But it's not just China who's angry; Hong Kongers have also expressed disappointment with the duo's radical actions. Many believe democracy has a higher chance of success if players worked within the existing system. Their behavior has raised such a counter reaction that it could do more harm than good, suggested Gittings.
A total of five lawmakers had their original oaths invalidated last month, including Edward Yiu Chung-yim, who added the phrase "for democracy and for Hong Kong's sustainable development" and Lau Siu-lai, who first read the pledge in slow motion. Three of the five have since retaken their pledges and were officially sworn-in, leaving just Leung and Yao.
But with zero prospect of real Hong Kong independence for years to come, critics questioned why Localists made a fuss about the oath in the first place.
"Symbolic politics" was the game here, argued Brookings Institution strategists in a recent note.
"In contesting the authorities' right to dictate the oath for new members, the Localists are challenging the very legitimacy of the LegCo institution itself, which Beijing designed to protect the interests of some groups and block the agendas of others."
Indeed, it was time pan-democrats abandoned the notion that Hong Kong must follow the rules of China's game to get things done, Wong pointed out.
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