The Jimmy: shackles of conscience become reality
There's something very telling about why the Hong Kong (HK) government and its enforcers the HK Police force and the Department of Justice feel the need to treat Jimmy Lai the way they have done this past week. The particular offences against human decency include chaining this 73year old man who has NEVER shown any signs of resisting arrest, or an inclination to leave Hong Kong permanently. There's also the unparalleled gesture of moving Mr Lai who is yet to appear in court, let alone receive a sentence, out of customary remand holding cells at Lai Chi Kok Reception Centre and into a high security prison instead. At this stage it's too early to say what the ripple effect of such draconian measures will be.
Lai Chi Kok Reception Centre is a kind of hell hole, which holds people on remand (i.e. without bail waiting for Court hearing), and for many years it has been overcrowded so some people on remand have been moved to Stanley Prison.
1. Jimmy Lai, from media reports, is a UK national holding a British Passport.
Similarly so was Lee Bo, one of the 5 Causeway Bay Bookshop employees who was kidnapped in HK by mainland security only to resurface in arbitrary detention in China.
CCP has consistently said that anyone who they consider to be ethnic Chinese they treat as a citizen of China, inspite of being a citizen of another country. This is wrong. Why haven't leading democracies stood up against CCP on this?
Why is it that the UK government is not voicing out more loudly, demanding that Jimmy Lai as a UK citizen must be released from his arbitrary incarcertion which is not according to the Joint Declaration nor HK's common law? It is time for the UK to up its play if it wants to stay in the game!
2. Why hasn't Jimmy Lai been given bail? Under common law Jimmy Lai is innocent until proven guilt therefore he should be given bail. The fact he has not been given bail means that HK's common law may not used - his case will likely prove that HK's rule OF law is dead and HK is now under CCP's rule BY law!
CCP never does anything unless it is 100% sure it will win - Emperor Xi Jinping can not lose 'face'! Because he has not been given bail this indicates that CCP will not let Jimmy Lai be tried under common law.
3. What is a reasonable, realistic and achievable as the 'democratic alliance' (i.e. 5 eyes + EU) response to the arbitrary arrest, incarceration and trial under clearly fabricated charges of Jimmy Lai or any HKer or visitor to HK?
Polite diplomacy does not work with CCP - they are Chinese triad gangsters who have killed at least 77 million of their own citizens since 1949!
CCP must be shown that the cost is too high for them to continue to oppress HK and the world!
4. America : the CCP today is your problem that YOU created - SOLVE IT!
Last week US State Department equated HK to China by suggesting that all US citizens are basically on their own in China and HK.
However, this does NOT meet the criteria of US government support for what a US citizen paying taxes expects from their government! There are undoubtedly numerous US investors, businesses and individuals still in contract with someone in HK - a contract that may no longer holdup based on HK no longer having the rule OF law!
US politicians from Nixon through Obama have conveniently looked the other way on democracy and human rights in China, Tibet, Xinjiang and HK while US businesses have reaped financial rewards: unashamedly CCP are the (wealthy) wardens of the world's largest sweatshop! US politicians are complicit in taking CCP under its wing into WTO and other international bodies while it was unqualified. SOLVE IT!
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The following opinion piece was published in Apple Daily 12 December 2020. It was written by pro-democrat Margaret Ng Ngoi-yee who is a barrister, writer and columnist in HK. She was a member of the Legislative Council of HK in 1995-1997 and 1998-2012.
The Jimmy Lai effect
International political figures spoke out in protest against the suppression of Jimmy Lai and demanded that the Hong Kong government release him immediately. However, the Secretary for Justice (SJ) Teresa Cheng countered by expressing her astonishment as to the lack of respect for the courts and judicial procedures. In fact, it is the SJ who does not respect the courts and judicial procedures, using the court as a tool for political persecution. U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said earlier that using the courts to eliminate dissent is a classic act of tyranny. A society that has been internationally renowned for its rule of law for a hundred years has degenerated into a zone of tyranny. Who do you think is more shocked?
Fortunately, the rule of law in the SAR has not completely disappeared, and the court proceedings are still open and accessible to the public and to the media. The prosecution still has to put forward the basis for prosecuting Jimmy Lai with “collusion with foreign or foreign forces to endanger national security.” The media, which has not been completely silenced, is still able to report it. The more than ten pages of “incriminating evidence” are, in a nutshell, comments made by Jimmy Lai criticizing the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) and the SAR government, opposing the policies and actions of the Central Government and the SAR government that deprive Hong Kong people of their freedom, and arguing that international organizations and individuals should put pressure on the Central Government and SAR officials to stop such measures. The so-called “collusion” is a normal mode of communication and universal and normal advocacy that has become a felony of “endangering national security.” What is the rationale? Under the international human rights conventions, governments of various countries are obliged to submit reports, and civil society organizations are bound to submit reports on government actions that violate human rights and to demand pressure from human rights agencies. This internationally valued monitoring has now become “collusion” and will NGOs have to be locked up as well? It would be strange if the international community was not shocked.
According to the charge sheet, Jimmy Lai’s relevant actions do not fall outside the scope of freedom of speech, which is constitutionally protected under Article 39 of the Basic Law. Under Article 4 of the National Security Law, the rights and freedoms, including the freedoms of speech, which Hong Kong people enjoy under the Basic Law shall be protected in accordance with the law. Legal scholar Fu Hualing already expressed his opinion in early July that the National Security Law cannot override the Basic Law. Then how can Jimmy Lai be convicted? How can the DoJ prosecute people without evidence? Should the court imprison the prosecution before trial when the evidence is weak?
Of course, the above words are “pointless” to say, but they must be said. Remember that on July 4, the fourth day after the National Security Law came into effect, Chinese human rights lawyer Chen Jiangang who is in exile in the U.S. was interviewed by the Hong Kong media. He warned us not to rely on our past habits of analyzing provisions and studying cases to arrive at the scope of the law that we would be safe as long as we did not do anything prohibited by the law. “I’m telling you, it can’t be done!” He earnestly advised that the Hong Kong version of the national security law is no different from the mainland’s version. Not only can a person be incriminated on the basis of his or her words, but even those who think they are in accordance with the law may be convicted. The Jimmy Lai incident completely validated his statement.
However, Professor Johannes Chan Man-mun said that “collusion” cannot be interpreted as normal communication. Is he “too simple, sometimes naive”? I do not think so. As long as the legal profession exists, the courts will be asked to use the common law to interpret the National Security Law and regulate its boundless “powerful” provisions within the human rights laws guaranteed by the Basic Law. We may not be able to save Jimmy Lai, but it will show how justice under the law is being compromised. Jimmy Lai does not need to be rescued as he has his mission. The regime thought that the torture of such a well-known person would “serve as a warning to other people,” but in fact it has just the opposite effect. The world may not know what happened in Hong Kong if they “take down” a hundred unknown persons, but to wrong one Jimmy Lai, the whole world will know without any “collusion.”
Click here for Chinese version
A sampling of relevant news stories:
Hong Kong court denies bail to Jimmy Lai over fraud charges
Hong Kong Media Tycoon Jimmy Lai Charged Under National Security Law
Security law judge to handle Jimmy Lai case
Hong Kong's Jimmy Lai denied bail as Pompeo tweets support
Hong Kong: Jimmy Lai Denied Bail Under Draconian Law, Pompeo Quick to Offer Help,
Please read our other blogs on the Hong Kong crisis: