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Posts published in “Hong Kong Law”

SCMP Opinion: Carrie Lam Could End the Protests with One Speech

In an opinion piece appearing today in the South China Morning Post, Richard Harris – chief executive of Port Shelter Investment – argues that Carrie Lam could end the protests with a single speech, and he provides the text of such a speech in the article. Key points to his model speech:

  • An apology for proposing and complete withdrawal of the amendments to Hong Kong law allowing extradition of Hong Kong citizens to mainland China for trial and guarantees that it will never be revived.
  • An independent study by an “overseas judge” who will be “be tasked to investigate all aspects of the recent disturbances in Hong Kong,” so that the HK government can learn from the protests and improve.
  • Amnesty from legal action for the protesters.
  • Amnesty from legal action for the HK police.
  • Negotiations between the HK government and the protesters, and amnesty from legal action for the negotiators for the protesters.
  • Significant investment by the HK government into infrastructure, education, increased minimum wage.
  • Review and improvement of the HK government bureaucratic structures.

Many of these proposals make sense, especially complete and utter abolishment of any effort to subject HK citizens to mainland Chinese law, negotiations with the protesters, and legal amnesty. But without concrete, significant, guaranteed steps to give HK citizens more political self-determination, these proposals will be fruitless in the long run. You can only buy people off for so long. Likewise, unless the Beijing government backs negotiations, negotiates in good faith, and honors agreements without restrictions, none of this will make any difference. Negotiations that do not bear results or agreements that Beijing reneges on at their own convenience will just make the HK people angrier.

SCMP: Hong Kong law scholar Benny Tai gets bail

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.

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