomous entity ever since under the catchphrase “one country, two systems.” The handover agreement is supposed to protect Hong Kong’s Western-oriented freedoms for 50 years, but there are growing concerns that those liberties are under assault as China tightens its grip. Two years ago tens of thousands took to the streets of Hong Kong to demand democratic reforms during the so-called Umbrella Movement. The government permanently broke up the demonstrations and sit-ins after three months. But now some of those protest leaders have been elected parliament – formally the Legislative Council, or “Legco” as it is commonly referred to. Before taking the oath of office the government had warned lawmakers that they risked losing their seats if they did not take the oath properly – but the young legislators were undeterred. Invoking Mahatma Gandhi Nathan Law, 23, is the Legco’s youngest lawmaker and a former pro-democracy protest leader. He invoked Mahatma Gandhi, India’s pro-democracy icon, during an impassioned speech before… Read full this story
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