Hong Kong lawmakers demand independence from China during oath-taking

Several Hong Kong lawmakers disrupted the swearing-in ceremony of Hong Kong's legislative council on Wednesday to demand independence from China.

Hong Kong held elections for the council in September amidst growing fears that residents are gradually losing their freedom to speak openly about the governments in Hong Kong and mainland China.

"I want true universal suffrage!" Leung Kwok-hung yelled after opening a yellow umbrella and laying it on the podium, footage carried by the South China Morning Post showed.

The umbrella is a symbol of the so-called Umbrella Revolution of 2014 that saw pro-democracy protesters occupy parts of Hong Kong for 79 days.

"Self determination for Hong Kong people! No to CCP control!" the League of Social Democrats lawmaker shouted, referencing the Chinese Communist Party, as he tore up a piece of paper that appeared to be his oath of office.

Another lawmaker, Sixtus "Baggio" Leung Chung-hang of the Youngspiration party, arrived at the podium to take his oath wearing a blue banner that read, "Hong Kong is not China."

Nathan Law, a former Occupy movement student activist and chair of the newly-formed Demosisto party, was the last legislator to take an oath.

"I swear allegiance to ... the People's Republic of China?" he said, posing the last sentence as a question, according to the newspaper report.

Several of the defiant lawmakers' oaths were not accepted by Kenneth Chen Wei-on, the legislative council's secretary general who oversaw the ceremony, according to the South China Morning Post.

Hong Kong's legal and governance system is separate to that ofmainland China as part of a treaty that ceded the territory fromBritain in 1997.

Hong Kong's legislature operates within a partially democraticsystem. The public directly elects only half of the 70 lawmakers, while the other half is selected by a group comprising members of professional associations, district councillors and trade groups.

Last update: Wed, 12/10/2016 - 18:42

More from World

US turns inward: President Trump vows to put "America first"

New President Donald Trump is vowing to unapologetically put American interests first, signalling a break in US...

Gambia ex-president ready to 'cede power,' mediation efforts ongoing

Gambia's longtime ruler Yahya Jammeh is apparently willing to cede power and step aside, security sources in the...

Mexican drug baron 'El Chapo' pleads 'not guilty' in US court

The world's most notorious drug kingpin, Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman, pleaded not guilty in a New York court Friday to...

More than 200 people arrested in Washington on inauguration day

Police arrested 217 people on Friday in Washington during protests against the inauguration of Donald Trump as...

NATO a boon to US and Europe, Stoltenberg tells Trump

NATO is "as good for the United States as it is for Europe," said Jens Stoltenberg, the alliance's secretary general...