Just like that, Hong Kong’s last remaining bastion of political dissent has been crushed by a swift stomp of the CCP jackboot.

Hong Kong’s pro-democracy lawmakers, many of whom have been pepper-sprayed, beaten and arrested with their sympathizers in the streets of what was formerly Asia’s gateway to the West, have resigned en masse Wednesday from Hong Kong’s legislative council (commonly referred to simply as the LegCo), the city’s top legislative body,

It all started early Wednesday, with reports that Beijing was weighing new measures to try and exclude many of the council’s 19 (soon-to-be former) Democratic lawmakers in the opposition by imposing a new ‘loyalty test’. The report, initially carried in Chinese state media, sparked an uproar, with all 19 legislators threatening to resign if any of them were targeted. Sure enough, the HK government responded by immediately disqualifying four opposition leaders:

And just like that, Hong Kong’s last remaining bastion of political dissent has been crushed by a swift stomp of the CCP jackboot.

Hong Kong’s pro-democracy lawmakers, many of whom have been pepper-sprayed, beaten and arrested with their sympathizers in the streets of what was formerly Asia’s gateway to the West, have resigned en masse Wednesday from Hong Kong’s legislative council (commonly referred to simply as the LegCo), the city’s top legislative body,

It all started early Wednesday, with reports that Beijing was weighing new measures to try and exclude many of the council’s 19 (soon-to-be former) Democratic lawmakers in the opposition by imposing a new ‘loyalty test’. The report, initially carried in Chinese state media, sparked an uproar, with all 19 legislators threatening to resign if any of them were targeted. Sure enough, the HK government responded by immediately disqualifying four opposition leaders: Alvin Yeung, Dennis Kwok, Kwok Ka-ki and Kenneth Leung.

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Their 15 allies immediately confirmed that they would be resigning in protest.

The departure of the opposition lawmakers from HK’s LegCo represents the capstone of the rapid transition of Hong Kong from a bastion of Democratic freedoms to effectively just another Chinese city following the passage of a national security law that critics say runs roughshod over HK’s constitution, the Basic Law, a vestige of the British colonial era. According to the terms of the handover agreement, the Basic Law was supposed to be the supreme law of the land until Hong Kong’s transition is completed in 2047.

Barely six months later, the NatSec law is the law of the land, Democratic activists, including Joshua Wong, an internationally known figure, and Jimmy Lai, an HK media tycoon, have been arrested and are in the process of being prosecuted for their violations. Beijing had already moved to disqualify Wong and other Democratic candidates from running for seats in the LegCo. In fact, all four of the lawmakers who were expelled by the HK government Wednesday had already been barred from running again for their seats.

The resignations were announced during a chaotic press conference from the conference room of the LegCo building, where all the lawmakers held hands and chanted “Together we stand!”.

“Many people will consider today a dark day. It is hard for me to say it isn’t,” said Kwok Ka-ki, one of the four lawmakers removed by the government. “As long as our resolve to fight for freedom, equality and justice remains unchanged, one day we will see the return of the core values we cherish.”

Of course, Carrie Lam, HK’s chief executive, told reporters after the press conference that the LegCo would continue to function regardless of whether the pro-democracy lawmakers are present. She rejected the notion that the departure of the opposition would tarnish the legislature’s legitimacy in the eyes of the people.

“Of course we want the Legislative Council to pass the bills that we propose. We feel all the more excited when they can be passed in an efficient manner,” she said. “As the executive branch, we work in the hopes that the council will support and pass our bills,” she said.

Following the Wednesday decision by the Standing Committee of China’s National People’s Congress, Hong Kong now has the power to remove lawmakers from the legislature who don’t meet vague ‘loyalty’ requirements. All lawmakers will now be required to “swear allegiance” to the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region of the People’s Republic of China”.

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The Liaison Office of the Central People’s Government in Hong Kong said the new rules would ensure that politicians “fulfill their constitutional responsibility of loyalty to the country.”

Via Zerohedge