The South China Morning Post reports that legal scholar Benny Tai has been released from jail. Who is Benny Tai, and why is this significant news?
Background: The current protests in Hong Kong are not the first major protests against Beijing’s interference in Hong Kong’s politics and government. In fall/winter 2014, the Hong Kong people protested against the CCP Standing Committee reforms to the rules for electing the Hong Kong Chief Executive in the “Umbrella Revolution.” The “revolution” went on from September 16th to December 15th, 2014, and the circumstances and protests were very similar to what is happening now in Hong Kong.
Government officials in Hong Kong and in Beijing denounced the occupation as “illegal” and a “violation of the rule of law”, and Chinese state media and officials claimed repeatedly that the West had played an “instigating” role in the protests, and warned of “deaths and injuries and other grave consequences.Wikipedia, citing Washington Port article by Anne Applebaum ( https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/anne-applebaum-chinas-familiar-bogeyman-for-the-hong-kong-protests/2014/10/03/d883ac5e-4b3a-11e4-891d-713f052086a0_story.html?noredirect=on )
Wow, that sure sounds familiar, doesn’t it? It’s typical of one-party/one-ruler dictatorships throughout the world to blame the problems of their countries on the U.S. and western democracies, and it’s happening again in Hong Kong now. The CCP cannot accept that the actual reason for the protests is their repressive, oppressive policies and government.
Benny Tai was one of the leaders of the Umbrella Revolution.
Tai and another co-founder of the protests, sociologist Chan Kin-man, were sentenced to 16 months in jail after they were convicted over the unprecedented civil disobedience movement, during which protesters brought several parts of the city to a standstill for 79 straight days seeking greater democracy.South China Morning Post
Tai, Chan and Chu were all convicted of one count of conspiracy to cause public nuisance, while Tai and Chan were also convicted on one count of inciting others to commit public nuisance.South China Morning Post
Tai got sixteen months in jail for “conspiracy to cause public nuisance” and “inciting others to commit public nuisance.” That harsh sentence was under Hong Kong’s legal system, where defendants are according a fair trial under the rule of law.
The Hong Kong judiciary has had a longstanding reputation for fairness and was rated as the best judicial system in Asia by one survey in 2008.Wikipedia at https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Law_of_Hong_Kong#targetText=Under%20the%20principle%20of%20’one,the%20Laws%20of%20Hong%20Kong.
Now imagine what would happen to Benny Tai if he was extradited to China stand trial for “disrupting the harmony of the state” or some such nonsense. This is exactly why the Hong Kong people started the ongoing protests.