CCP's Apple Daily takedown an attack on private property
People in Hong Kong (HK) and international commentators alike decry the loss of journalistic freedom in the city, as marked by the arrests of Apple Daily staff and the final closure of the newspaper and its associate company Next Digital. Many also take a broader view of events, noting that the HK police, or those officers acting under the auspices of the 'national security law', in fact go much much further in their intrusion, and undermining of the rule of law.
When one reviews historical events in mainland China, concerning personal property, it is possible to see that the state can act as an authoritarian force, deciding that the "greater good" of society somehow overrides the personal rights of individuals. Thus we can find cases such as forced land confiscation or sale by local government bodies in China (e.g. rural land), and interventions by government agencies that disrupt your personal business operations (e.g. Alibaba, Tencent, Liquor-Giant Moutai, etc).
The question is, how long will it be before such incursion is made against private property by state organs in HK, or have they already begun?
WTHPOHK believe that there are UN international treaties and fundamental human rights that must never be compromised, and that these must always be upheld and respected.
UN 'Universal Declaration of Human Rights' (UDHR) article 17:
"1. Everyone has the right to own property alone as well as in association with others.
2. No one shall be arbitrarily deprived of his property."
Many statutory authorities around the world allow for the confiscation of the proceeds of crime (e.g. stolen goods, cash, luxury cars etc). The rule of law question concerns the time and proportionate action taken by authorities.
In the HK context we see the security police freezing assets, taking away personal and business computers, mobile phones and documents, often without a search warrant, and before an investigation is completed. In fact, the intervention in HK, apparently taken on the grounds of "suspicion", gives unrestricted power to authorities to mess with people's lives, reputations, financial affairs, and their property rights. There have also been several reports of intimidation against others on the periphery of those who were subject to arbitrary arrest. A grand example of this is Secretary of Security John Lee's warning to all HK people to distance themselves from Apple Daily.
What about being innocent until proven guilty in a Court of law?
CCP please answer the following UN letters sent to you:
Apple Daily HK's last night
'Dismantling a free society : Hong Kong one year after the national security law'
Human Rights Watch 11 June 2021
"On June 30, 2020, the Chinese government imposed the draconian National Security Law (NSL) on Hong Kong with devastating consequences for human rights. Basic civil and political rights long protected in Hong Kong—including freedom of expression, association, and peaceful assembly—are being erased. It is evident that the NSL is an integral part of Beijing's larger efforts to reshape Hong Kong’s institutions and society, transforming a mostly free city into one dominated by Chinese Communist Party oppression."
An excellent article from HRW, a leading human rights NGO!
'Human Rights scores plummet in SAR, says index report'
RTHK 24 June 2021
"Hong Kong’s human rights scores have plummeted since 2019, and the pandemic has made the situation worse, according to a report by a human rights index published on Thursday. The Human Rights Measurement Initiative (HRMI) tracks human rights performances in a number of areas including the right to quality of life, safety from the state, and empowerment rights."
'HK's Apple Daily owner Lai punished for exercising fundamental rights-UN's Bachelet'
Reuters 24 June 2021
U.N. human rights chief Michelle Bachelet took aim on Thursday at the "negative consequences" she said Apple Daily owner Jimmy Lai faced for exercising his rights, criticising the tycoon's detention as his pro-democracy tabloid printed its last edition.
[The word 'tabloid' is being widely used against Apple Daily, is unfairly judgemental and plays into the CCP narrative-WTPOHK Editor]
'Property Rights Are Human Rights'
Institute of Public Affairs 10 May 2015
"In 1959, economist, historian and political theorist Dr Murray Rothbard argued that ‘property rights, far from being in conflict, are in fact the most basic of all human rights … and from this right stems his right to the material goods that he has produced’."
'HK National Security Law requirement: The 'Johannesburg Principles''
WTPOHK 9 January 2021
"Hong Kong's (HK) Security Bureau in March 2003 acknowledged the need for national security legislation to be consistent with the 'Johannesburg Principles' : Example "Principle 1: Freedom of Opinion, Expression and Information;
(a) Everyone has the right to hold opinions without interference.
(b) Everyone has the right to freedom of expression, which includes the freedom to seek, receive and impart information and ideas of all kinds, regardless of frontiers, either orally, in writing or in print, in the form of art, or through any other media of his or her choice.
(c) The exercise of the rights provided for in paragraph (b) may be subject to restrictions on specific grounds, as established in international law, including for the protection of national security.
(d) No restriction on freedom of expression or information on the ground of national security may be imposed unless the government can demonstrate that the restriction is prescribed by law and is necessary in a democratic society to protect a legitimate national security interest. The burden of demonstrating the validity of the restriction rests with the government."
HK Security Bureau, whatever has happened to your 2003 commitment?
'Hong Kong's Apple Daily yields to 'inevitable fate''
Nikkei Asia 24 June 2021 By Michelle Chan, Nikkei staff writer.
"If there is no evil, no right or wrong, there will be no news," [Jimmy] Lai said in the paper's first edition. In early TV commercials, Lai bit an apple behind the memorable slogan, "An apple a day keeps the liars away."
'Apple Daily’s Warning to the Business World'
National Review 24 June 2021
"Two members of the Next Digital board have a warning, after the Hong Kong government forced the company to shutter the outspoken, pro-democracy Apple Daily, one of its main holdings. They write in the Wall Street Journal today:
The way the authorities undermined the functioning of equity markets, property rights and contracts is a warning for other companies that are publicly traded in Hong Kong or simply doing business there. . . . Hong Kong’s Basic Law, the miniconstitution that governs the territory, promises that “Hong Kong residents shall have freedom of speech, of the press and of publication” and that no Hong Kong resident “shall be subjected to arbitrary or unlawful arrest, detention or imprisonment.” This story of what happened to Apple Daily is only partly about undermining the free press. It’s more broadly a warning of what can happen to any company operating in Hong Kong that the authorities claim committed some offense under the vague terms of the National Security Law….
There is sad irony in what happened to Apple Daily. Hong Kong was transformed from a barren rock to a world business and financial center by immigrants from mainland China, such as Mr. Lai, who flourished under the rule of law developed when Hong Kong was a British colony. The free flow of information enabled prosperity and broad freedom. Now, Hong Kong shares and bank accounts can be frozen on the order of a single official, destroying private enterprise as well as freedom.
If you are mainland Chinese and a CCP member then HK is your Shangri-La, complete with your own police force to protect your interests, Court and prison for your enemies. Should you need to launder your funds or raise more funds, then your banks and stock exchanges in HK will comply because you are the rule BY law that governs HK!
If you are a business enterprise of any size from the democratic world, or a HK pro-democratic business, rather than being served, you are on the menu!
CCP motto : My property is mine, and your property is also mine!
Pepe and Jeremiah B.
WTPOHK blogs to read and share:
There's no denying the elephant in the room
HK is in the wrong geopolitical 'bubble' to enjoy stability and prosperity
HK's Court of Public Opinion
Paradigm shift : Inter-dependency means the end of patriarchy
An Emperor may command his people - but the people are moved by their souls
Hong Kong police officers perform a new goose-stepping march, the same style used by police and troops on the Chinese mainland, during National Security Education Day April 2021. (Anthony Wallace/AFP/Getty Images). Washington Post (see references below).
HKFP 6 May 2021 'Security law: Hong Kong police cordon off pro-democracy clothing store two days after opening'
Amnesty International 17 July 2020 'Hong Kong’s national security law: 10 things you need to know'
Washington Post 20 April 2021 'Beijing won total control over Hong Kong. Now, the ‘brainwashing’ begins'