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Posts published in November 2019

2047 is Now. What is the Future of Hong Kong?

We haven’t posted anything for a couple of days on this site. It seemed nothing more could be said about the brutality of Hong Kong’s police, but no other news seems worth writing about in comparison.

By now, pretty much everyone that has been paying attention at all knows about the police siege of Hong Kong Polytechnic University. Hundreds of students are trapped there. The police won’t let them leave unless they “surrender,” which would almost certainly mean being subjected to torture and abuse. Naturally, the students don’t want to surrender, for that reason, and also because they believe they are fighting for their home, their freedom, and their rights. They deserve and need the entire free world’s support.

In 2047, the “one country, two systems” agreement that was negotiated between the U.K. and the Chinese government at the handover in 1997 officially ends, and Hong Kong becomes completely subject to the arbitrary legal system of mainland China, where there is no rule of law, lawyers are regularly arrested and detained, the rights of citizens are non-existent, and people accused of “crimes” are disappeared into black jails, with no contact with lawyers or family.

But today, it is clear that it is already 2047 in Hong Kong.

In the past couple of days, Hong Kong’s highest court ruled that Carrie Lam’s ban on face masks is unconstitutional, violating the Basic Law.

Today, the CCP said that Hong Kong’s courts cannot rule on the constitutionality of legislation passed by the Hong Kong government. Only the CCP can. Read this important thread: https://twitter.com/stuartlauscmp/status/1196565359026999296

[China’s] constitution and the Basic Law jointly form the constitutional foundation of [HK]. Whether HK’s legislation is consistent with the HK Basic Law can only judged and decided by the National People’s Congress standing committee. No other parties can judge or decide.”

CCP National People’s Congress overrules Hong Kong’s High Court

If Hong Kong’s courts cannot decide what Kong Kong’s laws mean and whether or not they are in accordance with Hong Kong’s constitution (the Basic Law), then there is no reason for them to exist. There is no longer any rule of law in Hong Kong.

There is also now evidence that authorities are transporting arrested pro-democracy demonstrators out of Hong Kong. Carrie Lam may have withdrawn the extradition bill that started the demonstrations, but everyone knows that the CCP will do whatever it wants, regardless of what any law says.

If this is actually happening now in Hong Kong, it’s a scene that reminds us of the worst atrocities visited on people in all of human history. It is terrifying. Given what we know is happening in Xinjiang to the Uyghurs, it is certainly possible that these young people will disappear into China’s gulag, where they will have no rights at all. Pray that they will be released soon, unharmed.

It is already 2047 in Hong Kong.

Progress in the Senate!

The U.S. House of Representatives passed the Hong Kong Human Rights and Democracy Act unanimously on October 15, 2019. It was passed out of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on September 25th. Since then, we have been waiting for the full Senate to take action on the bill. It has many co-sponsors, and the sponsors of the Senate bill have been getting impatient. Finally, we are seeing some action on this very important bill:

The Senate majority leader, Mitch McConnell, is signaling that the bill will be voted on in the Senate soon. Let’s hope he follows through, and that it will be signed into law by President Trump very soon.

The Definition of Insanity…

… is doing the same thing over and over again, expecting a different result*.

Are Carrie Lam, the Hong Kong government, and the Hong Kong police insane?

They seem to be doing the same things again and again: oppressing the people of Hong Kong more and more ruthlessly, banning face masks, beating and abusing the demonstrators, firing more tear gas, pepper spray, and rubber bullets, even raping and shooting demonstrators with lethal weapons. None of that has worked, and yet they continue to expect a different result. It won’t happen. The demonstrators continue their resistance. Public support for the demonstrations has continued, even increased, while at this point, the vast majority of the Hong Kong people loathe Carrie Lam and the police.

So, are Carrie Lam, the Hong Kong government, and the Hong Kong police actually insane? Probably not in the clinical sense; although, some of the members of the Hong Kong police definitely seem to have lost control of themselves and may truly be suffering from mental illness.

Carrie Lam has backed herself into a corner, probably with the “advice” of the CCP’s thugs government bureaucrats. She has said there can be and will be no negotiations, and the demonstrators Five Demands can never be implemented.

What then, is the solution? More of the same? Escalation of violence until dozens, hundreds, even thousands or tens of thousands are killed? Insanity.

At this point, there is more-or-less open warfare between the Hong Kong police and the young people of Hong Kong; although, it is by no means only young people that are protesting. In the past couple of days, thousands of office workers have taken to the streets in the Hong Kong central financial district, peacefully protesting, where of course, they were tear gassed by the police.

The CCP, and by extension the Hong Kong government and police, are utterly bereft of ideas. They seem to understand violence and oppression as the only means of dealing with people. It isn’t surprising, given the CCP’s history. Mao said, “Every Communist must grasp the truth; ‘Political power grows out of the barrel of a gun.'” It is what they believe and all they know, to this day. Insanity.

At this point, we have no answers, only prayers for Hong Kong.

* Although often attributed to Albert Einstein, apparently, it was not actually said by him.

More Unbearable Tragedy in Hong Kong

Less than an hour before this post is being written, the Hong Kong police have again shot a young demonstrator. It was captured on live video. It is clear that the demonstrator was completely unarmed. There was no reason whatsoever for the shooting.

WARNING: This live video is extremely disturbing.

At this point, we have not seen any reports on the identity or the condition of the demonstrator, but judging from the photos from the scene, it looks very dire. Reports are that two teenage demonstrators have been shot.

As if anyone needed more evidence that the Hong Kong police are completely out of control, here is video of them just randomly firing teargas at people as they leave an area.

As ridiculous as this is, it is nothing compared to shooting teenage demonstrators at near point blank range. All of humanity should be outraged at what is happening in Hong Kong now. It is horrific, unleashed by the totalitarian evil of the Chinese Communist Party. Since its founding, the CCP has murdered more people than any other regime in the history of humanity. They would have you believe that they are different now. They are not. If anything, with their increasingly sophisticated use of technology, they have become more adept at oppression and murder. The CCP is a clear and present danger to all of humanity. It must be deposed.

The Price of Freedom

It is a tragic fact that securing and maintaining freedom for people is costly, in time, in treasure, and in life itself. There are always those that for their own selfish reasons – power, money, misguided ideology, or just an evil heart – want to take away the natural, God-given rights of all human beings. In opposing such people, there are some – always too many – that will be injured or even lose their lives; they are martyrs for the cause of freedom and human rights.

Usually, those that pay the ultimate price, losing their lives in the never-ending struggle for human rights and freedom are members of the military and first responders, but sometimes – always too often – members of the general public become martyrs as well.

In the struggle by the Hong Kong people to protect their rights, many, many have been injured, beaten, tear-gassed, pepper-sprayed, even raped and shot by the brutal Hong Kong police. This week a young university student, Alex Chow Tsz-lok , just 22 years old, died after falling from the 3rd level to the 2nd level of a parking garage, in the midst of the police clearance action. The circumstances leading to his death are unclear. Security cameras video that has been released apparently did not capture the exact moment that he fell. Naturally, the police have denied any involvement. Naturally, the demonstrators blame the police, as almost no one in Hong Kong trusts the police any more. Demands for a completely independent investigation into the actions of the police during the demonstrations have intensified. Few believe that the current mechanisms and organizations for investigating police misconduct and brutality that currently exist in Hong Kong are adequate. They have little or no real investigative or prosecutorial power and are part of the police power structure, so they are not independent and are unlikely to return impartial results from any investigation that they do. The people of Hong Kong are demanding, as they have for weeks now, a completely independent and impartial investigation by an agency that has the power to compel testimony and to prosecute police misconduct.

Regardless of the cause of Alex Chow Tsz-lok’s death, he is a martyr to the cause of human rights and freedom in Hong Kong. The people know that, and are honoring him:

No rational person wishes for violence, but as long as there are those that want to take away rights and freedom, they must be resisted. Let’s all hope that the CCP and Hong Kong government and police regain their senses, and that the people of Hong Kong’s struggle to maintain their rights and freedom is won.

How the Government and Police are Eroding Human Rights in Hong Kong

By now it is well known that the protests in Hong Kong started over a proposed amendment to Hong Kong law that would allow people to be extradited to mainland China for trial. The people of Hong Kong were rightfully concerned – terrified, is perhaps the better word – that this change in the law would allow political dissidents to be arrested for some “crime” and then extradited to the mainland, where they would be under the control of the CCP’s “legal” system – and where they would have no rights whatsoever. Undoubtedly, some, many, all of them would be disappeared into China’s notorious prisons, never to be heard from again.

Now that the extradition bill has been withdrawn, the protests have become primarily a pro-democracy movement. The protesters are demanding universal suffrage as one of their “Five Demands, Not One Less,” as well as advocating for their human rights, which are guaranteed in the Hong Kong Basic Law, but are not respected by the CCP government in Beijing and are being eroded step-by-step by the Hong Kong government and police. This excellent Twitter thread by Elson Tong, a Hong Kong University law student, explains how the Hong Kong police have been further and further restricting the Hong Kong people’s right of assembly. It’s long, but well worth the read to better understand the tactics of the Hong Kong police, no doubt backed and organized by CCP elements within the Hong Kong police:

This kind of clear-eyed view of the strategies and tactics of the CCP and their followers is very much needed. Thanks to Elson Tong for providing this thread. We hope he is okay with us reposting it here. Of course, if he is not, we will take down this post immediately.

It is typical of the CCP to continue to apply pressure until their target capitulates. They almost never negotiate, and even when they do, they do not negotiate in good faith. They will break any agreement they make as soon as they think it is in their interest to do so, and they think they can get away with it. So far the pro-democracy movement has not capitulated to the CCP’s pressure tactics and use of violence as a means of oppression and coercion.

You Can’t Argue About the Law in Here! This is a Courtroom!

One of the primary reasons that China cannot be trusted as a business or trade partner, and also one of the primary reasons that it is one of the world’s foremost violators of human rights, is because China does not have a free, fair, and independent legal system. There is no effective rule of law in China; rather, legal decisions are based on what CCP bosses or other influential people want them to be. Judges are entirely beholden to the CCP, and often do not have any legal training whatsoever. On top of that, the Chinese reliance on guan xi (关系) – a term that is hard to translate, but roughly means relationships, connections, and influence – for solving problems and decision making makes the legal system incredibly corrupt. Declarations of guilt or innocence, who is right or wrong in contract negotiations, and so on, depend as much or more on guan xi as they do on what the law actually says or on the facts and evidence at hand.

To be sure, China does have laws, and when non-Chinese read the laws (translated), they often even sound good and right. The problem is that the laws are not fairly or evenly enforced, not just because of the guan xi issue we described above, but also because lawyers are themselves often charged with crimes for advocating for their clients!

Read this heartbreaking story from the Hong Kong Free Press.

Stories like this are all too common in China. Lawyers who advocate for their clients’ rights are often arrested and disappeared – held incommunicado for months or years, with no contact with their families or their own lawyers.

[Lawyer] Yu [Wensheng] was detained in Beijing in January 2018 in front of his young son after he wrote an open letter calling for constitutional reforms, including multi-candidate elections.
He was later charged with “inciting subversion of state power”.

Hong Kong Free Press article

Human rights lawyers are especially targeted by the CCP, as was the case here, and charged with nonsense crimes like “inciting subversion of state power” or “subverting public order” – the usual kind of things that fascist dictatorships make up to give legal cover to their oppression and abuse. However, lawyers in other kinds of cases, like contract disputes between Chinese companies and western companies, have also been targeted, if they happen to argue too effectively or vociferously for their foreign client’s rights and interests. Western companies doing business in China should not expect to be treated fairly or in accordance with the law if they happen to get into a dispute with a Chinese company.

This is all part and parcel of the CCP’s oppression of human rights in China. It is why the people of Hong Kong are so vehemently opposed to the (now withdrawn) extradition bill that would allow Hong Kong citizens to be extradited to mainland China for “trial.” The CCP simply cannot be trusted – for many reasons, not least of which is that there is no rule of law in China. China’s abominable treatment of lawyers is one more proof of that.

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