Saturday, 18 June 2016

More Questions Than Answers

Lam Wing-kee (in the hat) with Albert Ho (right) at the march this afternoon
The weather was erratic again today and I almost left my flat without taking an umbrella.

When I got to the bank, the bank teller turned around and saw it had begun to pour. "Did you bring an umbrella?" he asked.

I didn't want to wait around, so I trudged up the hill through the rain in flip flops to the gym and luckily it was a short walk, but my feet were soaked.

Soon afterwards it stopped raining.

But then it started again about an hour later.

Lam speaks to the protesters in Causeway Bay
I worried that it would rain for the scheduled march to protest against Beijing's alleged suppression of free speech following bookseller Lam Wing-kee's revelations of how he was detained for eight months on the mainland.

But Hong Kong people really do care about what is happening to our city -- some 6,000 of them braved the threat of rain this afternoon to march from where the Causeway Bay Books shop used to be to the liaison office in Western in three hours.

Leading the charge were Lam and lawmaker Albert Ho Chun-yan, whom Lam contacted when he had second thoughts on returning to the mainland with the hard disk from Causeway Bay Books.

Lam's revelations this week have shocked and frightened a lot of people in Hong Kong. Even more shocking is today's reported statements from former secretary for justice Elsie Leung Oi-sie.

Quoting Article 6 of the Chinese Criminal Law, she warned that Hong Kong people could risk being detained on the mainland if they had broken mainland laws in whole or in part in Hong Kong.

Excuse me? That's completely news to me, and I'm sure the rest of us 7 million people in Hong Kong.

Elsie Leung now tell us the laws are not what we thought
Has this been in effect since 1997? If so, no one told us that.

Therefore, according to China, Lam broke the law by mailing banned books from Hong Kong to the mainland.

"Hong Kong people should not assume they would not be arrested for acts which contravene the mainland's laws when they return to the mainland, simply because of their capacity as Hong Kong residents," she added.

Leung also said Article 7 of the same document states that mainland law is applicable to any citizen of the People's Republic of China who commits a crime outside the territory.

"It's my understanding that, whilst the Chinese Criminal Law does not apply in Hong Kong, the extra-territorial reach of Article 7 does extend to Hong Kong," she said.

It's chilling -- absolutely chilling to hear this now, almost 19 years later.

Again -- how come we only found out about this now? And we thought all along it was "one country, two systems", but in fact it isn't what we thought.

Who was the one who lulled us into thinking everything would be OK until 2047? Where were the British in negotiating this? And what about the Hong Kong experts who were involved in drafting the Basic Law? How come no one told us this was in the law?

Too many questions, and not many answers.

Very troubling indeed.

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