Tight race for Judge of the Day Award

A symbolic slap in the face for officials insisting that Hong Kong still has rule of law. The two top members of the UK Supreme Court resign from the city’s panel of overseas Court of Final Appeal judges, stating that they…

…cannot continue to sit in Hong Kong without appearing to endorse an administration which has departed from values of political freedom, and freedom of expression…

HKFP report, including comments from British government officials.

Playing it ever-so cool, Hong Kong’s Secretary for Justice issues a whiny blog-statement that rebuts the UK’s criticism of declining rule of law in Hong Kong without actually mentioning it.

The Chief Executive addresses the issue rather more directly – except you will never know, thanks to the government’s secret press-release weapon of using 100 words where 20 would do, so anyone attempting to read it all the way through will fall asleep halfway. We can imagine that Carrie finds this a welcome distraction from the never-ending zero-braincells Covid nightmare.

The Law Society begs the judges to reconsider – almost rather touching. The Bar Association indulges in some even more feeble hand-wringing. The word ‘regret’ needs a rest,

For a genuine pithy-and-pissy mouth-frothing rant, we must turn to China’s officials in Hong Kong (the Foreign Affairs ones), who deliver some serious freaking-out about ‘playing the foreign judges card’, ‘smearing the NatSec Law’, etc. What’s interesting here is that they genuinely seem miffed about the justices pulling out. They could be defiant and patriotic and say (as many Chinese nationalists do) ‘We don’t need no stinking foreign judges’, de-colonization, blah blah. 

Former CE CY Leung gets similarly irate on a social-media post – even accusing UK officials of damaging separation of powers by pressuring the judges to quit.

Samuel Bickett has some criticisms of his own…

Lords Reed & Hodge resigned under political pressure, yes, but on the way out they defended the indefensible: A court system filled with judges who have cravenly abandoned their duty to the law & the defendants whose fates they control.

Since the authorities started using the NatSec and archaic sedition laws, observers have debated whether the presence of these overseas judges helped protect rule of law in Hong Kong or unwittingly provided a veneer to a rotting system. The jailing without bail of people like Claudia Mo, Jimmy Lai, Long Hair and so on – essentially for their opinions – surely answered that question. The Canadian and Australian part-timers still on the CFA will now also presumably withdraw.

You might have thought that Justices Reed and Hodge jointly win Judge of the Day Award. But no! That prize goes to a more junior and locally employed judge arguably proving that independent courts can still exist in Hong Kong. An unvaccinated woman applies for a judicial review of the government’s Vaccine Pass. Judge Russell Coleman turns her down, but in his decision makes some rather pointed remarks about officials’ handling of Covid. For example…

There may well be room for people to say that a number of decisions and announcements made by the HKSAR Government relating to the Covid-19 pandemic have seemed to be: lacking in logic or common sense; riddled with inconsistencies; short on empathy and human understanding; detached from local personal and business realities; focused on distractions, hence being reactive to what seems urgent at the expense being proactive to what is important; blind to the need for a coherent longer-term strategy and contingency planning and the clear public communication of it; and sometimes even apparently contrary to the very ‘science’ which is invoked to justify them.

Ouch. And… 

…the HKSAR has pursued a policy to combat the pandemic which is in line with the policy pursued in Mainland China, but one increasingly out of step with most other countries and regions.  That policy has been called the “zero Covid” policy, later shifted to or renamed as the “dynamic zero Covid” policy – though it did not inspire confidence that the person in charge of implementing the shift in policy could not give a clear description of it, also showing that a nice slogan is not a substitute for an actual strategy.

The neat thing is that this brutal editorial these comments do not (to this layman) really inform his argument or need to appear in the written decision – but I guess judges need to get things off their chests too.

Which brings us to Hong Kong’s tragic Covid policies, and the prioritization of praising Beijing over using science. A government website lists, with a straight face, certain Chinese traditional medicines as having the following medieval-sounding qualities… 

To clear scourge, remove toxin, diffuse the lung and discharge heat … Dispel wind and unleash the inhibited lung energy, clearing heat-toxicity … Relieve exterior syndromes and remove dampness, regulate Qi and harmonize the function of the spleen and stomach.

(Link via Tripperhead, who deserves a Gold Bauhinia Medal – and is profiled on a Bloomberg vid.)

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8 Responses to Tight race for Judge of the Day Award

  1. Chinese Netizen says:

    “What’s interesting here is that they genuinely seem miffed about the justices pulling out. They could be defiant and patriotic and say (as many Chinese nationalists do) ‘We don’t need no stinking foreign judges’, de-colonization, blah blah.”

    Yeah, but we all know they NEED these judges to give the CCP cretins a veneer of legitimacy as to being soft handed in their taking over and upending HK government/society. Especially in giving international corporates a way of convincing themselves they’re justified and doing the right thing staying in HK and continuing on as if it’s business-as-usual. You know…all that Corporate Social Responsibility blah blah.

  2. Load Toad says:

    Tripperhead has provided what HKG has failed to do – provided timely, concise and clear information in English – he deserves all the plaudits

  3. Chinese Netizen says:

    “To clear scourge, remove toxin, diffuse the lung and discharge heat … Dispel wind and unleash the inhibited lung energy, clearing heat-toxicity … Relieve exterior syndromes and remove dampness, regulate Qi and harmonize the function of the spleen and stomach.”

    This reads like a bag of mainland manufactured crisps. The only thing missing is the over usage of the word “efficacy”.

  4. Not a real witchdoctor says:

    The HKSARG updated their PDF guide to the “proprietary Chinese medicines” (I reckon the very last thing they need to worry about is people copying these voodoo potions) since Tripperhead first posted it. To make it sound a bit less witchdoctory/ medieval/ ridiculous, they removed the deliciously comical indications column:

    For Lianhua Qingwen Jiaonang and Jinhua Qinggan Keli:
    “The two proprietary Chinese medicines have similar functions, suitable for use in the case where conditions are caused by heat evils assailing the lung, presented with symptoms including fever, cough, dry and sore throat, headache, etc.”

    While Huoxiang Zhengqi Pian/ Jiaonang is:
    “Suitable for use in the case where conditions are caused by cold and damp evil, presented with symptoms including headache, lassitude, distention and distress in the abdomen, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, etc.”

    As your attorney, I advise you to take a hit of the Huoxiang Zhengqi Pian/ Jiaonang, given that the cause of conditions — the HKSARG — is almost certainly a cold and damp evil.

  5. A Poor Man says:

    It seems that the Aussies and Canucks need the money.

  6. A Poor Man says:

    Correction – It seems that the pensioners, Brits included, need the money.

  7. SHMBO says:

    The cream of the UK judicial system.
    Rumpole on judges: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xh2mDU5wz9Y

  8. SWMBO says:

    Typo: SWMBO

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