HONG KONG (AP) — Two Hong Kong separatist lawmakers attended a hearing at the city’s High Court on Thursday to appeal a verdict that disqualified them from taking their seats after they altered their oaths by adding anti-China insults.


A Nov. 15 ruling said that Sixtus Leung Chung-hang and Yau Wai-ching from the Youngspiration Party could not take office because they violated the semi-autonomous Chinese city’s mini-constitution and rules on the taking of oaths by elected officials.

Beijing had pre-empted the court by issuing its own controversial ruling aimed at blocking the pair from getting a second chance at taking their oaths.

Beijing’s intervention raised concerns over the integrity of the “one country, two systems” blueprint under which the former British colony had retained its own legal, social and economic institutions upon being handed over to Chinese rule in 1997,

In taking their oaths last month, Leung, 30, and Yau, 25, had also displayed a flag that said “Hong Kong is Not China” and used an archaic derogatory Japanese term for China, actions seen as deeply insulting and unpatriotic by the central government in Beijing.

It was not clear when the High Court will rule on the appeal. [/restrict]