HK’s thought crimes

Thunder, lightning, darkness and torrential rain provide a suitably tempestuous backdrop today for Hong Kong’s latest apocalyptic battle: should (or can) people be rounded up for expressing forbidden opinions?

Beijing legal expert, Wang Zhenmin, doesn’t rule it out. He thinks the young radicals calling (more or less) for Hong Kong independence could be prosecuted under long-disused colonial-era legislation on sedition and treason. (Nice to see Wang agreeing with militant youths RTHK-ArrestNatthat the city was better under the Brits!) The laws are still on the books – and their equivalents are still used by the despots who now run Singapore and Malaysia.

Pro-Beijing lawyer Alan Hoo goes further and demands that the government arrests Demosisto and HK National Party members, right now. On the radio this morning he sounded downright angry with Justice Secretary Rimsky Yuen and Co for sitting around and doing nothing.

An alternative view comes from Judge Kemal Bokhary and one Lord Pannick QC, who oppose the banning of political ideas. The South China Morning Post’s comments section includes responses along the lines of ‘Go back to Pakistan/UK’. But pro-dem lawyer Margaret Ng (in the NYT article) is fairly adamant that newer human rights laws would override the old treason/sedition legislation.

Hong Kong officials like Rimsky are keeping their heads down. They have suggested that calls for independence ‘go against’ the Basic Law, hoping we mistakenly interpret the phrase to mean anything more than ‘disagree with’. They know that Margaret Ng is correct, and the courts would throw out any attempt to prosecute someone for expressing their opinions.

That would not be the end of the matter. To Wang Zhenmin and the Chinese leadership in general, national security indisputably overrides anything and anyone, including a Special Administrative Region’s toy laws and courts. (Hence the snatching of Lee Bo and the other book-sellers, whose forthcoming publication presumably threatened Xi Jinping’s image, thus state stability, thus the party’s power – all ‘national security’.)

As it is, Beijing can hardly let things rest. The HK National Party is turning up the trolling by using the word ‘revolutionary’, which is waaaay too close to home for a Communist Party that overthrew the evil oppressors of the people and has now gone on to become a corrupt tyranny in finest Qing/KMT tradition. Chinese officials, with no subtlety or sense of humour, have no option but to freak out about such apparent challenges to one-party rule. Hongkongers will react by baiting their regime and its ideology yet more.

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22 Responses to HK’s thought crimes

  1. At last the progressives in Hong Kong are learning to deal wi the Peking reptiles. Rattle their cages or at least poke them with a shitty stick.

    Peking Man is frightened. Ask for independence and you get real democracy. Or at least a worthy martyr’s imprisonment.

    I hope they inter the separatists. Soho looks all right for a camp. It’s a ghetto already, right?

    Go on..put a few Hong Kong colonial flags in your masthead. Every little helps.

    Agitate, infiltrate, demonstrate. It s orthodox communist tactics.

  2. Qian Jin says:

    @”The laws are still on the books – and their equivalents are still used by the despots who now run Singapore and Malaysia”
    I see you make no mention of the “despots” who run Britain and who don’t even bother with prosecuting people they do not like. Prime Minister Cameron just requests the U.S special forces add their names to their drone “Kill List” . No judicial examination of the evidence against the targeted victims, just the word of dodgy paid informers working for MI5 or MI6 is enough for your lot to be called.
    After a few weeks lying low, I thought it time to make a return appearance in your comments columns to boost your ‘hits’ ratings, which had been drifting a bit recently. My comments usually stir up a teeny-weeny bit of (all too predictable ) excitement among your pro-Dem trolls.

  3. Headache says:

    Ah QJ, lifting your face from betwixt your authoritarian masters’ buttocks for just long enough to sing out the wumao refrain (“what about evil western country!”) before resuming the position. Are you dividing your time between Big Lychee and SCMP comments these days?

  4. LRE says:

    “To Wang Zhenmin and the Chinese leadership in general, national security indisputably overrides anything and anyone in Type 59 Tanks and Type 63 APCs.”

    Fixed it for you, Hemmers!

  5. Chopped Onions says:

    Alan Hoo is also a Queen’s Counsel, a status, conferred by the Crown,( but ” as Hong Kong severed ties with the United Kingdom in 1997, barristers are no longer appointed Queen’s Counsel (QC), but as Senior Counsel (SC). Those appointed before the change were renamed Senior Counsel)” but still uses both titles on his website and facebook page.
    He has extensive business interests on the mainland including property in Sanya and a vineyard near Peking and so one can only conclude that hes a two faced opportunistic turncoat who’s desperately trying to protect his arse. His trouble is he’s currently using it to talk with.

  6. Red Dragon says:

    Welcome back, QJ.

    Another characteristically tongue-in-cheek ejaculation from your sparkling pen.

    Don’t worry too much about lying low; nobody cares, and few notice when you do.

    Keep up the good work, old fruit.

  7. Knownot says:

    A member of the mainland’s top advisory body, Alan Hoo, on Tuesday called on the Hong Kong government to immediately arrest members of newly-formed political parties … they have already exceeded free speech …

    RTHK 12 April
    _ _ _ _ _ _

    Every night I sit here by my window
    Dreaming of the Harbour and the Peak
    Watching lovers holding hands and laughing
    And thinking of the words they cannot speak.

    Thinking of words – like referendum
    Words – that mean pudendum
    Words – for male erection
    What about a free election?
    Words – for penetration
    Words – like Hong Kong nation
    Thinking ‘bout the words they cannot say.

    Fantasies are all I have to cling to
    And headaches are the only things today
    If I’m not thinking of all the things I’m missing
    I’m thinking ‘bout the words they cannot say.

    with acknowledgement to ‘Things’ by Bobby Darin

  8. Qian Jin

    You’re not boring… but don’t go on about it.

  9. Feilo says:

    defining Wang Zhenming as a legal expert does a disservice to all the proper ones. Asshole surfer would be a more accurate classification, reflecting the backwardness of mainland legal panorama.

  10. Monkey the Unborn says:

    Best Case and Hopeful Predictions:

    1) HKNP or other other indigenous movements start to go after Communist ideology in a serious way that threatens the party-state’s national legitimacy, creating and propagating authentic, humorous, and humanistic viral digital memes, and this material starts to leak through the great firewall. They do this already with videos and material about the current state of affairs in Hong Kong, targeting Hong Kong society. However, some bright spark is going to start making posters about the cultural revolution, tian an men, or the great leap forward. Something like “1959 – 1962 – CCP kills 60 million Chinese because of corruption and mismanagement. No acknowledgement yet. Where is our truth? Where are our constitutional rights and protections? Love China, demand constitutionalism and political rights” … in simplified characters, propagating through the international Chinese community and leaking into mainland China through various channels.

    2) The CCP leadership team in Beijing, after vomiting violent, angry anti-splittist reactions through its various united front orifices, realises it is in the germinating phase of what could blossom and transform into a serious existential crisis, and that its options are: a) implement direct rule in Hong Kong in order to enforce Communist ideology in the usual way (hello drinking tea and forced abductions); b) put the issue of universal suffrage and political back on the table to bleed some steam from the pressure cooker.

    3) The CCP team in Beijing will correctly recognise that a) is a tremendously high risk strategy that would throw its entire mendacious venal structure of power into chaos … not so much because of the geopolitical and big corporate implications (sluts to Chinese market access that they are), but because with lines of authority within the CCP terminating in people and personal networks and cliques instead of institutional roles, whoever controls Hong Kong’s administration will immediately have a complete blackmail file on everybody else in the party who has been cleaning money here (i.e. basically everybody at senior levels in the party). Moreover, with direct administrative rule, the assets of all party members in Hong Kong in shelf companies can be sequestered or confiscated by the arm of the state running Hong Kong.

    So yeah not going to happen with the current structures of power in place (everyone at a senior level in the party will fight tooth and nail to avoid allowing Hong Kong to be directly administered by another faction or clique). Might be a possibility during a period of military rule after a coup or as a result violent political transformation in the mainland, but such changes would be driven by anti-corruption purges and investigations in the mainland instead of the Hong Kong youf vs. CCP dynamics.

    c) Suddenly the Hong Kong Gov announces a new political reform white paper, consultation etc etc. The CCP has no intention to allow universal suffrage, but figures that entering discussions will at least buy some time as well take away some of the moderate and mainstream support from anti-party actors.

    d) Hong Kong indigenous groups realise this concession for the strategic victory it is, put the offensive on hold, and adopt a wait and see attitude. They turn their attention to monitoring and civil watchdogging the Hong Kong gov on a wide range of local issues. Legco becomes a hotbed of truth speaking, youthful energy, and intelligent, thoughtful, insightful deconstructions of the Hong Kong united front actors speech, action and objectives. Localists use their public roles in Legco to amplify their messages, investigate the government, and consistently hold it to account, and grass-roots support starts to grow around the territory. However this phenomenon is contained within the Hong Kong media realm and tolerated by the CCP as long as it is out of the international news.

    e) Over the course of 5 years CCP delays, obfuscates, and tries to sabotage the political reform process (again). At the same time, the ending of the reign of Xi Jinping results in a political crisis in the CCP where the usually hidden conflicts in the corridors of power reveal themselves to the Chinese people. The military starts to make noises about politics, and civil war becomes a serious possibility until in the end Xi accedes to widespread pressure inside and outside the party and resigns his positions.

    f) The civilian Communist hierarchy comes to the realisation that the only way they can prevent another Mao or a military coup due to power transition crises is to commence political reform, so that they can control and guide the process in their own interests, and thereby set up a system that allows all the different factions to co-exist, without any gaining overarching, long-term, institutional power (PR list party system with a low minimum threshold, for example, within a confederal or federal structure). Basically their idea will be to create a kind of massive meta version of Singapore, in the mainland, with the political and economic elite able to use legal mechanisms to silence opponents and dissidents and control the media in a pseudo – democractic system; a pliant professional class who is basically bribed to go along with the system; a suffering underclass of docile peasants and workers.

    They secretly decide to use Hong Kong as trial balloon.

    g) Hong Kong youfs, now in their late thirties and working in middle and senior management, decide to seize the opportunity, and go to the streets for Occupy 2.0 with their families and colleagues … and thus what is now “respectable” Hong Kong comes out and speaks with a united voice.

    h) Hong Kong’s political transition to representative democracy (or even, if people are smart enough, a hybrid direct/representative system) leads to an almost universal demand in China for multi-party politics and constitutionalism. It becomes a tacit understanding of the CCP – masses relationship that the mission of the CCP is to transition China into a free, secure, and economically prosperous society, with the rights of all citizens protected by the constitution.

    Political reform becomes the hot button topic in China in the media and in society. Under public pressure, the CCP agrees to disband at the conclusion of the reform process, and create numerous new political parties that correspond to its different cliques and factions.

    China becomes a beacon of peace, freedom, transparency and accountability, lean governance, and a champion of the fundamental human rights of all mankind within our lifetime.

  11. Joe Blow says:

    Isn’t Alan Hoo the guy who kicked his own mother out of her home ? Just the sort you would invite to an intimate dinner pahtee.

    @Knownot: with acknowledgement to ‘La Mer’ by a French dude (Charles Trenet ?).

  12. Chopped Onions says:

    JB, yes but that was a “misunderstanding”

  13. Chinese Netizen says:

    @Monkey: you imply Emperor Xi will voluntarily give up his office after his terms?

  14. Mary Melville says:

    I am very surprised that the murder of a gweilo across the border, allegedly related to some property deal, has not instigated comment. Despite the fact that a missing person report was made to our police on March 24, it is only now that news of his demise has been revealed. Presumably he was carrying a HK ID and British passport. Even if documents were missing, he would have come up blank on PRC records but would have been recorded at the Lo Wu border crossing. His description would have matched particulars on the Hong Kong missing persons data had procedures been followed.

    Information note prepared by the Legislative Council Secretariat
    for the special meeting on 26 January 2016
    According to the Administration, since 1 January 2001, the Hong Kong
    Special Administrative Region (“HKSAR”) has, by way of an administrative
    arrangement and on the basis of mutual respect for the relevant laws of both
    sides, put in place a reciprocal notification mechanism with the Mainland in
    respect of cases involving unnatural deaths and imposition of criminal
    compulsory measures on residents from the other side, so that notification
    could be made as soon as practicable.

    This is a more serious matter than the Lee Bo affair in some respects as Mr. Lee is still alive.

    So what does this mean, that any free spirited singleton should draw up a will and advise Interpol, obviously no use in reporting at your district police station here, before departing for the border?

    There is then the deportation of Taiwanese citizens from Kenya to PRC. Surely that should send shivers down the spine of all Hong Kong SAR passport holders. They could also be considered to be Chinese nationals if they travel to some jurisdictions that support a particular interpretation of ‘the One China Policy’ and be transported to PRC on a misdemeanor charge.

    Forget about our governments red travel alerts, choosing a hassle free holiday destination has suddenly become a lot more complicated.

  15. So-called “legal experts” who don’t understand the difference between a criminal law and a constitutional law can hardly be taken seriously. It is not illegal to call for changes in Hong Kong’s constitution – at least until Article 23 legislation is passed.

  16. PD says:

    MtU, Many thanks for this logical and inspiring analysis that gradually becomes a self aware pipe dream, ironically and subtly exposing the incoherences in most of the present actors — certainly more cogent and less incestuous than much of the stuff we have to read.

    But… one problem is that few of the fundamentals have changed since, say, 1996. Even before the handover, truth-speakers were invariable squashed, sidelined or shamed. And the slightest forceful infraction led to public opprobrium, harassment and punishment.

    It’s like dog packs. When a dictatorial regime shows signs of compromise or flexibility, it is interpreted as a sign of weakness and is soon smothered, collectivised, watered down, sidelined and then abandoned. If a strong individual persists, she/he is acting against their own interests, and will be isolated. As a result, radical political change rarely grows from initial incrementalism.

    Leopards seldom change their spots. For a country to evolve decisively from feudal millennia, it has to be under the thumb of occupying or dominant outsiders. Poland or Japan mostly made the transition, but at what cost!

    Even if, by some miracle, China became a liberal democracy overnight, any Hong Kong Free State wouldn’t, I’m afraid, last a week.

  17. WTF says:

    Mary Melville:

    Best not go to the Philippines, where expats being murdered, particularly over shady schemes to dodge some legal restrictions on land/property ownership is so common place it’s no longer news worthy. The UK/US consular staff in Manila are snowed under with the work. Then there’s the Japanese caught dining upon British “model” only 7 years ago, and was given parole last year. As to the Taiwanese being exported to Beijing, isn’t it the EU, in particular Germany, that just struck a deal where Syrian Refuges (including Kurds) are being deported to Turkey/ISIL? I think the Kurds have a lot more to worry about than the Taiwanese. USA has drones not only kill whole wedding parties, but the rescue parties, even hospitals that the surviving children and women are sent to.

    Xi’s a shit, but relatively speaking does his shit stink that much more than Merkel’s or Obama?

  18. Qian Jin says:

    @Old Newcomer: “It is not illegal to call for changes in Hong Kong’s constitution – at least until Article 23 legislation is passed.”

    Then please pass this legislation soon. Its mandated within the Basic Law and Hong Kongers have reneged on their obligations therein.

  19. Chinese Netizen says:

    The wu mao force is strong today

  20. WTF says:

    Qian Jin (loive the pin yin, the translation could be rape, or shallow dork, fool’s gold, etc.) and Alan Hoo would be the first fellows shot under Mao or Stalin. By claiming the common citizens are failing to do their duty or pointing a finger at the students, the very proletariat that the party is suppose to admire and serve, they showing that the emperor is naked.

    My advise is to stay well away from them, as they will surely be culled when Xi is fully invested. Stay off that bike when you see dual plates cars, Qian Jin.

  21. Long Time Reader, Second Time Commenter says:

    Ah yes, it’s good to see @QJ back. Funny that he raised “kill lists” and drone strikes by the U.S./U.K. His mom must’ve let him out to go see “Eye in the Sky” by Gavin Hood, featuring Helen Mirren and Alan Richman, over his holidays. Most original thought, kiddo!

  22. @QJ – Hong Kongers have not “reneged on their obligations”, they have refused to accept an obligation imposed on them without their consent which would deprive them of their human right to express their opinions freely.

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