Asia

China says it must act to deter Hong Kong separatism

  • Maria Tam, a Hong Kong deputy to the National People's Congress, walks out of the National People's Congress conference center in Beijing, China, Saturday, Nov. 5, 2016.  Beijing plans to intervene in a Hong Kong political dispute over two young, newly elected separatist lawmakers in a rare move that is stoking fears the Chinese-ruled city’s considerable autonomy and independent judiciary are under threat.  Tam told reporters that the NPC has the "final say" on the dispute and that Hong Kong's highest court would accept the NPC interpretation as binding.(AP Photo/Ng Han Guan)

    Maria Tam, a Hong Kong deputy to the National People's Congress, walks out of the National People's Congress conference center in Beijing, China, Saturday, Nov. 5, 2016. Beijing plans to intervene in a Hong Kong political dispute over two young, newly elected separatist lawmakers in a rare move that is stoking fears the Chinese-ruled city’s considerable autonomy and independent judiciary are under threat. Tam told reporters that the NPC has the "final say" on the dispute and that Hong Kong's highest court would accept the NPC interpretation as binding.(AP Photo/Ng Han Guan)  (The Associated Press)

  • Maria Tam, a Hong Kong deputy to the National People's Congress talks to a reporter in Beijing, China, Saturday, Nov. 5, 2016. Beijing plans to intervene in a Hong Kong political dispute over two young, newly elected separatist lawmakers in a rare move that is stoking fears the Chinese-ruled city’s considerable autonomy and independent judiciary are under threat.   Tam told reporters that the NPC has the "final say" on the dispute and that Hong Kong's highest court would accept the NPC interpretation as binding.(AP Photo/Ng Han Guan)

    Maria Tam, a Hong Kong deputy to the National People's Congress talks to a reporter in Beijing, China, Saturday, Nov. 5, 2016. Beijing plans to intervene in a Hong Kong political dispute over two young, newly elected separatist lawmakers in a rare move that is stoking fears the Chinese-ruled city’s considerable autonomy and independent judiciary are under threat. Tam told reporters that the NPC has the "final say" on the dispute and that Hong Kong's highest court would accept the NPC interpretation as binding.(AP Photo/Ng Han Guan)  (The Associated Press)

  • Maria Tam, a Hong Kong deputy to the National People's Congress speaks to the media in Beijing, China, Saturday, Nov. 5, 2016.  Beijing plans to intervene in a Hong Kong political dispute over two young, newly elected separatist lawmakers in a rare move that is stoking fears the Chinese-ruled city’s considerable autonomy and independent judiciary are under threat.   Tam told reporters that the NPC has the "final say" on the dispute and that Hong Kong's highest court would accept the NPC interpretation as binding.(AP Photo/Ng Han Guan)

    Maria Tam, a Hong Kong deputy to the National People's Congress speaks to the media in Beijing, China, Saturday, Nov. 5, 2016. Beijing plans to intervene in a Hong Kong political dispute over two young, newly elected separatist lawmakers in a rare move that is stoking fears the Chinese-ruled city’s considerable autonomy and independent judiciary are under threat. Tam told reporters that the NPC has the "final say" on the dispute and that Hong Kong's highest court would accept the NPC interpretation as binding.(AP Photo/Ng Han Guan)  (The Associated Press)

China's top legislative panel has said Beijing must intervene in a Hong Kong political dispute to deter advocates of independence for the city, calling such acts a threat to national security.

The official Xinhua News Agency reported late Saturday that the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress said Beijing could not afford to do nothing in the face of challenges in Hong Kong to China's authority.

The dispute centers on a provocative display of anti-China sentiment by two pro-independence lawmakers at their swearing-in ceremony last month.

Xinhua cited a statement from the legislative panel as saying the two lawmakers' actions "posed a grave threat to national sovereignty and security."

The panel is discussing interpreting an article in Hong Kong's constitution covering oaths taken by lawmakers.