The entirety of Hong Kong's elected pro-democracy opposition announced its resignation in protest over the expulsion of four lawmakers. The dramatic move comes after Beijing passed a resolution giving local authorities broad new powers to quash dissent, likely signaling the end of political opposition in the city.
The Taliban is calling on President-elect Joe Biden to stick with a February agreement to withdraw U.S. troops from Afghanistan. Meanwhile, Hong Kong's pro-democracy lawmakers have all resigned in a show of defiance after four politicians were expelled from the government, and Sudan is bracing for up to 200,000 refugees to pour into the country while trying to escape deadly violence in neighboring Ethiopia. CBS News' Rylee Carlson has the headlines from London. Fifteen pro-democracy lawmakers resigned from Hong Kong's Legislative Council on Wednesday in protest at four other legislators being expelled. They were the last remaining pro-democracy lawmakers. "Today we will resign from our positions, because our partners, our colleagues have been disqualified by the central government's ruthless move,'' Wu Chi-wai, convener of the pro-democracy camp, said at a news conference announcing their resignation. "Although we are facing a lot of difficulties in the coming future for the fight of democracy, but we will never, never give up," he said. Wu said they will hand in their resignation letters on Thursday
Hong Kong's city executive earlier disqualified four lawmakers for "national security" reasons. It came immediately after Beijing passed a new bill that allows the government to expel legislators without recourse to the courts.
Those fired were the pro-democracy lawmakers Alvin Yeung, Dennis Kwok, Kwok Ka-ki and Kenneth Leung. The city government said they had endangered national security, without offering further details. The four were previously disqualified from running for re-election as authorities found their pledge of allegiance to Hong Kong was not sincere. This was prior to the elections being delayed, ostensibly due to the coronavirus pandemic.
According to a controversial new law, lawmakers can be expelled if they are considered to pose a risk to national security, if they seek the city's independence, if they refuse to accept China's sovereignty over Hong Kong, or if they seek foreign interference. The law was passed at the National People's Congress Standing Committee, which convened on Tuesday and Wednesday. Opposition lawmakers in the 70-seat city legislature had threatened to resign en masse if any pro-democracy legislators were disqualified from the Legislative Council, or Legco. CNN's Ivan Watson reports on how the Chinese government reacted to the mass resignation of pro-democracy lawmakers in Hong Kong after the expulsion of four of their colleagues following a resolution passed by Beijing that gives local authorities broad new powers to quash dissent. Hong Kong's pro-democracy opposition lawmakers said on Wednesday they will resign in protest against the dismissal of four of their colleagues from the city assembly after Beijing gave local authorities new powers to further curb dissent. The Chinese parliament adopted a resolution earlier in the day allowing the city's executive to expel legislators deemed to be advocating Hong Kong independence, colluding with foreign forces or threatening national security, without having to go through the courts.