>> A showdown with Beijing is brewing in Hong Kong. They city's just elected a batch of fresh-faced young lawmakers who want a greater distance from China. Sources close to Beijing say the Communist Party will do anything it can to try and shut that down, which could mean making talk of independence illegal.
Reuters Greg Tiraud explains how that's possible in a city that protects civil freedoms.>> They can change the mini constitution called the basic law. They can somehow interpret this to outlaw independence. Now the way it would unfold is probably the courts would make a decision that Beijing doesn't like and then Beijing forces a reinterpretation of the basic law.
Under the basic law, that is something the Hong Kong courts would have to accept. This is something that we know many top judges, many top Hong Kong government officials are very worried about.>> There's a potential test for the courts looming. Several pro-independence candidates in the recent legislative elections were disqualified from running and at least one is planning to legally challenge that decision.
>> Many people think that if those are appealed, and move through the legal process, that Hong Kong's more senior judges will effectively say, these people have a right to stand. At that point, Beijing maybe tempted to somehow intervene.>> Sources say if China intervenes to outlaw independence, it could signal the end of an independent judiciary.
But that's not Beijing's only option for getting the subject off the agenda. It could also tighten anti-subversion laws, making it harder for dissenting voices to speak out. Either way, with the new independence leaning lawmakers in place, some warn that a clash with China is inevitable because they didn't win their seats just to sit in silence.