Hong Kong's opposition lawmakers resign en masse

The pro-democracy lawmakers in Hong Kong's legislature have decided to resign en masse, in protest of the expulsion of four of their own who are accused by the city government of endangering national security.

It's the latest in the tense ongoing dispute over the autonomy of China's freest city.

The opposition lawmakers had threatened earlier this week that they would resign from the 70-seat council if any members were disqualified.

And then on Wednesday it happened. Politicians Alvin Yeung, Kwok Ka-ki, Kenneth Leung, and Dennis Kwok, were expelled, but the city government did not elaborate on the accusation of endangering security.

China's parliament recently adopted a resolution allowing the city's executive to expel legislators deemed to be supporting Hong Kong independence, colluding with foreign forces or threatening national security, without having to go through the courts.

The city's Legislative Council is controlled by the pro-Beijing camp.

Analysts say the opposition's resignation would turn it into a rubber stamp.

China denies encroaching on Hong Kong's freedoms but authorities in Hong Kong and Beijing have moved swiftly to stifle dissent after anti-government protests flared last year.