Tuesday, 14 January 2014

Standing Up to Beijing

Beijing's tentacles seems to be creeping into Hong Kong one way or another, as some believe the city is "ruled by Western", referring to the Hong Kong Liaison Office in Sai Ying Pun.

Others think Beijing's influence on Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying is too strong and believe he is not looking out for Hong Kong interests as he had promised.

In any event it's reassuring to hear that the city's judiciary intends to be impartial in upholding rule of law and not allowing any interference from Beijing.

Yesterday during the opening ceremony for the 2014 legal year, both Chief Justice Geoffrey Ma Tao-li and Secretary for Justice Rimsky Yuen Kwok-keung both reiterated that it was important for judges to remain independent and follow the rule of law in both spirit and letter, as well as have transparency.

They may have made these statements to respond to Liaison office propaganda chief Hao Tiechuan, who said last year that Hong Kong could not exercise separation of powers because the chief executive had more power than the legislature and the judiciary.

However Ma said the Basic Law stipulated clearly and repeatedly that Hong Kong exercised separation of powers between the executive, legislature and judiciary, and that there was "no cooperation" between them.

"Some have even indicated that they would compile a list of judges whom they considered politically biased and would request their removal," Yuen said. "However well-intended their subjective motives might be, such conduct should not be encouraged," he said.

"Deliberate attempts to act in breach of the law, even for causes which may sound noble, should not be encouraged."

So rest assured. While some government policies may seem like they are kowtowing to Beijing, at least the judiciary claims it won't stand for any meddling.

And skeptics wonder why Hong Kong still hasn't become another Chinese city...

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