A tempting idea

Hong Kong is considering an extradition agreement with the Mainland. It is one of those slightly bewildering ‘One Country Two Systems’ anomalies that, 20 years after the return to the motherland, the city still has no legal mechanism to send criminals over the border, while transfers to and from Western and other countries are no problem.

Opposition lawmakers are concerned that an agreement would result in political dissidents being handed over to China’s public-security gestapo. However, under the current system, Chinese agents abduct you, drug you and put you on a speedboat at the dead of night, so formal extradition via a court hearing might be an improvement (assuming the Communist Party kidnap squads entered the spirit of the new legislation and did things by the book, ho hum).

Another worry is that decent, rule-of-law, civilized jurisdictions might become nervous about sending a suspect to Hong Kong lest he is passed on to the Mainland.

So we are understandably nervous about this idea. Until the South China Morning Post report mentions a juicy possibility that might make you change your mind. The extradition proposal also includes Macau. Macau, of course, wants property tycoon Joseph Lau (having sentenced him to prison in absentia for corruption). Mmmm… It suddenly sounds rather enticing*.

(Just as we must use ‘boundary’ instead of ‘border’, to avoid subliminal impure thoughts of nationhood, we are supposed to say ‘rendition’ instead of ‘extradition’. Or at least we were. Or has ‘rendition’ become too uncool?)

*Small print might in fact preclude transfer in his particular case, before you get too excited.

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3 Responses to A tempting idea

  1. old git says:

    Well call me Dame Edna, call me pedantic and call me a misguided missile, but I was under the impression that in English, “rendition” refers to return of fugitives who been and gone awol cross-border, in other words and in plain English, done a bunk. In yet other words, convicting someone “in absentia” (itself a bogus civil law trial concept) can never ground “rendition”. A request for extradition relies on a pre-trial allegation of an offence. Extraordinary rendition is kidnapping, pure and simple. Hope the Govt is clear, now.

  2. @old git – Oxford’s online dictionary gives one definition of rendition as: “(especially in the US) the practice of sending a foreign criminal or terrorist suspect covertly to be interrogated in a country with less rigorous regulations for the humane treatment of prisoners.” In today’s world, this is sadly no longer so extraordinary.

  3. Chinese Netizen says:

    @Old Newcomer: American Rendition Exceptionalism?

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