Hong Kong: clashes between pro-Beijing elected officials and pro-democratic opposition in local parliament

Pro-democracy Hong Kong MP Eddie Chu Hoi-dick held by security agents after clashes following pro-Beijing MP Starry Lee's seat in chair of the House Committee on the Hong Kong Legislative Council on May 8, 2020 Anthony WALLACE / AFP

Text by: RFI Follow

Clashes took place this Friday between pro-democracy deputies and pro-Beijing elected officials inside the Legislative Council (LegCo), the Hong Kong Parliament, which is at the center of new tensions between the Chinese government and the local opposition.


Read more

The coronavirus epidemic has helped reduce street protest, but the political crisis has by no means been resolved. Proof of this has been the blockage for seven months, by pro-democracy deputies of the activity of the Legislative Council or "LegCo", the local Hong Kong parliament, partially elected by universal suffrage.

The former British colony experienced its worst political crisis from June to December 2019 since its handover to China in 1997 , with often violent demonstrations to denounce Beijing's increasingly strong interference in the affairs of its semi-region. autonomous.

An interference that LegCo deputies are fighting against. In recent weeks, they have multiplied acts of obstruction to prevent the examination of a bill repressing the lack of respect for the Chinese national anthem. The delay in this text was the source last month of harsh criticism of the Liaison Office, the body of Chinese central government in Hong Kong.

Scene of chaos

This Friday's clashes crystallized around the leadership of the House Committee, whose role is to review bills before they are examined. This committee has had no leader since October. For months, pro-democracy elected officials have managed to prevent their designation, thanks to the rare powers they have in a legislative body dominated by pro-Beijing.

This Friday afternoon, one of the "pro-Beijing", Starry Lee, sat in the chair in shelter by sheltering behind a legal analysis written by government lawyers going in his direction. But opposition politicians, putting forward their own legal arguments, accused her of breaking the law.

Chaos then took over the room. Security agents and pro-Beijing elected officials have rallied around Starry Lee as the pro-democracies attempted to impose their own candidate for the post. One even tried to climb a wall to get to the gallery.

Security agents then forcibly evacuated several pro-democracy elected officials, while rival parliamentarians displayed signs and filmed with their phones and broadcast this confusion live on their social networks.

Read also: Hong Kong: several figures of the pro-democracy movement arrested

Beijing threatens pro-democracy MPs

China has not hidden its annoyance at the obstruction of pro-democracy in recent times. To the point that the Liaison Office suggested that these blockages could be worth legal proceedings to elected representatives of the opposition.

The pro-democracies hastened to denounce this position as an unacceptable interference by China, while Hong Kong is supposed to be governed until 2047 by the principle "One country, two systems".

The political crisis then turned into a constitutional crisis, when the Liaison Office said it was not bound by the provisions of the Hong Kong mini-constitution prohibiting organs of the Chinese government from interfering in Hong Kong affairs.

Read also: Hong Kong: China calls pro-democracy demonstrators “political virus to eliminate”

Newsletter With the Daily Newsletter, find the headlines directly in your mailbox


Follow all international news by downloading the RFI application


  • Hong Kong
  • China

On the same subject

Hong Kong: Trial of Jimmy Lai, Press Tycoon, Peking Black Beast

Hong Kong: several figures of the pro-democracy movement arrested

Hong Kong: support for pro-democracy protests on the rise, one year after their start