Sunday, 10 January 2016

Hong Kong People fear for their Freedoms

The five people, including Lee Bo (bottom right) have disappeared so far
This afternoon around 6,000 people gathered at Hong Kong government headquarters at Tamar in Admiralty to march to the central liaison office in Western to protest against the disappearances of publisher Lee Bo and his four associates.

Many in Hong Kong now fear that anything they say or do that may anger Beijing will result in them being forcibly taken away to the mainland.

A video featuring these four talk about their fears for HK
Chanvinci is one of the producers of the local film Ten Years, that gives a bleak prediction of what the city will be like. He made a new video, interviewing a range of notable people in Hong Kong about the Lee Bo incident, including former Chief Secretary Anson Chan Fong An-sang, Scholarism founder Joshua Wong Chi-fung, barrister Margaret Ng Ngoi-yee, law professor Benny Tai Yiu-ting, actor Gregory Wong Chung-yiu, and singer Anthony Wong Yiu-ming.

They all voice their concerns about Hong Kong's future that has supposedly run on the premise of "one country, two systems" since 1997.

The disappearances of the five people show China's disregard for the Basic Law, and Gregory Wong painted a frightening scenario reminiscent of the Cultural Revolution, where one never knows if they are safe talking to their friends or relatives, while Anthony Wong wonders if he might be next to disappear.

Chan, Lee and Ng plead for the international community to take notice and speak out on Hong Kong's behalf, otherwise the city's reputation as an international one will be tarnished forever.

The rally today protests against Lee Bo's disappearance
Many Hong Kong people wonder what kind of consular protection they will get depending on what government-issued documents they carry. It seems a Hong Kong passport or BNO don't give much protection, and one wonders if this will renew people's interest in immigrating to Canada, the United States or Australia.

Meanwhile, the Chinese side seems to be crumbling with regards to its handling of the situation.

The latest is that a pro-Beijing newspaper claims Lee Bo's wife received a video and letter in which he repeated going to the mainland was "a personal conduct". He also said he "didn't understand why it was made into such a big deal".

Lee apparently says everyone should respect his decision to go to the mainland and that it is none of anyone's business.

The paper, Headline News, didn't show any evidence of this purported video, in which Lee also allegedly says that taking part in today's protest would not be a good idea.

How contrived is this message?

Perhaps even more bizarre is how the Global Times, a nationalistic paper on the mainland has written its editorial. It claimed it was not problematic for mainland authorities to probe Causeway Bay Books because it "publishes and sells political books targeting mainland readers", and creates "special interference to the maintenance of order in the mainland".

A publisher finds a market in selling books that digs up dirt about senior Chinese officials. In this case it is possibly linked to the latest book that talks about Chinese President Xi Jinping's previous amorous relationships. If the mainland finds these books  a problem, then it should search every suitcase arriving from Hong Kong and punish those people for bringing them in.

Lee Bo is only doing what every other publisher is trying to do -- make money. And he can do it with the backing of freedom of the press in Hong Kong.

However, the Global Times article continues to say it would be "in accordance with Chinese laws" for the mainland to initiate an investigation. The editorial said it was constitutional for mainland authorities to find ways to "get around" local laws, and make one comply with their investigations "without breaching systemic bottom lines".

How is this possible, when, according to Basic Law, only Hong Kong police can investigate matters within the city. For the paper to say it was permissible for mainland authorities to go around local law is shocking and illegal.

We can continue going through the semantics, but it's very clear Beijing seems to think it can have an even tighter grip on Hong Kong and do whatever it wants with it and its people.

The longer the five do not show up, the more we wonder where they are, and fears for our own safety continue to magnify.

Seems like we're already getting a taste of what life in Hong Kong will be like after June 30, 2046...

No comments:

Post a Comment