Thursday, 24 November 2016

What Legal Eagles Want in HK's Leader

Edward Chan (centre) says ProDem21 wants a leader who upholds rule of law
When a group of legal eagles in Hong Kong win seats in the committee that chooses the next chief executive, they promised a competitive election and accuses incumbent Leung Chun-ying of obfuscating the city's rule of law with "Chinese characteristics".

Senior counsel Edward Chan King-sang, who leads ProDem21 says: "We want to have a [chief executive] who can actually uphold the rule of law. We do not want rule of law with Chinese characteristics."

Chan says Leung Chun-ying reverses democracy
The veteran lawyer has teamed up with 20 other barristers, solicitors and legal scholars to compete for the 30 places for the legal sector that will make up part of the 1,200 member election committee that pics Hong Kong's next leader in March.

There are other pro-democratic candidates running, such as PanDem9, led by former lawmakers Alan Leong Ka-kitSC and Albert Ho Chun-yan. Former lawmaker Ronny Tong Ka-wah SC is also running.

Chan said Leung was divisive, did not uphold the rule of law and was reversing democracy. He also criticized the chief executive for being transcendent over all branches of the government, saying this was not the rule of law that lawyers in Hong Kong, a common law jurisdiction, had learned at law school.

Chan says Leung should not launch legal challenge of localists
While he disagreed with the two localist lawmakers' use of derogatory language when they took their oaths last month, Chan says it was unnecessary for the chief executive to be named a plaintiff in lodging an unprecedented legal challenge against the legislature to stop them from retaking the oaths.

He said Beijing giving its interpretation of Article 104 of the Basic Law amounted to "legislating for Hong Kong".

While the group were more supportive of former Justice Woo Kwok-hing, they said it was too early to decide who they would support. And although Financial Secretary John Tsang Chun-wah has extensive government experience, Chan said it wasn't vital.

Chan said he was keen on having competition so that it would force the candidates to reveal their vision, by which they would be bound after they were elected.

To them, an ideal candidate had to support real democracy and the rule of law while solving financial and social issues.

ProDem21 like Justice Woo, but seeing who else runs first
Solicitor Michael Vidler, who is in Chan's group, said the candidates should "fight for Hong Kong" rather than "just do the bidding of China".

Ideally we'd like that too, but is that really going to happen? Justice Woo hasn't had the formal blessing from Beijing, and it seems the others are waiting for their green lights to blink on before they throw their hats into the ring.

It is obvious that the position of Chief Executive doesn't look out for the interests of Hong Kong at all. He or she is the middle man, making sure policies decided by Beijing are implemented, and if they are done well, then they will get a second term.

How would they benefit if they were acting in the interests of Hong Kong, when only 1,200 people vote for him or her, and not 7 million people?

It's been a fixed race from the beginning, because -- let's face it -- China knows no other way to run an election...

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