Weekend things we haven’t heard the last of

Following the New Year Purge, the US puts sanctions on pro-Beijing stalwart Tam Yiu-chung, three members of the NatSec Police, and a couple of Mainland officials overseeing Hong Kong. Reuters report here.

Tam has presumably been included because he is the only Hong Kong member of the NPC Standing Committee, which issues Beijing’s imperial edicts that override the Basic Law/local legislative process – notably the one imposing the NatSec Law. 

Tam is a veteran CCP loyalist who came through the local United Front hierarchy – thus more than a mere shoe-shiner from the tycoon/social-climber brigades. But he doesn’t have any input into serious high-level CCP decision-making. The Standing Committee, like the whole NPC, is just a rubber-stamp. He has also been a member of the CPPCC and the local Executive Councils – both essentially ceremonial ‘advisory’ bodies. 

So, unlike the cops and officials on the list, he does not hold actual executive authority or wield power. All he does is strut around obediently reciting the party line – as he has done on NatSec issues. In his zombie-like way, he is innocent. Unfazed Tam’s inclusion in the sanctions should worry other ‘heavyweights’, as the SCMP calls them.

It certainly worries someone. The HK government goes beyond whiny and bursts into some of its most brain-exploding freak-out ranting yet in its press statement, which starts with ‘insane, shameless and despicable’ and ends with ‘deplorable … totally illegitimate and violates established principles of international law’. The extreme ‘utmost’ ‘so-called’ panty-wetting – and the insistence that the sanctioned are ‘discharging an honourable duty’ – are presumably for the benefit of Tam and the NatSec cops as they adjust to life without personal bank accounts and credit cards. Apart from that, the CCP will take their continued slavishness for granted, and one day they will be of no further use.

The HK government rolls out its loyalty oath for civil servants. The pledge is brief and inoffensive enough to convince most – probably all – civil servants to sign and return it within a month. But it is also vague, and subject to NatSec Regime definitions of words like ‘allegiance’ and ‘obedience’. Tam Yiu-chung will be happy to explain more about what this means in practice to your freedom of expression and action. The days when civil servants could attend protests or sign petitions are over.

Bureaucrats will have more declarations to fill in if they have to state that they do not hold a BNO passport. The SCMP article mentions the UK’s policy of offering residency as ‘overreach’ in China’s view, but perhaps Beijing is the one trying too hard. Large numbers of Hongkongers – including many oh-so-loyal pro-Beijing folk – hold BNOs, Canadian or other passports, even though China does not recognize dual citizenship. Having to come clean about, or even sacrifice, their hard-earned overseas right-of-abode would be a serious test of their love for the CCP. 

The Law Gazette on the rights and wrongs of David Perry QC prosecuting people like Martin Lee and Jimmy Lai. Sympathizers argue that he must take on clients regardless of their ‘morality’ – as advocates have always done to ensure (say) heinous murderers do not go unrepresented. This sounds fair and noble when you are defending an individual. But does the principle apply if you are asked to prosecute on behalf of a repressive (foreign) state or thuggish regime trying to keep itself in power by assaulting citizens’ rights and freedoms? (Some learned comment here, and in the Guardian.)

(As commenters have pointed out, to get around the current ban on travellers from the UK, Perry would have to do 21 days in – say – Dubai, then another 21 days in quarantine here. So how will he make it for February 16?)

Unless something interesting happens during Hong Kong’s latest cold snap, I’ll probably be hibernating for a few days.

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21 Responses to Weekend things we haven’t heard the last of

  1. donkeybullocks says:

    Every time I read a Chinese response to curbs put on its fascist nationalist encroachment into global policy, I am left with the same response. I look at them saying that the moves are entirely against established norms of diplomacy and governance, and I just stare and blink. I can usually summon no words to describe my feelings. An utter numbness and apathy comes over me. Am I alone in experiencing this?

  2. Andrew Mountford says:

    @donkeybullocks

    As a friend said, ‘Don’t try to explain yourself to idiots, you’re not the fuckface whisperer’.

    We are dealing with people so unhinged, uninformed, so biased so incapable of critical thought or simply piss ignorant or downright evil its best not to piss in the wind but simply wait for them to implode.

  3. Cassowary says:

    @donkeybullocks: It reminds me of Donald Duck having a tantrum. Spitting, flailing, breaking the furniture.

  4. YTSL says:

    “Unless something interesting happens during Hong Kong’s latest cold snap, I’ll probably be hibernating for a few days.”

    Yikes, that’s like tempting fate, Hemlock!

    Re David Perry QC. He’s supposed to have such a sharp mind and yet… It’s like the Court of Final Appeal Judges and their accepting wholesale the government narrative on what happened in 2019-2020. Intellectually there but either morally wanting or just in an incredible bubble that makes it hard for them to understand the overall situation.

  5. Knownot says:

    ​I’m interested in the Barrister’s Dilemma. I have thought of two more things, which both harden the dilemma.

    One of the links suggests that Perry is thinking something like this:
    “I have always been treated and paid well in Hong Kong, and I would like to be treated and paid well again.”
    He might be thinking something a little different:
    “The Hong Kong Government have always treated me well. Now they have brought some prosecutions which may be difficult to win. They need my help. I owe them one, and I am willing to help.” A self-serving argument, but more honourable, and it may have at least some merit.

    In another link, we learn that the HK Bar Council tried to oblige the Government to give the case to a local barrister. What then? In the present highly-charged mood, he would have been, in some people’s opinion, forever tainted. If he had won, it would have been much worse. He would have been held guilty of aiding and abetting the erosion of HK’s Common Law and civil rights.

  6. Stanley Lieber says:

    @Knownot

    Perhaps David Perry QC is thinking, “Only a complete cunt would help the CCP prosecute citizens for expressing views that differ from those of the evil HK government, and I am that cunt.”

  7. Chef Wonton says:

    @Andrew Mountford

    As a friend said, ‘Don’t try to explain yourself to idiots, you’re not the fuckface whisperer’.

    Laughing loudly. Good one.

  8. Curious cynic. says:

    Know not, Stanley Leiber et al.

    As to David Perry my money is on Stanley’s explanation.

    From a little research.

    Perry effectively has no interests besides prosecuting. His declared interests are reading and gardening.

    He is admitted all over, but appears to have acted overseas only for governments, and largely so in England and Wales.

    If he believes in the cab rank there should be defence work in there.

    The cab rank officially has exemption by exempting overseas work.

    He is Roman Catholic, seemingly of the Carrie Lam, inquisition tendency rather than Marin Lee. I am not aware of the religious beliefs of the judge or our beloved Secretary for inJustice, but otherwise seems to be largely an RC show.

    He is clearly of the authoritarian tendency and a money grubber. Working for HKG on this case (and the NSL cases when they, as they will) must be very bliss, for an authoritarian money grubber.

  9. Reactor #4 says:

    Related to the brouhaha surrounding David Perry. It seems that many commenters aren’t now so keen to see the ‘Rule of Law’ being played out such that the defendants AND the prosecutors are able to appoint those they chose to represent them. Critically, a local prosecutor’s life would be hell once the trials had finished (there’s a reason why the ‘Yellow Mob’ is named as such).

    Actually, when it comes to my Person of the Year list, it’s rare that I reach for my notebook before March 1 to scribble down a name. I’ve got a feeling, though, that 2021 could be unusual and that David Perry could slam it/crush it/murder it/whatever it.

    One should also remember that it’s not about the money – it’s about whether the argument that can be made has a chance of succeeding. If you are a lawyer with plenty of cash squirreled away, the cases you take on are simply part of a grand game.

  10. Conference says:

    We are on the animal farm here. Barrister Perry can be admitted without quarantine based on many different exemptions:

    https://www.coronavirus.gov.hk/eng/599C-quarantine_exemption.html

    There are 34 official exemptions to quarantine, I’m sure they’ll find one that fits. The explicit lawyer exemption is only for matters concerning listed companies.

    It’s what you get when you have rule by law, otherwise known as “show me the man and I’ll show you the crime”, rendered by the tyrant (with the help of his henchmen, the local government officials all over the country) terrorizing another group of people several generations ago.

    Some things don’t change, namely human nature.

  11. HKJC Irregular says:

    @curious cynic – Jaysus wept. Where are the rabid, marching Jaffa men when you need them?

  12. Donkey says:

    David Perry has been removed as prosecutor by Hong Kong Justice Department. Much to the chagrin of Reactor #4, whose ignorant commentary loses points for lack of credibility and for himself being an incessant gadfly who has an audience of one. Onanistic. Seriously, you are nothing but a cretin, an needling fart on the backside of a braying giraffe.

  13. Curious cynic. says:

    Perry apparently withdrawn (due to UK pressure and exemption from quarantine).. See DoJ notice/press release.

    Another (presumably local) barrister instructed instead.

    So we know Perry does not like pressure exerted on him.

  14. Mjrelje says:

    Perry has dropped out!! Thank you Raab.

  15. reductio says:

    It could be that, upon due reflection, Perry decided that it was the ethical thing to do.

    Or he decided that taking the case could be a hit to his future earnings, his reputation, or both.

    BTW I think everyone should refer to him as Dave Perry from now on. In my (limited) experience something that really pisses off the “elite” in any field is undue familiarity from the plebs.

  16. Chinese Netizen says:

    Well it certainly wasn’t an attack of conscience on Perry’s part…

  17. Conference says:

    The press release from the DOJ has the following:

    As legal proceedings are still ongoing, it is inappropriate for anyone to comment on the case as it is a matter of sub judice. No one should embark upon baseless speculations. Any unfair and unfounded allegation made with a view to undermining and discrediting our independent criminal justice system will be vehemently refuted.

    It’s even more Animal Farm, In other cases they (together with the police and the government) have in fact done just that.

  18. Conference says:

    Breaking down the government release, there is a message there but it is overshadowed by psychotic paranoid rage.

    “Told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing”

    Visualise:

    so-called
    the highest organ of state
    resolutely
    exploited
    slandering remarks
    attack
    dutiful, faithful and lawful
    touched a nerve
    double standards and hypocrisy
    blatantly
    on par with, if not superior to, similar national security laws in other jurisdictions, including those enacted in the US
    double standards
    appalled
    irresponsible
    alarmed
    ad nauseam
    fallen on deaf ears
    unsubstantiated and sweeping
    so-called
    deplorable
    illegitimate
    implicit subjugation

  19. Mary Melville says:

    Democracy will eventually prevail coz its more fun.
    Compare the music at the Biden inauguration with goose stepping rituals accompanied by military dirges.
    And the stunning rhythm, energy and youth of Amanda Gorman’s “The Hill We Climb” could never be replicated in an ageing male authoritarian setting.

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