Olive branch for sale, one previous owner

Paul Harris hit the ground semi-kowtowing when he took over as chairman of the Bar Association two weeks ago. He expressed opposition to violent protest as sternly as any government minister. He also tentatively suggested that Hong Kong could restore extradition arrangements with Western countries if Beijing made a few changes to the National Security Law, so it doesn’t blatantly override rule of law. That would fix the awkward situation where a murderer could flee Hong Kong and never face justice.

This polite and constructive proposal went down like a cup of cold sick among Beijing’s local officials. It wasn’t just because he also said the New Year Purge of over 50 pan-dems was a blatant abuse of the law. And of course it didn’t help that the ‘rule of law’ he mentioned is the Western variety the CCP detests. But Harris’s greatest wrongdoing was probably suggesting that the Hong Kong administration and local pro-Beijing figures might take the lead in creating dialogue with the Chinese government. This win-win/charming/naive idea would, to the CCP’s ears, sound like an attempt to usurp its influence over the city. Beijing tells the local administration and shoe-shiners what to think – not the other way round. Foreign lawyers don’t tell anyone.

Thus the Liaison Office issued a statement accusing Harris of ‘personal arrogance and ignorance’, ‘dragging the Bar Association into the abyss’, ‘challenging the constitutional order’ (for daring to suggest a CCP edict was imperfect) and so on. And the local Liaison Office-run media are blasting Human Rights Monitor (founded by Harris) as a US-funded agency, and declaring that the Bar Association is turning into a new Civic Party and should be stripped of its right as a professional body to decide who can or can’t be a barrister. And now Beijing’s propaganda team drags an assortment of obscurities into the orchestrated barrage of criticism.

The moral is: if you don’t want your head bitten off, don’t be cute and make sensible suggestions to the CCP. Your role is to obey, not think.

In other legal matters, the Court of Final Appeal heard Jimmy Lai’s bail case yesterday. The government argued that…

…the default position for suspected national security law violations is that no bail should be granted to defendants.

Which basically means the regime can put anyone in jail for months – many months – on the flimsiest, most absurd charges, so long as it comes under the vague NatSec Law. And, if you are Jimmy Lai, transport you in chains in an armored truck under armed guard, just to send the rest of us that message (again): Your role is to obey, not think.

The hearing is also controversial because there is no overseas Court of Final Appeal judge present. For an extra dash of weirdness, in the actual trial starting in a couple weeks, Lai is being defended by Audrey Eu, while her brother Benjamin Yu is the prosecutor (replacing Dave Perry QC). This would not be allowed in some jurisdictions because, in theory, one sibling might (say) go easy on the other, to spare him/her embarrassment. HKFP explains

And then the Diplomat (picking up on Stand News) mentions an (easily) overlooked trend in the weaponization of Hong Kong’s courts: a multitude of individually minor travesties of justice in lower-level hearings before magistrates and district courts in which the police get away with providing false testimony.

To end on a cheery note, try a sample of the sudden outbreak of obituaries – from the Australian, the Guardian and the Business Standard

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14 Responses to Olive branch for sale, one previous owner

  1. Casira says:

    I find it more embarrassing that Benjamin Yu is awarded those juicy government contracts when he also acted as a defense lawyer for some officials such as Paul Chan.

  2. donkey says:

    China: We are a rule-abiding government that comes in peace to bring harmony to a world usurped by infringements on civil liberties and peaceful freedom-loving people and their aims for docile growth of human capital

    Also China: You better sit right down and shut up if you dare even think about telling us what rule of law is or what can be considered acceptable law in a global context and while you are at it, watch as we strip you of all of your rights and force you and your family into hiding.

  3. Chris Maden says:

    “History has proved many times that anyone who goes against the tide will inevitably end up in a dead end,” the Global Times quotes the CPC as saying.

    I think we can agree on that.

  4. Big Al says:

    Referring back to Vagina’s comments yesterday that “They [the UK] are more or less treating you [HKers] as refugees”, I agree 100% with @Low Profile – Vag probably thinks being a refugee is bad based on how Hong Kong treats its refugees. I wonder how many people (other than North Koreans) seek refugee status in China?
    She also suggested HKers who emigrated under the new scheme might have “no skills and qualifications” – in a similar vein to suggesting that the only reason people would join the big march in 2005 was that they had nothing else to do on a public holiday. Does that woman never learn?
    Finally, on 31 January, both the central liaison office and Hong Kong and Macao Affairs Office accused the UK government of turning HKers who emigrate into second-class British citizens – clearly, for many HKers, better to be a second-class British citizen in the UK than a third-class Chinese citizen in Hong Kong …

  5. FeiLo says:

    Ip seems increasingly deranged nowadays, probably she’s realizing the happy days of frolicking in Europe or US are gone, and the best she can get now is some shithole place in GBA or PRC client states, with the added reckoning that her utility in the eyes of her owners up north is less than of an used condom.

  6. Chinese Netizen says:

    “Finally, on 31 January, both the central liaison office and Hong Kong and Macao Affairs Office accused the UK government of turning HKers who emigrate into second-class British citizens – clearly, for many HKers, better to be a second-class British citizen in the UK than a third-class Chinese citizen in Hong Kong …” ~Big Al

    I think a mic drop after this is appropo.

  7. Red Dragon says:

    Big Al

    What Vag fails to understand is that Hong Kongers who flee to the UK ARE refugees. I mean, what else could they be described as? That said, I suspect that such people will have a better time of it in Blighty than do their counterparts from other lands who seek refuge in Hong Kong.

    As for her claims about their skills and qualifications, what business is that of hers? Surely she can’t be suggesting that the UK should do itself a favour and only welcome the best and brightest (not to mention the richest) that Hong Kong has to offer.

    I very much doubt whether Hong Kongers who remove to the UK will be regarded as second class citizens given that they probably have a great deal to contribute to their new homeland, and that the Chinese community in the UK (or at least that portion of it who hail from Hong Kong) have always been admired for their hard work and law-abiding demeanour.

    Old Vag is as daft as a brush, or should that be a broom? Best ignored.

  8. Mark Bradley says:

    An idiot narcissist like Regina can never learn. And her “no skills” comment is very much projection because she is nothing more than a grifter with some connections to local elites

  9. donkey says:

    Big Al, I know for a fact some people from Pakistan and the general area do seek refugee status in China, and, while I won’t comment on the intelligence of this idea, I will say that China certainly does like to make a show of this effort and use it for their Belt and Garter Hose methodology.

    While nobody here is advocating for China, and while nobody is saying that China’s position are wise, let’s all agree that no matter what happens China is not the exemplar of democracy or global diplomacy. It’s amazing and actually quite shocking to see them try and to see how boldly they try to claim that they are.

  10. where's my jet plane says:

    Given the cost of moving to and living in UK, Ip’s comment is particularly stupid (even for her). The no/low-skills contingent won’t have the money to do it so it’s HK that gets left with that section of the community.

  11. Casira says:

    Should ask Vagina if she thinks the 150 daily Southbound arrivals are refugees

  12. Chinese Netizen says:

    Mark Bradley: “Heavyweights”. Let’s use the proper obsequious term.

    Casira: LoL. Exactly. Maybe colonists, though.

  13. Mary Melville says:

    Bet theRE is no lock down of hair salons where ageing blues are getting their Grecian 2000 top ups!

  14. Mark Bradley says:

    “Bet theRE is no lock down of hair salons where ageing blues are getting their Grecian 2000 top ups!”

    @Mary Melville is there really any other kind of blue other than ageing blue?

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