Monday, 14 September 2015

Trying to Clear the Air

Secretary for Justice Rimsky Yuen spent the last two days clearing the air...
Secretary for Justice Rimsky Yuen Kwok-keung set the record straight regarding the the status of Hong Kong's chief executive, after remarks made on Saturday by Zhang Xiaoming, head of the liaison office here.

Yuen said the CE would never be "an emperor", as the Basic Law is "unequivocal" in stipulating he must be accountable to legislative and judicial jurisdiction, like everyone else.

He added it was not Zhang's intention to elevate the chief executive to an emperor-like position. "The chief executive is the same as any other member of the public in obeying Hong Kong's laws," Yuen said today.

Then what did Zhang mean then?

... on comments Zhang Xiaoming made on Saturday...
Or is Yuen trying to backpedal on the Chinese official's behalf?

On Saturday Zhang stated the CE was above the law and legislative council that resulted in an uproar in the pro-democracy camp.

To try to be more diplomatic, Yuen said on Sunday in an interview with Xinhua that the Basic Law had to be seen from both the mainland and Hong Kong perspectives.

"It has to be read both from Hong Kong's angle, as well as that of the central government, otherwise it is impossible to safeguard the co-existence of the 'two systems' under the 'one country' framework," he said.

It was unclear if Yuen said this before or after Zhang's remarks, but it still did not clarify anything, which is probably why the justice minister had to come out today and say outright that the CE, or in this case, Leung Chun-ying, did not have an emperor-like position.

We can only shake our heads and wonder what is really going on behind the scenes.

Again we ask - why did Zhang say what he did on Saturday? Did he purposely say this to rile up pro-democracy leaders and activists two weeks short of the one-year anniversary of the Occupy Movement? Or does he think Hong Kong people have no clue what's written in the Basic Law so he thinks he can whitewash it with his own version?

With regards to the role of the CE, it's written pretty clearly in the Basic Law -- there is no room for misinterpretation.

And so it was left to Yuen to try to clear the air, first saying that the Basic Law should be considered from both mainland and Hong Kong perspectives, which doesn't mean anything, and then today he finally put his foot down and said Leung was not like an emperor.

Sometimes the job of underlings is to clean up messes their bosses make -- if Zhang is his boss...













Hong Kong's chief executive would never be "an emperor" as the Basic Law is "unequivocal" in stipulating he falls under legislative and judicial supervision just like anyone else, the justice secretary says in the wake of controversial remarks by Beijing's top man in the city.
Secretary for Justice Rimsky Yuen Kwok-keung also asked Hongkongers not to take the words of Zhang Xiaoming, director of the central government's liaison office in Hong Kong, out of context.
He believed it was not Zhang's intention to elevate the chief executive to an emperor-like position.
"The chief executive is the same as any other member of the public in obeying Hong Kong's laws," Yuen said today.
"It is impossible for him or her to act in breach of the legal or judicial systems."
Yuen spoke after Zhang said on Saturday the chief executive possessed a power above the executive, the judiciary and the legislature – which would effectively end any notion that the separation of powers applied to the city.
The mainland official's comments – made at a symposium celebrating the 25th year of the birth of the Basic Law, Hong Kong's mini-constitution – sparked an outcry among local pan-democrats who feared Beijing was trying to redefine the city's constitutional model.
But Yuen said: "The Basic Law is clearly designed. The fact that the chief executive, as head of the executive and of the Hong Kong special administrative region, is subject to legislative and judicial supervision is unequivocal."
Yuen further highlighted another point Zhang made during the speech, that the chief executive did not enjoy any dominant power.
In an earlier interview with Chinese state media Xinhua, Yuen said Beijing and Hong Kong must look at the Basic Law from each other's perspective, or risk facing "negative effects" on cross-border cooperation.
He warned that without such mutual understanding, the coexistence of "two systems" under the governing principle of "one country, two systems" would be at risk.
It was unclear whether Yuen's interview took place before or after Zhang's Saturday speech.

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