"When we talk about Hong Kong independence, that's not a local issue, it's a national issue concerning territorial integrity so Beijing has a natural role in all of this," he argued. "To do this interpretation, its within the confines of Basic Law as well."
A total of five lawmakers had their original oaths invalidated last month but three of them have since retaken their pledges and were officially sworn-in, and are expected to be exempt from Monday's decision. Top mainland official Zhang Xiaoming said on Sunday that "it could be complicated to disqualify lawmakers who had finished their oaths," according to the South China Morning Post.
Yau Wai-ching and Baggio Leung will now be forced from office and by-elections will be called, Chong Ja Ian, assistant professor at National University of Singapore, explained.
"More direct Chinese involvement into Hong Kong has been a trend; this is likely to increase tensions as many find this kind of Chinese role in Hong Kong hard to accept," he said.
The big question on everyone's mind was whether Monday's decision would set a precedent for more Chinese interference in the SAR's legal system.
Li Fei said on Monday that Beijing policymakers would "only interpret the Basic Law on important issues, but not on Hong Kong's internal affairs". He also noted that that the central government would not be "obscure or lenient" in quashing acts that promoted Hong Kong independence.
However, that all depended on the actions of Hong Kongers, experts said.
"It really depends whether the city's situation continues to deteriorate. If it does, the central government will see that it has no other means except to intervene. But that's the worst-case scenario, Beijing doesn't want to do that as its not in China's best interest to let the situation worsen,' explained professor Li.
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