The dead-of–night arrest of pro-dem District Councillor Cheng Lai-king for resending a Facebook post looks like vindictiveness on the part of Asia’s Bitterest. But the possibility that the cops will try to charge her with ‘seditious intent’ suggests a more sinister and calculated step in the long march to Mainlandization. Good commentary on this here and here.
As you might gather from the wording…
…the ‘seditious intent’ law is a tad out of date. It is one of the old and (we were told in 2003) no longer usable offences that would have been modernized and absorbed into the National Security Law required under Article 23.
Some of the more odious among the pro-Beijing crowd have of course been calling for work on an Article 23 law to be speeded up. However, the Article 23 brand is toxic, and after the Extradition Bill fiasco and the 2019 uprising the government would have to be insane to exhume the thing. Then again, to Hong Kong’s new knuckle-draggers in the HK and Macau Affairs/Liaison Office, it might be insane not to.
Alternatively, Beijing could issue imperial edicts – Basic Law ‘interpretations’ – to conjure into being whatever new meanings to existing laws it wishes. The next Chief Justice is reputedly laid back (or maybe just fatalistic) about this rule-by-law device.
Not the first late-night knock on an opposition politician’s door, of course. Certainly not the last.
(More here on the cops’ duplicitous communications on this case, which even by current standards seems to stink.)