>> China's top parliament stepping into a heated debate over Hong Kong freedoms on Monday, laying out their own interpretation of the city's mini constitution. Effectively barring two pro-independence politicians from taking office after they refused to swear an oath of allegiance to Beijing. Local courts were expected to make a ruling on the matter.
But in an unprecedented move the Communist party has swooped in and beaten them to it.>> I'm Reuters's Tara Joseph, outside the Hong Kong Court of Final Appeal. Beijing has stuck its oar in this city's courts a handful of times over the past few years. But this intervention is the biggest since Chinese rule, nearly 20 years ago.
The legal system here is considered a pillar of what makes Hong Kong free, fair, and most importantly, different from China. And the idea that the Chinese Communist party can go into the legal system at will is causing anger and outrage here.>> But Beijing seems determined to lay down the law when it comes to talk of independence, following up its ruling on Monday with a warning.
> The central government is highly concerned about the grave dangers that Hong Kong independence forces pose to both the city and the whole country. Containing and striking down these forces is in line with the law.>> Hong Kong's leader CY Leung says he supports Beijing's interpretation but the city is bracing for more trouble.
Hundreds of pro democracy protesters spilled out onto the street on Sunday night, battling police armed with pepper spray. Now that Beijing's ruling has officially passed, more clashes ahead are a certainty.