The UK Supreme Court decides that two of its top justices will, for the time being, remain as non-permanent judges on Hong Kong’s Court of Final Appeal.
Many find this an inexplicable and shameful endorsement of a system that no longer protects citizens’ rights but sides with a politicized prosecutions function – ‘the best piece of free PR that Hong Kong’s Chief Executive Carrie Lam has had in years’.
A less critical view notes that, while the government will welcome this as a vote of confidence, the UK judges’ announcement was cautiously worded, and much of the legal profession in Hong Kong also wants overseas judges to stay on the CFA. (Conversely, the CCP-loyalist crowd dislike foreign judges and would welcome their departure.)
This thread argues that UKSC made the ‘right call’. Essentially: the Hong Kong judiciary is still technically independent, even if Beijing’s NatSec law and other edicts have reduced its power; and the CFA is still in theory able to use its powers to protect rule of law. In other words, it’s better that the UK judges stay on the CFA for now while there’s a possibility they can do some good.
This implies that it’s a matter of timing: at some point in the future, the withdrawal of serving British judges (and probably several retired ones) from the CFA will have a greater impact than it would now. (The same goes for imposing Magnitsky-style sanctions on NatSec regime officials, which the UK is also yet to do.)
While the UK hesitates on pulling its judges, Hong Kong activists set up digital archives of the city’s pro-democracy past.
And Variety on film-makers’ responses to the NatSec regime’s extension of film censorship.
Some worthwhile reading on Beijing’s media influencing and shifting approach to the private sector…
How disinformation on Hong Kong spread in Malaysia.
A look at the Beijing-centric content (typically older) Sinophone Singaporeans get in their local Chinese-language media.
Kevin Carrico on Chinese state-media propagandists who pose as independent journalists.
Nothing very new, but a War on the Rocks explainer in case you haven’t been following Beijing’s clampdown on China’s tech tycoons…
Xi Jinping will likely be confirmed as leader for at least another term — if not for life. China’s billionaires, seen as occupying rival centers of power and influence in the country, are being put in their place.
…leading to ‘a sudden outburst of philanthropic activity’.
Willy Lo Lap-lam on Xi’s ‘Common Prosperity’ thing
In Scholar’s Stage, a review of a book on the USSR as a ‘failed empire’ includes a discussion (towards the end) on whether Xi Jinping’s enthusiasm for a return to earlier Marxist-Maoist values is a sort of Chinese boomer-nostalgia thing.