Hong Kong pro-democracy lawmaker disqualified

Hong Kong authorities have disqualified a pro-democracy lawmaker after he was deemed to be not loyal enough. This is the first such case under a Beijing-backed eligibility review committee instituted earlier this year.

The second-highest ranking official in Hong Kong's government, Chief Secretary John Lee, told a news conference on Thursday that Cheng Chung-tai had been removed from the Legislative Council. He added that Cheng will also be ineligible to run in elections for the next five years.

Lee said Cheng failed to uphold the Basic Law and bear sufficient allegiance to Hong Kong.

Lee said the review committee had decided that Cheng would not be suitable as a member of the election committee.

Cheng had been expected to be picked as a member of the election committee next month and vote in a poll to select Hong Kong's chief executive next March.

Cheng remained a lawmaker even after other pro-democracy legislators resigned en masse last November.

The review committee determines whether election candidates are patriots based on the territory's national security law. The legislation is aimed at cracking down on anti-government activities.

The committee was set up in May when Hong Kong's electoral system was overhauled under Chinese President Xi Jinping's administration.