Hong Kong government targets more lawmakers over oaths

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HONG KONG (AP) — Hong Kong authorities on Friday stepped up their campaign against opposition lawmakers who used their swearing-in ceremony to stage apparent protests against Beijing.

Hong Kong's government said it started legal proceedings against four recently elected members of the Legislative Council.

The move follows the government's legal victory last month against two young separatist lawmakers who used an anti-China slur when they were being sworn in. A judge ruled that the two should be disqualified from taking office.

In a statement, the government said it took legal action to request that a court rule that the four pro-democracy lawmakers' oaths are invalid and their seats be declared vacant.

The lawmakers altered their oaths in various ways. Nathan Law, a student activist who helped lead massive 2014 pro-democracy street protests, raised his tone when he came to a part about the People's Republic of China, which made it sound like a question. Veteran activist Leung Kwok-hung held up a yellow umbrella, a symbol of the 2014 protests. Lau Siu-lai, a college lecturer who was also active in those protests, read her pledge in slow motion in an attempt to make it meaningless. Edward Yiu, a university professor, added phrases about democracy.

The four were later allowed to retake their oaths, which were accepted, unlike the other two who have been disqualified, Sixtus Leung and Yau Wai-ching of the Youngspiration party, who didn't get a second chance.

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