Pro-government groups have said they have collected over 2.18 million signatures during a five-day public petition campaign in support of the ousting of pro-democracy legislators from Hong Kong’s Legislative Council.
District Council Observers and Disqualifications Observers Alliance set up street booths across the city between last Wednesday and Sunday. The campaign said it had collected 1.02 million signatures from their website – which allowed overseas signatories – and 1.16 million from street booths by Sunday evening. In total, they collected 2.18 million signatures,Orange News reported.
Opposition lawmakers Kenneth Leung, Kwok-Ka-ki, Dennis Kwok and Alvin Yeung were disqualified as legislators with immediate effect by the Hong Kong government last Wednesday. In response, most pro-democracy legislators resigned in protest of Beijing’s decision, leaving the legislature with only two members who were not from pro-establishment parties.
China’s top legislative body in Beijing had earlier that day granted the government the power to unseat any legislator it deemed to have violated their oaths of allegiance under Article 104 of the Basic Law.
The campaign was titled “Supporting the National People’s Congress’s decision, kick away ‘laam chau’ legislators” – a term referring to the scorched earth strategy espoused by some pro-democracy politicians.
It was supported by other pro-government groups such as the Hong Kong Coalition – an organisation headed by former Chief Executives Leung Chun-Ying and Tung Chi-Hwa, and the Friends of Hong Kong Association – a group formed of National People’s Congress delegates and Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference national committee members.
Various pro-establishment figures such as New People Party member Dominic Lee and pro-legislator Elizabeth Quat were also seen signing for the campaign, according to pro-government outlet Dot Dot News on Sunday.
Images circulating on social media showed some signed their names as “Joe Biden” in both English and Chinese, or as “Revolution of our Times” – a popular protest slogan. Meanwhile, a video shared on Instagram Saturday alleged that a group of women remained at a booth in To Kwa Wan and each signed multiple times.
Organisers said some street booths in Yuen Long were disrupted by members from pro-democracy camps. They also said the petition website faced systematic online attacks, but did not provide details.
They also said over 32,000 invalid signatures were removed in order to maintain the petition’s credibility.