…I will be out of Hong Kong for the next couple of weeks, for a long overdue Hemlock family reunion.
No such fun for Hong Kong children. The SCMP reports that primary and secondary school students will be expected to learn 62 questions and answers about NatSec and Chinese history over the summer vacation…
“The questions are quite difficult and it is impossible for kids in the lower grades to understand, let alone answer them,” Yaumati Catholic Primary School (Hoi Wang Road) Principal Polly Chan Shuk-yee said.
…One question asks students to name the Chinese leader who said during a meeting with a United States congressional delegation in 1978 that “China could not bear the imperative to not use force to solve the Taiwan problem, otherwise it would practically cut off a method to resolve the Taiwan problem, including a peaceful resolution”.
…Another question asks students to identify the duties of the Hong Kong government’s Committee for Safeguarding National Security, with more than one correct answer from a choice of four.
Other questions are about the contents of a mainland policy paper on resolving housing difficulties faced by poor urban families in 2007, the dates of Unesco World Heritage site listings of various attractions in mainland China and Macau, and matching political quotes with speakers.
Did police have legal grounds to detain people in Causeway Bay on June 4?
Even if a police officer had good reason to believe there was a good chance of a breach of the peace occurring, it would not be “legitimate policing” for officers to require a person to submit to a spell of detention at a police station as an alternative to being arrested for the anticipated breach of the peace, according to Dykes.
“That is policing by coercion because the price paid for not being arrested is submission to a few hours of involuntary detention,” the senior counsel said.
Also from HKFP, the curious multiple inspections of a small yellow business in Sai Kung, and the interception of a car with the ‘wrong’ numbers on the (regular, not personalized) plate.
Al Jazeera looks at the government’s inability/refusal to say what is or isn’t lawful…
The Hong Kong government’s caginess about the legal status of the June 4 commemorations reflects an overall atmosphere of legal uncertainty that has descended on the territory under the NSL, which established the vaguely-defined offences of secession, subversion, terrorism and collusion with foreign forces.
Eric Lai, a non-resident fellow at Georgetown Center for Asian Law, said Hong Kong officials’ refusal to provide clarity about the law was by design.
Asia Nikkei on the broader repercussions of legal vagueness…
A lawyer working with Japanese manufacturing companies establishing joint ventures in China said his clients have started to exclude Hong Kong as a seat of arbitration in contract negotiations, citing possible bias.
“After 2020, when the national security law was enacted, many Japanese companies think that Hong Kong may not be a neutral place to arbitrate, so they go to Singapore,” he said.
Another lawyer with clients in the financial services industry said he has seen Western companies dismiss the Chinese city as an option in negotiations.
“The perception is that Hong Kong’s judiciary is now part of China, so Hong Kong is often rejected by foreign companies when writing up arbitration contracts,” the lawyer said.
Back at HKFP – how the HK government has shifted its narrative on the 2019 protests, from this…
June 16, 2019: Hundreds of thousands of people – organisers estimated a turnout of almost two million – staged another protest. Lam in an evening statement apologised to Hongkongers. “The Chief Executive admitted that the deficiencies in the government’s work had led to substantial controversies and disputes in society, causing disappointment and grief among the people.”
May 2, 2023: Chief Executive John Lee told a reporter that the pro-democracy demonstrations and unrest of 2019 should be referred to as the “black violence,” not “protests.” He was responding to a question about how post-protest Hong Kong is set to see local elections with a proportion of democratically-elected seats lower than in colonial times.
“First of all, it is not the 2019 protests. It is the black violence. It is the attempt to make Hong Kong independent and [an] attempt to cause disaster to Hong Kong society as a whole that we need to prevent,” Lee said. “I think that has been made very clear. We lived through that, and don’t forget it. We have to bear that in mind so as to ensure that in the long run, the system will protect us from all this chaotic and harmful situation to arise again,” he said.
Western tech companies are cutting Hong Kong off from apps and content to avoid possible legal problems…
Alphabet -owned Google, San Francisco-based OpenAI and Microsoft have limited access to their artificial-intelligence chatbots in recent months in the global finance and business hub. In OpenAI’s case, the restriction puts Hong Kong and mainland China alongside North Korea, Syria and Iran.
While none of the companies have given reasons, observers say they could be exposed to risk if the chatbots spew out content that violates a national-security law imposed by China nearly three years ago. The law criminalizes many types of criticism of the government and Beijing.
Meanwhile in the Mainland…
The new Cultural Management Law Enforcement Force is responsible for cracking down on violations or frowned-upon, “uncivilized” behavior in the areas of culture, tourism, publishing, broadcasting, television and film.
A Chinese academic notes a decline in the number of overseas citizens from developed countries in China, and sort-of calls for less stress on NatSec.