The Civil Human Rights Front disbands in the face of an ‘unprecedented severe challenge’ – that is, before the police break the doors down, arrest everyone and freeze the bank accounts. As with the Professional Teachers Union, CHRF has for years had cordial relations with the authorities. But that was under One Country, Two Systems. Now, all it takes is an op-ed in a Beijing-backed newspaper, and an organization instantly becomes a ‘threat to national security’.
People’s Daily warns the Law Society to ‘stay professional’, out of politics – that is, start sticking to the party line and nothing else. The Bar Association is apparently keeping silent in the hope that this might persuade the CCP not to crush them. Good luck with that. Both legal bodies have regulatory-type roles, so the NatSec regime can’t just snuff them out of existence overnight. Whatever happens, the regulatory powers will end up under the control of pro-Beijing – presumably Beijing-picked – people.
Wen Wei Po accuses the HK Journalists Association of ‘five evil deeds’ and demands government regulation of the body. (Quiet word of advice to the HKJA: you can be snuffed out overnight.)
A good thread on this purging of Hong Kong’s civil society…
The police, in concert with the Liaison Office, the government, the pro Beijing parties and state-controlled media are all working together to go after one civil organisation after the other, until none of them stand in the way of authority.
With a 97% fall in the number of voters eligible to vote in Election Committee primaries (or whatever you want to call them), it is clear that most candidates for seats on the rubber-stamp body will be returned unopposed. And this is before the vetting procedure screens out any wannabes ‘pretending’ to be patriots. HKFP explains the elaborately rigged process. The Secretary for Constitutional and Mainland Stuff urges the public not to focus on ‘competition’ at these polls but on ‘quality democracy’. Does he imagine the public are even paying attention to this farce?
(As ever… Even the best-informed media outlets describe the EC as ‘electing’, ‘deciding’ or ‘choosing’ Hong Kong’s Chief Executive, not to mention many legislators. This is partly because that’s the official definition of its role. In reality, the Politburo does not delegate such a decision to 1,500 Hongkongers, however obsequious they may be. Like any supposedly political process visible to the public under the CCP, the EC is ceremonial.)
Also from HKFP, an op-ed on the equally farcical Tong Ying-kit NatSec trial…
The judges seem to have accepted the official meaning of secession and then defined the crime committed to fit the charge…
The designated judges’ “copy-paste” application of mainland definitions for separatism and terrorism emerged as the trial’s most alarming feature. The accused became a passive witness while academic experts debated the historical context of his slogan and prosecutors sought to adapt his actions for use under mainland law.
Cue another slightly depressing story on emigration, in the Guardian.
In the interests of eliminating fake news, I should point out a correction to the RTHK news caption at the top of your column today: the words “the Front:” seem to have been accidentally inserted, and need to be deleted.
“Legco president Andrew Leung has put a price tag of HK$1.17 billion on the expansion of the Legislative Council complex to accommodate an additional 20 lawmakers following Beijing’s electoral overhaul.
He said the project is expected to get underway in mid-2022 and should be finished by mid-2025. Four storeys will be added to the existing building and a 10-storey-high structure will be built in the garden.”
Now anybody who has visited the Legco offices knows that each floor holds around 20 offices so an additional two floors would suffice. The Legco chamber is designed to seat 120 members.
But what the heck, its public money, and legislators want their offices to be more like a private club than working spaces. Perhaps a gym to build up the arm muscles for the frequent rubber stamping? This will take all of 5 mins to sail through the Finance Committee.
@Mary: Local arm of the CCP (party secretary, associated staff, security guards) will be needing space and some rooms with electronic surveillance equipment to monitor loyal local legislators and staff.
Our so-called Justice Secretary has predictably echoed the People’s Daily’s call for the law societies to stay out of politics. The irony here is that, having turned the law into a political weapon, the government itself has made that impossible.
On another topic, was anyone else as sickened as I was by Curry Lamb’s staged photoshoot cheering on Sarah Lee’s Olympic efforts? Carrie has never been known as a sports fan – you just know that as soon as the cameras were off she would have stopped watching and returned to reading “101 Ways to Torture Hong Kong People”.