Scuffles broke out in Hong Kong’s legislature Monday after a pro-Beijing lawmaker was elected as chair of the key House Committee, which vets bills and decides when to present them for a final vote. The committee had been without a chairperson for more than six months, and deputy chairperson and pro-democracy lawmaker Dennis Kwok had been criticized by Beijing for, they said, deliberate delays. The new chair is pro-Beijing lawmaker Starry Lee, whose election will likely speed up the passing of a totemic bill that will criminalize abuse of the Chinese national anthem. At Monday’s meeting, pro-democracy lawmakers held up placards that read “Abuse of Power” and “CCP tramples HK legislature.” At least five lawmakers were ejected for disorderly behavior. “Hong Kong is marching towards the beginning of the end of ‘one country, two systems,’” said pro-democracy lawmaker Claudia Mo. Meanwhile, 15 pro-democracy figures, including media tycoon Jimmy Lai, appeared in court Monday to face charges relating to anti-government protests last year.
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