CATHOLIC NEWS OF THE WEEK . Sunday, 1 September 2019

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Call to withdraw judicial reviews

HONG KONG (SE): The Justice and Peace Commission issued a joint statement along with other Christian groups, urging the chief executive, Leung Chun-ying, to withdraw the judicial reviews he filed on December 2 against four members of the Legislative Council (LegCo).

The statement, published in the Ming Pao on December 10, expressed deep regret over the November 7 interpretation made by Beijing of the Basic Law, which they believe prompted Leung to file his first application to the court on October 18 seeking a ruling on whether Yau Wai-ching and Baggio Leung Chung-hang could be barred from receiving another opportunity to take their oaths of office.

However, the commission said that what it believes is even more insidious is a second suit filed by the chief executive to the High Court seeking judicial reviews on the validity of the oaths taken by Nathan Law Kwun-chung, (Long Hair) Leung Kwok-hung, Lau Siu-lai and Edward Yiu Chung-yim, after the of the president of the LegCo, Andrew Leung Kwan-yuen, had already accepted them as being valid.

The statement is urging the chief executive to respect public opinion and withdraw his application.

The statement also accuses him of resorting to judicial means to attack the four LegCo members, who 130,000 people in the election chose to represent them.

It also points out that judicial reviews are being used by Leung to overwrite the election result and create political conflict.

It states that the packet counting system, which divides the voting of the functional and geographical constituency members, has seriously undermined the power of the LegCo, as if his application against the four pro-democracy members succeeds, it would cost the non-aligned camp its power of veto.

It accuses the chief executive of using public funds to prosecute pro-democracy members of the LegCo in order to deprive the Hong Kong people of what limited political choice they have.

On top of that, the commission criticises Leung for failing to fulfill his pre-election promises on standard working hours and retirement protection, as well as failure to recognise and respect the political will of the people.

The statement was published on International Human Rights Day. It carries a serious reminder of the importance of Article 16 of the Hong Kong Bill of Rights Ordinance, which guarantees everyone the right to hold an opinion without interference.

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