[JURIST] The Hong Kong Court of Appeal [website] ruled [text] against two elected, pro-independence politicians from taking local office Wednesday. Yau Wai-ching [TIME profile] and Sixtus Leung [NYT profile] were barred as a result of a political protest launched during their inaugural oaths. The oaths were deemed unfulfilled when the pair pledged their allegiance to the "Hong Kong Nation" as opposed to the People's Republic of China. The politicians were found to have willfully omitted their duty to take the oath when requested to do so and has their positions automatically invalidated as a result. The decision affirmed [NYT report] the earlier order [JURIST report] of a Hong Kong court.
China's human rights record has garnered international attention for the government's treatment of the growing civil rights movement [JURIST op-ed] in the country, led by a number of prominent rights activists and lawyers. Last week more than 1,000 Hong Kong lawyers dressed in black marched [JURIST report] through the city in silence in opposition of the National People's Congress's decision to bar Yau and Leung from office. A Hong Kong court in August sentenced three leaders of the 2014 pro-democracy protests [JURIST report] who were convicted on charges related to their occupation of a government building. In January Chinese authorities brought charges [JURIST report] against seven lawyers from the Beijing Fengrui Law Firm related to events that have allegedly disrupted the public order, including a police shooting.