Scuffles break out between Hong Kong lawmakers as pro-China camp elects chair

Clashes broke out in Hong Kong’s legislature Monday as a pro-Beijing lawmaker was elected chair of a key committee that scrutinizes bills, ending a prolonged struggle for control with the pro-democracy camp.

The legislature’s House Committee, which vets bills and decides when to present them for a final vote, had been without a chairperson for more than six months.

The central government in Beijing criticized deputy chairperson and pro-democracy lawmaker Dennis Kwok for deliberately delaying matters and causing a backlog of bills.

Kwok was replaced Friday by Chan Kin-por, who was appointed by the legislature’s president to preside over Monday’s election.

After scuffles and shouting matches, leading to Chan ejecting most of the pro-democracy lawmakers, the election took place with pro-Beijing lawmaker Starry Lee winning easily.

Her election will likely speed up the passing of a controversial bill that would criminalize abuse of the Chinese national anthem.

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