Struck by Carrie Lam’s incomprehensible blathering in its support, Jerome Cohen concludes that Hong Kong’s National Security law is being drafted in a rush. Maybe it will be delayed. Maybe it will be a mess. Maybe both!
One glimpse of detail emerges today, as Security Secretary John Lee suggests that the law could target local figures if they say the wrong thing when meeting overseas politicians. This sounds ridiculously banana-republic. Use some words – outside Hong Kong – and you’ll be fine; use others and you’re under arrest? What if you say the words to a Washington DC cab driver rather than a Congressman?
Curiously, Lee seems particularly miffed that government opponents have been able to get face-time with foreign politicians whom our own officials can’t get to see. If we pointed out that – unlike members of the Hong Kong administration – some of these activists have actually won elections, would that make him feel better?
The Bar Association head says that if Beijing exercises jurisdiction over national-security cases it’s tantamount to extradition – except the Mainland comes to you rather than vice-versa.
The Justice Secretary considers barring private prosecutions if they are based on improper motives – otherwise known as ‘holding the police to account’.
Over in the Creepiness Department, the Education Bureau is asking schools to report on how they will rectify deviant-thinking students’ attitudes and put them on the path to virtue and positive values.
And the hounding of Next Media’s Jimmy Lai continues with a police raid on a secretarial services company suspected of business-licence and other desperate-sounding infringements.
Meanwhile, Beijing goes on making friends and influencing people – with its troops getting into a deadly scrap with Indian soldiers up in the Himalayas. For an idea of the extreme harshness of this territory, read this in the (aptly named) War on the Rocks.
There are two explanations for the CCP’s ever-increasing obnoxiousness. One is that Xi Jinping is seriously unaware of external reality and believes the rest of the world is so preoccupied with Covid and riots that China right now can grab grab grab with zero future consequences. The other is that Xi knows something we don’t about China’s economic state or internal power-struggles, and feels he needs overseas conflicts as a distraction.
In today’s Vindication by Gwailo – China Daily manages to find a French wine maker who says of the National Security law for Hong Kong, mais c’est formidable!