Thursday, 10 November 2016

Beijing's Iron Fist vs. HK's Rule of Law

Chen Zuoer thinks Hong Kong not doing enough to enforce law and order
A former Beijing official has added his two cents' worth in the debate over Hong Kong legislators who don't take their oaths seriously.

Chen Zuoer, former deputy director of Beijing's Hong Kong and Macau Affairs Office, blasted Hong Kong's prosecution and judiciary, accusing them of "not living up to people's expectations" in defending breaches of national security and making it "cost-free to oppose and commit crime against Beijing".

When asked to elaborate yesterday, Chen said: "There were a lot of cases in the last two or three years. From the storming of the PLA barracks, to the Occupy protests, the Mongkok riots, there were a series of such cases."

The judiciary refused to comment on his remarks, while the Justice Department said it would "control criminal prosecutions free from any interference" in accordance with the Basic Law.

It said it has to consider all relevant laws before prosecuting and that it handled all criminal cases in a fair, impartial and professional manner.

Almost 2,000 lawyers marched in protest on Tuesday evening
Chen also chided the city's legal profession for opposing the interpretation of the Basic Law either because it "lacked or had a different understanding or it was using the law as a tool for political struggle".

On Tuesday evening almost 2,000 lawyers silently marched from the High Court to the Court of Final Appeal in protest to Beijing's interference in interpreting Article 104 in the Basic Law regarding oath taking.

Dennis Kwok, the legal sector lawmaker, was diplomatic, saying that he welcomed a dialogue with Chen if he didn't understand his sector's traditions.

It is quite obvious things are coming to a loggerheads in Hong Kong -- Beijing is flexing its muscles in trying to get the city to conform with the rest of the country, but Hong Kong people are clinging to whatever institutions they have left.

Wang Zhenmin, legal department head of Beijing's Liaison Office and a former dean of Tsinghua University, claimed 15 Hong Kong lawmakers had "messed up" their oaths. While he did not name them, media could only come up with 14 possible names.

Wang Zhenmin says 15 lawmakers "messed up" their oaths
They include Sixtus Baggio Leung Chung-hang, Yau Wai-ching, Edward Yiu Chung-yim, Raymond Chan Chiu-chuen, Fernando Cheung Chiu-hung, Eddie Chu Hoi-dick, "Long Hair" Leung Kwok-hung and Nathan Law Kwun-chung.

If all these people are disqualified, it's Beijing's way of getting rid of any democratic voices in the legislature -- as well as neglecting the democratic process in which they were elected.

While Hong Kong is still coming to grips with accepting Hong Kong is a part of China, China is still getting used to the prickly situation it is in with regards to the city's institutions that people believe so strongly in.

This cultural clash is probably going to escalate which is not a good thing. This lack of understanding especially from China's side and its unwillingness to compromise is not going to ease anytime soon.

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