China adopted a resolution earlier in the day allowing the city's executive to expel legislators deemed to be advocating Hong Kong independence, colluding with foreign forces, or threatening national security, without having to go through the courts.

Pan-democratic legislators including Wu Chi-Wai, Claudia Mo and Lam Cheuk-ting announced to resign from the Legislative Council after Alvin Yeung Ngok-kiu, Kwok Ka-ki, Kenneth Leung and Dennis Kwok were disqualified when China passed a new resolution in Hong Kong, China November 11, 2020.
Pan-democratic legislators including Wu Chi-Wai, Claudia Mo and Lam Cheuk-ting announced to resign from the Legislative Council after Alvin Yeung Ngok-kiu, Kwok Ka-ki, Kenneth Leung and Dennis Kwok were disqualified when China passed a new resolution in Hong Kong, China November 11, 2020. (Reuters)

Hong Kong's anti-Beijing lawmakers have said that they would all resign, after China gave the city the power to disqualify politicians deemed a threat to national security and four of their colleagues were ousted.

The resignations are the latest blow to the city's beleaguered anti-Beijing movement, which has been under sustained attack since China imposed a sweeping national security law, including arrests for social media posts and activists fleeing overseas.

"We, from the pro-democracy camp, will stand with our colleagues. We will resign en masse," Wu Chi-wai, convener of the 15 remaining anti-Beijing legislators, told a press conference.

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Endangering national security?

While the assembly is controlled by the pro-Beijing camp, the opposition's resignation would turn it into a rubber stamp.

The opposition members have tried to make a stand against what many people in the former British colony see as Beijing's tightening grip over the financial hub, despite a promise of autonomy.

China denies encroaching on Hong Kong's freedoms but authorities in Hong Kong and Beijing have moved swiftly to stifle dissent after anti-government protests flared in June last year and plunged the city into crisis.

The city government said in a statement the four legislators – Alvin Yeung, Dennis Kwok, Kwok Ka-ki and Kenneth Leung – were expelled from the assembly for endangering national security. It did not elaborate. Some members were known to have been open critics of Hong Kong's police brutality, controversial laws and China's influence over Hong Kong.

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'One country, two systems'

They were among 12 legislators who were earlier disqualified from standing in a legislative election, now postponed, for various reasons including collusion with foreign forces and opposition to the new national security law.

The disqualifications are likely to add to concern in the West about Hong Kong's autonomy, promised under a "one country, two systems" formula when Britain handed it to China in 1997, as Joe Biden prepares to take over from Donald Trump as US president.

The decision by the Chinese parliament's top decision-making body comes amid frustration in pro-Beijing circles in Hong Kong over what they see as opposition "delay tactics" to obstruct legislation.

Filibustering has long been common in Hong Kong where only half of the 70 seats in the legislature are elected and the other half stacked with pro-Beijing figures.

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Source: Reuters