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Wednesday, October 06, 2004

BBC NEWS | Asia-Pacific | Hong Kong legislators sworn in

BBC NEWS | Asia-Pacific | Hong Kong legislators sworn in: "Hong Kong legislators sworn in
Hong Kong's new Legislative Council members have taken the territory's official oath of office.
In last month's elections, 25 of the 60 seats went to pro-democracy candidates - more than ever before.
The new members are likely to create problems for Hong Kong's leader Tung Chee-hwa and his pro-China government.
One of the newly-elected legislators, Leung Kwok-hung, has already caused controversy by adding a number of pro-democracy slogans to his official oath.
'Long live the people! Power to the people!' he shouted, punching the air.
He had initially refused to swear the oath at all, despite the fact that the pledge, which promises loyalty to the Chinese and Hong Kong governments and the territory's constitution, is compulsory.
Mr Leung - a radical activist known as Longhair - said he would rather promise support for human rights, justice, freedom and democracy.
But earlier on Wednesday, a judge threw out his case, warning he could face expulsion if he refused to comply.
So far no action has been taken against him.
Platform for dissent
The LegCo's role is simply to scrutinise government policy and legislation, and pass its budget.
But it also provides a useful platform for those who want to express dissent.
Mr Tung and his allies in Beijing were no doubt relieved that the pro-democracy camp fell short of its aspirations at last month's elections and only won 25 seats.
But nevertheless, a significant number of democrats were elected - and some of them are among the government's fiercest critics.
These include Longhair, renowned for his Che Guevara T-shirts and Marxist views, and a controversial radio host who resigned from "

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