First swearing-in for Hong Kong SAR LegCo members in front of national symbols, raising awareness of national identity

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The swearing-in ceremony for the seventh-term members of the Legislative Council (LegCo) of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) is held at the LegCo complex in Hong Kong, southern China, Jan. 1, 2022. Photo : Xinhua

Ninety newly elected lawmakers were sworn in in Hong Kong on Monday, which was also the first time they had taken the oath solemnly in front of the Chinese national flag, the country’s national emblem, and the flag of the Special Administrative Region. of Hong Kong (HKSAR) at the same time, in accordance with the amended bill relating to the display of these national symbols, fully emphasizing the constitutional status of the HKSAR and definitively putting an end to the chaotic scenes that occurred during the last swearing-in ceremony at LegCo in 2016.

Before the ceremony began, all participants sang the Chinese national anthem in the Legislative Assembly Hall where the Chinese national flag and the flag of the Hong Kong SAR were placed in front of the podium. In addition, the national emblem of China replaced the Hong Kong bauhinia flower in accordance with the National Flag and National Emblem (Amendment) Bill, which was passed on September 29, 2021, with the aim of guarantee the proper use and preserve the dignity of the national flag and the national emblem and promote respect for these symbols and signs of the country.

It was also the first time that the national emblem of China, the Chinese national flag and the flag of the Hong Kong SAR were jointly displayed during the LegCo swearing-in ceremony, which was widely praised by officials. Hong Kong residents during the live broadcast of the ceremony.

“This is exactly how LegCo should be,” some observers and local residents said when commenting on this “new look” of the swearing-in ceremony, especially when compared to the chaotic scenes of 2016, the last swearing-in. for LegCo’s sixth term, which has been seen as a political farce staged by anti-Chinese protesters and secessionist lawmakers, some observers have said.

The 90 lawmakers were sworn in one after another in front of Carrie Lam, the chief executive of the Hong Kong SAR, who administered the ceremony, and the whole process took about an hour and a half. Most of the new lawmakers were sworn in in Cantonese, and some spoke in English and Putonghua.

The oath taken by 90 lawmakers in the Hong Kong LegCo’s seventh term is valid, Lam said on Monday afternoon.

“As a LegCo member of the Hong Kong SAR of China, I will abide by the Basic Law of the Hong Kong SAR, swear allegiance to the Hong Kong SAR, and serve the Hong Kong SAR conscientiously, conscientiously and in accordance with to the law with honesty and integrity, ”said Tommy Cheung Yu. yan, representing the functional catering constituency seats and the first new lawmaker to be sworn in, said during his swearing-in in English.

Three new lawmakers were sworn in at Putonghua. Chow Man-kong, a newly elected lawmaker who is also a researcher at Lingnan University, was the first lawmaker to be sworn in at Putonghua. The same goes for Sun Dong, another newly elected lawmaker who is also a prominent Chinese scientist at the City University of Hong Kong and Tan Yueheng, the chairman and executive director of BOCOM International Holdings Company who was one of the members. elected from the LegCo Legislative for the Constituency of the Electoral Committee.

Seventh-term members of the Legislative Council (LegCo) of China's Hong Kong Special Administrative Region greet the audience during a tour ahead of the swearing-in ceremony on January 3.  Photo: IC

Seventh-term members of the Legislative Council (LegCo) of China’s Hong Kong Special Administrative Region greet the audience during a tour ahead of the swearing-in ceremony on January 3. Photo: IC

Some new lawmakers such as Kenneth Fok Kai-kong, who was elected to the Sports, Performing Arts, Culture and Publishing constituency, and Nixie Lam, elected MP from the Election Commission constituency also wore hoodies. face masks and pins with the Chinese national flag as they swore in office.

“It has been a very exciting time for me as it marks an important responsibility for me to serve as the legislator of the Hong Kong SAR,” Nixie Lam told the Global Times on Monday. She described the city as “a roller coaster” in recent years, and said many bills related to livelihoods and social development have been put on hold.

“It’s time for us to restart and build our city together,” she said, noting that she sincerely hoped Hong Kong residents could work with LegCo members to build a better future.

The Liaison Office of the Central People’s Government in Hong Kong sent congratulations on the smooth running of the swearing-in ceremony on Monday morning, expressing the hope that the new LegCo lawmakers take office, resolutely uphold the administrative leadership system. , support and oversee the administration of the SAR government. in accordance with the law.

As China’s national emblem hung in the Legislative Assembly chamber for the first time, it showed the legal status of Hong Kong SAR as a local administrative region of China under “one country, two systems, “said the spokesperson for the liaison office. “It is also a representation of the implementation of the principle of one patriots ruling Hong Kong within the legislature.”

“Thinking back to the swearing-in ceremony for the sixth term of LegCo, some basic principles were clearly established, and it is impossible to see inappropriate acts of insulting the country,” Li Xiaobing, a business expert from Hong Kong, Macao and Taiwan. from Nankai University, the Global Times reported on Monday.

When taking the oath in 2016, Sixtus Baggio Leung Chung-hang and Yau Wai-ching of Youngspiration decided to change their oaths and instead pledged allegiance to “the nation of Hong Kong”, referring to the sovereign state as “Chee-na” which was declared invalid by the general secretary of LegCo, the South China Morning Post reported in October 2016.

After about two years of putting Hong Kong’s political and social track back on track with the implementation of the National Security Law, electoral reform and relevant legislative changes, the current LegCo has now returned to a statute. normal, Li said, noting that these inappropriate acts of turning the legislature into a joke will not happen again.

The Hong Kong and Macao Affairs Office of the State Council also congratulated the new lawmakers, saying the ceremony was solemn and underscored the good spirit of lawmakers.

All lawmakers must fully and accurately implement “one country, two systems” and steadfastly safeguard the Constitution and the Basic Law, the office spokesperson said, noting that they must make efforts to respond to the news. expectations of the people of Hong Kong. and work hard to resolve long-term issues that affect Hong Kong’s economic and social development.

In addition, the display of national symbols on the occasion of the swearing-in further underscored the constitutional status of the Hong Kong SAR as the SAR of China, which was the vivid experience of strengthening the consciousness of national identity among Hong Kong lawmakers, Li said.

The LegCo is due to elect a new president on January 10 and will hold its first meeting on January 12. The LegCo Commission also decided to hang the national emblem and SAR emblem in the meeting room, and the project will be completed before the first meeting, according to media reports.

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