Wednesday’s list of Signs the CCP is Turning Your City Into a Police State…
Yesterday morning, Baptist University student union leader Keith Fong was arrested in connection with various inane offenses relating to laser pointers. Over 20 cops turned up at his home. (How big is his apartment?)
More inane offenses yesterday afternoon, when Joshua Wong, Agnes Chow and Ivan Lam were sentenced for ‘unauthorized assembly’ and incitement. The magistrate handed out prison sentences of seven to 13 months, along with some tough law-and-order/deterrence language.
Looks like a determined balancing act by a magistrate who knows the charges are borderline absurd, but also knows her career is at stake if she doesn’t put people behind bars. The three were bit-players in the protest, but to the CCP – obsessed with getting certain individuals in prison – the sentences probably seem too light.
This attracts considerable overseas attention. Behold the mass ranks of Agnes’s Japanese fans in anger.
And yesterday evening, Jimmy Lai and two of his managers were detained on charges of ‘fraud’. A flimsy thing about breaking lease conditions at Next Media’s Tseung Kwan O industrial estate premises, plus the recurrent theme of Beijing’s obsession with jailing prominent figures.
Also yesterday evening, pan-dem lawmaker Ted Hui’s parents, wife and children left Hong Kong, after Hui himself made a trip to Denmark. Looks like a one-way ticket.
A designated NatSec judge is to decide whether the sedition trial of People Power’s Tam Tak-chi should be heard by a NatSec judge, even though the pro-democracy activist has not been charged under the new legislation. (See Prof Simon Young’s comments below*** on why he doesn’t have to be.) The move was requested by the government, and the non-NatSec judge didn’t want to make the decision himself. The new parallel NatSec-authorized courts will of course obey CCP orders, because why else would they have been created?
More details about how Better-Red-Than-Expert managers at i-Cable tried to interfere with Mainland-related news stories.
Where the NatSec Regime is concerned, vindictiveness can be so petty it’s almost microscopic: the Correctional Services Dept is thinking of forcing female prisoners to have their hair cut when entering prison. This follows a court ruling that cutting only men’s hair broke anti-discrimination laws – and obviously officials can’t let Long Hair, who brought the case, win. (Actually an important point of principle for the CCP: an enemy of the regime must not be allowed to dictate government policy.)
***Interesting summary of Prof Simon Young’s discussion on the NatSec Law at the US Asia Law Institute forum.
From AFP, a timechart of repression in Hong Kong since the NatSec Law came into force (the ink’s not yet dry, but the graphic already needs updating).
And the cool, calm, unflappable, measured and moderate Hong Kong government takes a break from wetting itself about haircuts for prisoners and issues an epic 1,614-word press release whining about an Interfering-in-Internal-Affairs statement by the US-China Economic and Security Review Commission.