So much going on – including another setback in the Hong Kong government’s tantalizing efforts to hire a PR agency, and a US hedge fund’s audacious/wacko/worth-a-punt plan to topple the Hong Kong Dollar. But first, a wrap-up of the weekend’s Mainlandizing.
The Security Secretary announces that Hong Kong will have some sort of home-grown secret police. Members of the new national-security unit will have to pass loyalty tests, and confidentiality will be necessary because their targets could be ‘very smart people, maybe specialists’.
If that’s not unfathomable enough for you, the Justice Secretary tells us that it would be impractical for the National Security law to be totally compatible with the Common Law system. Her full (hastily translated) blog post is here.
Reassurances that the Civil Law system offers the same protections as Common Law (presumption of innocence, etc) would be fine if we were talking about legislation emanating from France or Germany. But this is Mainland ‘Civil Law’, with Leninist characteristics: the law serves the government by restraining the people, not vice-versa.
The lack of a sunset clause is hardly surprising: the CCP doesn’t relinquish power after grabbing it.
But is she implying a parallel court system? We don’t know.
Genial old pro-CCP think-tank guy Lau Siu-kai says Beijing will not allow pro-democrats to win a majority of seats in September’s LegCo election. ‘You can only vote if you choose the candidates we want.’ What, you may ask, is the point of having an election? It’s not as if LegCo has much power anyway – but to Beijing it’s as scary as a bunch of schoolgirls singing the wrong song.
Jerome Cohen expects Beijing to use National Security laws to target Hongkongers who ‘support’ (which could mean anything) organizations banned on the Mainland. In The Wire China, Victor Shih foresees trouble for Hong Kong as a financial hub as the CCP finds it can’t stop itself from freezing funds and pressuring courts on ‘national security’ grounds (you can see this coming). And the Diplomat looks at the impact on tech companies, privacy and cybersecurity.
At HKFP, Jean-François Dupré sees the National Security law as primarily a way to absorb Hong Kong’s constitution into that of China…
By bringing issues of national security into Hong Kong’s constitutional arena, the regime is using the NSL as a Trojan Horse to bring the Basic Law closer in line with the Chinese constitution—especially in its embodiment of authoritarianism.
From China Digital Times, a translation of comments by a former Central Party School academic – no longer in China (no kidding) – calling for Xi Jinping to step down and censorship and political arrests to be reduced, as a start. The CCP, she says…
…is no longer a political party, and hasn’t been one for a long time. It is just a tool in the hands of a mafia boss.
Calvin Coolidge thought that “four-fifths of all our troubles would disappear, if we would only sit down and keep still.” If Beijing and the local puppets can manage that for a day or two, we will get on to the highly amusing PR agency fiasco and the supposed attack on the Hong Kong Dollar.