The swearing-in ceremony that marked the beginning of Hong Kong’s legislative session on Wednesday witnessed dramatic scenes with a number of pro-democracy leaders deriding Chinese authority over the island territory. The eventful session saw some of the pro-democracy politicians altering the pledge script to refer to China by an archaic and derogatory name “Shina” while others showed protest signs and banners that read “Hong Kong is not a part of China.”
Nathan Law, one of the six young-pro democracy leaders who has been recently elected to the 70-member legislative council, quoted Mahatma Gandhi to vent his frustration against the Chinese rule in Hong Kong, writes The Guardian.
The 23-year-old leader, who dismissed the swearing-in ceremony as a political tool, challenged Beijing by saying, “You can chain me, you can torture me, you can even destroy this body. But you will never imprison my mind.”
Pro-democracy politician Lau Siu-lai resorted to a different way of protest whereby she read the pledge in slow motion, taking 10 minutes to recite an oath of just 100 words, as other lawmakers watched on, reports CBC News.
China appeared to have successfully overcome the massive 79-day pro-democracy protests in Hong Kong in 2014, but the activists who regrouped two years later have staged a strong comeback by securing seats in the semi-democratic legislative council.