HKFP editor on how the outlet tried to maintain neutrality when covering the quasi-election. One key measure is to add explanatory detail to the official phrasing to ensure readers understand that, for example, the ‘election’ is in fact one in which many would-be candidates are barred from participating.
By contrast, the SCMP largely presents the new LegCo at official face value, even suggesting that the chamber will contain exciting!!! competing factions. In reality, proceedings – like the selection of the body’s membership – will be stage-managed.
A Beijing loyalist commentator confirms that the all-patriots rubber-stamp LegCo will be mind-numbingly boring…
In an article published in China Daily the day after the elections, Lau Siu-kai said the revamped Legco means it will no longer “degenerate into a den of anti-China, anti-communist and secessionist politicians”, and “agents or proxies” of “adversarial external forces” will be shut out.
LegCo never had much power anyway. Hong Kong’s courts, on the other hand, were genuinely independent before the NatSec regime came along. A law professor laments the Court of Final Appeal’s latest retreat…
…some had hoped that the CFA might have a mediating effect on the Hong Kong government’s aggressive implementation of the NSL. Instead, this ruling suggests that CFA judges may in fact follow the lead of their lower court counterparts, who have generally issued a steady stream of government-friendly verdicts.
…The CFA’s ruling is an important one. Instead of seeking to curb the impact of the NSL on Hong Kong’s legal system, the CFA has expanded its influence, creating a clear pathway for further intrusions by the NSL into other areas of Hong Kong law.
There are cases coming that will test the courts’ willingness to take a stand where charges make little sense. People who participated in a primary election with a view to winning enough seats in LegCo to force the Chief Executive to stand down, in line with Basic Law provisions, will be tried for ‘conspiracy of subversion’. Those who reposted Facebook posts calling for spoiled ballots will be tried for ‘inciting’ others to do something that is not illegal.
Judges could take a stand and kick out such charges as baseless. Or they might accept the government’s case without question. (Or such trials could be preceded by an NPC ‘interpretation’ declaring a specific new meaning to the relevant passage in the Basic Law, to which the courts will defer automatically.)