The pro-democracy camp in recent months has been accused by the Hong Kong government and the central Chinese government in Beijing of tightening controls of the semi-autonomous Chinese territory in response to demands for more democracy. They say the authorities are destroying the autonomy promised to the city, a global economic center with greater independence than China.
Three former legislators have blocked discussions on the now-approved National Anthem Ordinance, which insults or abuses the Chinese national anthem, the “March of Volunteers”.
On May 28, Hui rushed to the front of the assembly, leaving the juicy plant behind and trying to step on the assembly president. Chu spilled a bottle of liquid on the assembly.
A week later, Chan hid a liquid in a paper lamp and tried to reach the front of the room, but was stopped by security guards. On the same day, Hui spilled some liquid in front of the assembly.
On both occasions, emergency services were called to the scene and pro-Beijing lawmakers felt unwell.
Chu and Chan have walked out of the assembly after Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam postponed the assembly election for a year, citing a corona virus outbreak. The postponement is in violation of the basic law of Hong Kong’s Mini Constitution, which came into force after the return of the former British colony to China in 1997.
The pro-democracy camp had hoped to win a majority in the September elections. They criticized the postponement of the election as an attempt by the pro-Beijing government to thwart their efforts.
The lawmakers’ arrests are the latest in a series of arrests in recent months. Earlier this month, seven pro-democracy lawmakers, including Chu and Chan, were arrested during another tumultuous assembly session on May 8.
At that meeting, while discussing who would chair a committee overseeing the bills, a dispute arose between pro-Beijing and pro-democracy camps. Arrested pro-democracy legislators stormed the chairperson’s desk, stormed security guards and tossed papers from the public gallery.
Last week, 15 pro-democracy lawmakers resigned en masse after Beijing passed a resolution disqualifying four members from the legislature. When Hui and another legislator, Claudia Mo, resigned last week, the rest of the legislature is expected to remain in office until December 1. The resignation leaves the body speechless.