The South China Morning Post sits down for a friendly chat with Anthony Neoh. The venerable establishment lawyer has just been appointed head of the Independent Police Complaints Council – but there is no mention of public-police relations.
However, we do get some interesting quotes on the possibility of Beijing ‘interpreting’ the Basic Law to override judicial reviews against the transfer of Hong Kong territory to mainland jurisdiction under the high-speed rail station co-location arrangement.
‘Interpretation’ of the city’s mini-constitution, formally by the National People’s Congress Standing Committee, is a way to instantly rewrite the law to suit the Chinese Communist Party. It was last used two years ago to pre-empt a court case on local legislators’ oath-taking – magically creating a new and retroactive law.
To the CCP, laws do not exist to protect the people from the government but vice-versa. After paying the document lip-service since 1997, Beijing is now openly contemptuous of the idea that the Basic Law can be a constraint on its own power over Hong Kong.
Neoh’s comments are diplomatic and he expresses optimism that whatever is happening will not affect Hong Kong as a business centre. But he is implicitly uncomfortable with the ‘interpretation’ mechanism (it ‘stirs up doubts and speculation’) and with the rail station precedent itself (‘where does this end?’).
By contrast, senior government officials would never suggest that ‘interpretation’ or co-location might possibly to some extent be undesirable. And Beijing’s most avid loyalists would loudly insist that they are wonderful. Neoh’s position is about as edgy and skeptical as an establishment insider can safely be in public. For now.
On other matters – a small victory in the battle against pointless pixilation. While the Standard obscures the face of a ‘sex monster pastor’, the SCMP doesn’t…
Both papers identify him. Is it necessary to semi-protect his appearance this way when the guy has admitted his wrongdoings? I suppose sympathizers of such people might argue he deserves a break for being man enough to fess up. Or you might want to spare his poor family extra humiliation. Thinking positively, it might be a good opportunity for the Brotherly Love Swatow Baptist Church to get a new name.
“To the Chinese Communist Party, laws do not exist to protect the people from the government but vice-versa. After paying the document lip-service since 1997, Beijing is now openly contemptuous of the idea that the Basic Law can be a constraint on its own power over Hong Kong.”
A perfect summary of the special kind of tyrannical hell into which Hong Kong has entered.
Watching the sun set, little by little, on Asia’s greatest city.
Maybe the Standard’s photo editor is Japanese?
If you want to see a special kind of tyrannical hell into which a once great country has entered, go and pay a visit to the US. The so-called President has just proposed to do away with due process. These days they also have tent camps for babies, toddlers and children that have been separated from their parents. Let’s think of a snappy name for those ‘camps’. How about ‘Trumpwitsch-Birkenau’ ?
@Joe : Misplaced whattaboutism with a godwin point embedded. 8/8
Trump is calling the media “the enemy of the people”. I wonder what HK’s No. 1 Trump fan, Mark Simon, of Apple Daily/ Next Media, thinks of that ?
@Joe Blow – or, indeed, Peter Guy