From China File, a comprehensive update of the evolving use of Hong Kong’s NatSec laws – ‘the newly-constructed national security state has moved into a consolidation phase’…
The government’s definition of “national security” has proved almost infinitely elastic, and has included such “crimes” as holding a primary election, publicly chanting now-forbidden 2019 protest slogans, and even efforts by journalists to report on political developments in Hong Kong. As GCAL’s research on the implementation of the NSL has made clear, the vast majority of national security cases that have emerged over the past year would not be considered crimes in other, rights-respecting jurisdictions. Instead, they would be considered constitutionally-protected acts of free expression, association, and assembly.
…Instead of acting as a check on government and defending basic rights, the court system’s approach has been to bend to the enormous political pressure it faces, and to give the government more or less everything it wants in national security cases. Every substantive verdict has gone the government’s way, and the lion’s share of procedural rulings (bail decisions, decisions on the right to a jury trial, and so on) have been in the government’s favor as well.
Summary in thread by Tom Kellogg…
One NSL stat continues to stand out above all others: the govt continues to enjoy a 100% conviction rate. A full 103 individuals have been convicted or pled guilty to nat sec crimes, most for actions that would be not be considered crimes in rights-respecting jurisdictions.
The article says (basically archaic) sedition charges have come to play a more prominent role because penalties are lighter than for NatSec Law charges, so are ‘harsh enough to serve as a deterrent, but not so stiff as to alienate relative moderates inclined to support the government’. Do the people making these decisions really worry about alienating anyone? It’s possible officials think they are more likely to get the courts to convict someone for speech crimes by using relatively vague sedition charges (‘exciting disaffection’, for example). But a system that has imprisoned, among others, a single mother for Facebook posts clearly does not prioritize mercy. (And now importing seditious books.) Wait to see if the forthcoming local ‘Article 23’ National Security Law increases the existing penalties for sedition, which were set by the namby-pamby colonial regime in the 1930s.
(Which reminds me: are we going to get the death penalty restored in Hong Kong? It seems an obvious bit of Mainlandization that has been missed out.)
Global Times goes nuclear (or something) over Japan’s wastewater discharge, claiming that Tokyo is whitewashing the whole thing with lavish and devious PR tricks, and hinting that Carbon-14 is a health hazard with its scary half-life of 5,000-odd years.
Chinese observers pointed out that what the Japanese government’s expectation is, as long as the Geiger counter doesn’t explode within seconds after contact with the wastewater, or a Godzilla monster-like would not suddenly emerge from the sea, the dumping can be acceptable. As for questions like whether there will be man-tall crabs or Cthulhu-esque octopuses in 30 to 40 years is not part of its consideration.
…China, by contrast, is motivated by providing an effective public good by taking a stand against Japan’s wastewater dumping.
Sounds like an exasperated lashing-out against international public opinion that is largely siding with the country that has a reputation for scientific integrity and transparency.