Hong Kong’s incoming lawmakers swore an oath of allegiance on Monday, officiated by Chief Executive Carrie Lam for the first time in Legislative Council (LegCo) history. It follows the city’s first “patriots-only” legislative race last month.
Two lawmakers were asked to repeat their oaths after they missed some words in the statements, and three people chose to take their oaths in Mandarin rather than Cantonese, as spoken locally.
Michael Luk from the Hong Kong Federation of Trade Union, as well as Third Side’s Tik Chi-yuen – who claims to be of the non-pro-establishment camp – were asked by Secretary General of the Secretariat of LegCo Kenneth Chan to repeat their oaths.
Luk left out the word “councillor” from his oath, while Tik left out “Hong Kong” from “Hong Kong Special Administrative Region of the People’s Republic of China” in his statement.
Another LegCo councillor-elect, Gary Chan from the DAB, was seen not raising his right hand when taking his oath.
Lingnan University scholar Chow Man-kong, one of the 40 people elected in the Election Committee constituency, was the first lawmaker-elect to take his oath in Mandarin. Sun Dong and Tan Yueheng, both from the Election Committee constituency, were also sworn-in in Mandarin.
The oath-taking ceremony took place following Hong Kong’s first legislative election after a sweeping overhaul was implemented to the city’s electoral system to ensure “patriots” govern Hong Kong. The move reduced democratic representation in the legislature, tightened control of elections and introduced a pro-Beijing vetting panel to select candidates.
The election, took place in mid-December and had a record-low voter turnout with only one self-proclaimed non-pro-establishment candidate elected. It was delayed from 2020 with Lam citing Covid-19 health concerns.
‘It only gets busier’
All 90 lawmakers met with the press following the oath-taking ceremony, with a dozen of them making speeches.
Former LegCo president Andrew Leung said that the election “showed that topics on development and people’s livelihoods still received attention from voters.”
“Last week, the Chief Executive announced the key pieces of work in the coming year, including many matters involving people’s livelihoods and concerning Hong Kong’s long term development, these efforts need the LegCo’s monitoring and cooperation,” said Leung.
Lam has said the local national security legislation – Article 23 – will be on the agenda this year.
“LegCo’s work will not be easier than the past, the situation is: it only gets busier…”
Lawmaker Reverend Peter Koon, known for being the spokesperson for a murder suspect whose case sparked the anti-extradition bill protests and unrest in 2019, said that he will resign from his administrative role at the church to “better fulfil his role.”