我欣賞的那種義務維權律師

今天,《香港01》刊登了一篇義務維權律師群組成員文浩正與楊岳橋的訪問。我欣賞文浩正、楊岳橋這類義務律師,並不只是因為他們站在弱者那邊、這些案件並不賺錢還要是「買難受」、或因為我不加入他們行列感到慚愧那麼簡單。我欣賞他們的,還有:

– 他們從不以「義務維權律師」身分去耀武揚威。就算他們是就這角色接受傳媒訪問,主要都只是為了讓公眾更了解他們的工作、及澄清一些外界對他們的誤解或抹黑。

– 他們不習以為常地(甚至可以說是很少或沒有)高調宣告他們正在處理什麼具體有政治色彩的案件。他們很了解,他們協助的人士與案件已經是很高調、很敏感。高調對的案情或與執法人員交涉很多時候不止沒有幫助,還可能是有害。他們的專業讓他們明白,在這情況下,代表律師就需要更低調、更少就案件公開發言或用不必要地強悍的手法處理,因而為高調的當事人與案件做一個平衡。

– 同一時候,我知道外界時常誤會義務維權律師教導他們的當事人「玩」高調。我不敢說完全沒有義務律師這樣教導當事人(我不知道有沒有,因為我不在其圈子內,我亦不會就此猜測)。但我知道文浩正、楊岳橋及與他們思維相近的義務律師就大多時候都不鼓勵當事人高調回應案件、有時甚至反對。當然,當事人有時有不能避免的政治考慮去決定高調不高調,但至少作為律師的文、楊與其相近者,就總是把當事人的法律權利與利益放先於政治考慮或高調處理具體案件能為自己帶來的名氣。

– 他們失敗不會氣餒然後大罵四方,他們成功亦不會就自己的角色大肆鋪張。我夠膽說,他們在這幾年來在個別案件中默默耕耘得來的一些小勝利或小進展,是公眾永遠都不會知道的,因為他們知道如果就這些事太高調,下一次就很有機會爭取不會那些較好或不太壞的結果。

伸張正義固然是好,而作為一個自己沒有做這些案件的滿身銅臭律師,我向所有願意做這些案件的行家致謝。但文浩正、楊岳橋與他們想法相近的行家的那份專業、那份無私、那份不求掌聲只求做好件事的作風,就更值得大家至高無上的致敬。

* 以上是筆者個人意見,不代表他所屬的律師行或團體。

任建峰

執業律師

(原文載於2017年6月30日《立場新聞》)

【七問七答】入境事務主任同性配偶福利案 (7 Questions and Answers on the Immigration Officer’s Court Case on Same-sex Spouse Benefits)

(Please scroll down for English Version)

1. 案件的起源起及背景是怎樣?

申請人梁鎮罡先生是高級入境事務主任。他是一名同性戀者。在2014年4月,梁先生與同性伴侶Adams 先生在紐西蘭結婚(判詞第5-7段)。

2014年12月,公務員事務局局長回覆梁先生,指由於同性婚姻不屬《婚姻條例》下的「婚姻」,因此梁先生的丈夫不能享有《公務員事務規例》下給公務員配偶的福利(「福利決定」)(判詞第15段)。

2015年6月,稅務局局長回覆梁先生,指由於同性婚姻不屬《稅務條例》下的「婚姻」,因此網上報稅表不能填寫同性人士作為伴侶(「稅務決定」)(判詞第18段)。

梁先生就「福利決定」及「稅務決定」申請司法覆核,由高等法院原頌法庭法官周家明(「法官」)審理。

2. 法庭如何就公務員事務局的「福利決定」作出裁決?

政府指,決定是否發放福利的準則實為「合法婚姻狀態」;但法官認為,因為香港的法例不認可同性婚姻,而梁先生因其性傾向不會步入異性戀婚姻,因此,「福利決定」最起碼是間接基於性傾向作出差別待遇。(判詞第47-54段)

該差別待遇並非有理可據。法官看不到若給予外國合法結婚的同性伴侶與異性伴侶一樣的福利,會出現任何不法的問題,亦看不到不給予同性伴侶福利,如何能夠保護傳統家庭制度(判詞第65-66段)。因此,「福利決定」屬對梁先生基於性傾向的非法歧視(判詞第78段)。

3. 法庭如何就稅務局的「稅務決定」作出裁決?

稅務局局長只是裁斷了「同性婚姻」不符合《稅務條例》下「婚姻」的定義(判詞第81段)。本司法覆核並非挑戰《稅務條例》下的「婚姻」定義,而是覆核稅務局局長就「婚姻」一詞的解釋。這個解釋本身在法律上是正確的(判詞第86-87段)。

本覆核並不涉及《稅務條例》下「婚姻」定義或伴侶評稅的機制是否符合《基本法》或《香港人權法案》中平等權的條文,法官不就此問題表達意見(判詞第88段)。

4. 為何法庭在「福利決定」與「稅務決定」有不同的裁決?

法官注意到在普通法及憲法下,「婚姻」一詞是指異性戀婚姻(判詞第85段)。「福利決定」與「稅務決定」不同之處,在於後者純屬是解釋《稅務條例》下的「婚姻」定義,法官認為政府在釋義上是正確的;但前者是政府推行一個政策,使用了這個「婚姻」定義,導致這個政策下的「福利決定」帶歧視性,因此違法。如果梁先生是直接挑戰《稅務條例》下的「婚姻」一詞不應只包含異性戀婚姻,會不會有不同的結果呢?

5. 法庭有沒有承認同性婚姻?

法官觀察,是否承認同性婚姻,屬社會政策,應交由立法機關決定,而非法院。而且,他未察覺《基本法》或《香港人權法案》中有任何條文要求香港法律必須承認同性婚姻(判詞第91(2)(a) 及(b)段)。因此,今次案件並沒有承認同性婚姻。

6. 什麼是「間接歧視」?

間接歧視在法律上可用下例子說明:如果某公司規定,如果要晉升經理,身高必須達1.75m以上,雖然這規定是適用於所有員工,但實際上能夠符合此要求的女性可能遠低於男性,而如果該規定並非有合理解釋,則會構成基於性別的「間接歧視」。

根據法官在本案的思路,「福利決定」可視為基於性傾向的「間接歧視」。

7. 裁決對私人公司員工福利政策有影響嗎?

是次裁決是就《基本法》及《香港人權法案》的裁決,裁決結果只對政府有效力。當然,如果政府落實裁決內容為海外結婚的同性伴侶提供同等福利,對私人機構能有帶頭作用。要令私人機構或僱主為海外結婚的同性伴侶提供同等福利,仍須訂立反性傾向歧視法。

 

7 Questions and Answers on the Immigration Officer’s Court Case on Same-sex Spouse Benefits

1. What are the background facts and cause of action of this case?

The Applicant, Mr Leung Chun-kwong, is a Senior Immigration Officer who self-identified as a gay person. In April 2014, Mr Leung married his same-sex partner, Mr Adams, in New Zealand. (Judgment paragraph 5-7)

In December 2014, Mr Leung was informed by the Secretary for the Civil Service that since same-sex marriage did not fall within the definition of “marriage” under the Marriage Ordinance, Mr Leung’s husband would not be entitled to benefits available to spouses of civil servants under the Civil Service Regulations (the “Benefit Decision”) (Judgment paragraph 15).

Similarly, In June 2015, Mr Leung was informed by the Commissioner of Inland Revenue that since same-sex marriage was not regarded as a valid marriage for the purposes of the Inland Revenue Ordinance (the “IRO”), the online tax filing system would not accept a taxpayer to enter a person with the same sex as his/her spouse (the“Tax Decision”) (Judgment paragraph 18).

Mr Leung applied for judicial review against the Benefits Decision and the Tax Decision, which was heard before Mr Justice Anderson Chow at the Court of First Instance of the High Court (the“Judge”).

2. How did the Court rule on the Decision on Benefits by the CSB?

The Government argued that the true eligibility criterion for the spousal benefits is “legal martial status”. However, the Judge took the view that since the laws of Hong Kong did not recognize same-sex marriages and Mr Leung could not be expected to enter into a heterosexual marriage due to his sexual orientation, the Benefits Decision amounts to differential treatment at least indirectly based on sexual orientation (Judgment paragraphs 47-54).

Such differential treatment was not justified. The Judge could see nothing illegal or unlawful to accord the same spousal benefits to homosexual couples who are legally married under foreign laws. He also could not see how the denial of spousal benefits to homosexual couples would serve the purpose of protecting the institution of the tradition family. (Judgment paragraphs 65-66).  The Benefit Decision was thus held to be unlawful discrimination against Mr Leung based on his sexual orientation (Judgment paragraph 78).

3. How did the Court rule on the Decision on Taxation by the IRD?

The Commissioner of Inland Revenue only determined that same-sex marriage was not a marriage for the purpose of the IRO (Judgment paragraph 81).  The subject judicial review was a not a challenge of the definition of “marriage” in the IRO, but a review of the determination by the Commissioner of Inland Revenue on the interpretation of “marriage” under the IRO.  The said interpretation was correct as a matter of law (Judgment paragraph 86-87).

The current judicial review did not touch upon whether the equality provisions in the Basic Law or the Hong Kong Bill of Rights would require a different interpretation to be given to the term “marriage” in the IRO. The Judge expressed no view on this issue (Judgment paragraph 88).

4. Why the Court gave different decisions on the Decision on Benefits and the Decision on Taxation?

The Judge was aware that under common law and constitutional purposes, “marriage” means heterosexual marriage (Judgment paragraph 85). The difference between the Benefits Decision and the Tax Decision is that, the latter was merely an interpretation of the term “marriage” in the IRO, on which the Judge took the view that the Government was correct in the interpretation sense. However, the former was to use such interpretation of the term “marriage” in a policy, making the policy discriminatory and hence unlawful. If Mr Leung had directly challenged that the term “marriage” should not have only included heterosexual marriage in the IRO, would the result have been different?

5. Has the Court approved same-sex marriage?

The Judge observed that whether to recognise same-sex marriage was a social policy decision for the legislature but not the court. Further, so far he could see nothing in the Basic Law or the Hong Kong Bill of Rights which required that Hong Kong law must recognise same-sex marriage. (Judgment paragraphs 91(2)(a) and (b)). Therefore, the current court decision has not approved same-sex marriage.

6. What is “indirect discrimination”?

Indirect discrimination can be illustrated in the following example. A company requires that an employee who may be promoted as manager must be of the height of 1.75 m or above, and such requirement applies to all employees. However, practically, the number of female employees who can satisfy such requirement may be much less than male.  Without a reasonable justification, such requirement constitutes “indirect discrimination” based on sex. According to the Judge’s reasoning, the Benefits Decision can be seen as indirect discrimination based on sexual orientation.

7. Does the court decision affect the employee benefit policies in private companies?

The court decision is concerned with the Basic Law and Hong Kong Bill of Rights. As such, the court decision will only be binding on the Government. Of course, if the Government could implement the court decision to provide the same spousal benefits to same-sex couples married overseas, this can set an example to encourage private companies to do the same.  In order for private companies or employees to provide the same benefits to same-sex couples married overseas, it is still essential to enact anti-discrimination laws on sexual orientation.

Article was originally published in Stand News on 2 May 2017

給高志森公開信:言論構成刑事藐視法庭 請盡早收回及道歉

高先生:

在2月14日的早上9時半左右,香港區域法院判七名警員在雨傘運動時「襲擊致造成身體傷害」社運人士曾健超罪成。到了當日下午1時33分,你在你的臉書專頁內說:「黃絲法官偏幫亂港反港分子。本土港獨暴徒縱火、打警察、破壞公物,狗官就輕判、甚至判無罪,實在偏頗至極。」

你公開了這看法後,有輿論指出,你的言論構成藐視法庭。你在當日下午5時15分回應:「黃屍想用我以上呢段文字砌我,可笑!我以上有邊粒字係談論今天判的案件?有邊粒字係『藐視法庭」』??」然後,在當晚9時37分,你更說:「我不是儍的,我並冇評論今天的判案。」當晚你接受報章訪問時,你強調你有發表這些言論的言論自由。

社會的確有言論自由,法院的運作或判決是可以批評的。但為了維護法治、司法獨立,本港與海外法院在多宗案件中都表明,任何有意或罔顧地、而又在沒有充份證據情況下發表一些損害法院或法官權威、或干預司法公正的言論都能構成刑事藐視法庭。根據這個大原則,你在2月14日臉書言論頗明顯地犯上刑事藐視法庭。

首先,你的言論不針對具體判決並不表示不會構成藐視成份,因為藐視法庭的定義根本不是要與任何具體判決掛鈎的。你在毫無證據、根據下指控法官按照個人政見判案(「黃絲法官偏幫?」),然後再在毫無理據下稱法官為「狗官」。有關言論吸引了超過1,000個臉書用戶的「LIKE」,留言的網民亦按你的榜樣在帖文下瘋狂地辱罵法院、法官。這不是損害法院權威的言論還是甚麼?

第二,你公開說你覺得自己不是「儍」,因為沒有提到當天的判案。但這句話反而顯示你其實有意以當日七警案判決借題發揮,但就自以為醒,認為只要向司法發出概括性的謾罵就能「走法律罅」。這不是有意地去發表損害司法權威的言論還是甚麼?

第三,就算你沒有意圖的,你的罔顧還是構成刑事藐視法庭。你是知名度甚高的演藝界人士。你的製作公司網頁形容你持十多個職銜,更曾獲香港政府頒授榮譽勳章。你的臉書專頁有超過2.7萬個臉書用戶「LIKE」。你不能說你的言論沒有影響力。但你還去這樣含血噴人,這不是罔顧後果的言論還是甚麼?

至於你會不會被檢控,這是律政司的獨立決定。我就不會像有些建制律師那樣,企圖在檢控問題上向律政司施壓。但近兩年來,律政司司長曾多次勸喻不同政治光譜的批評法院者不要作出藐視法庭行為,還說會在有需要時毫不猶豫地採取行動。但你竟然把這些勸喻當成「耳邊風」。律政司遲早都不能止於勸喻,會需要以行動捍衞法院、提出檢控。

因此,我呼籲你盡早公開收回你的言論及就此道歉。否則,我祝你好運。如果像你這樣的有影響力人士可以無視律政司司長過往的好言相勸,公然藐視法庭都不被檢控,我祝香港好運。

祝你生意興隆、財運亨通。

任建峰

法政匯思召集人

(註:以上是筆者的意見,不代表他所屬的律師行。)

(原文載於2017年2月16日《立場新聞》)

人大釋法 FAQs (FAQs regarding the Interpretation by the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress on 7 November 2016)

法政匯思就 2016 年 11 月 7 日人大常委會釋法的常見問題集 (FAQs)

1. 全國人民代表大會常務委員會(「人大常委會」)有什麼權力解釋《基本法》? 

根據《中華人民共和國憲法》第 67(4)條及《基本法》第 158(1)條,人大常 委會擁有一般性和不受約制的權力解釋《基本法》。香港終審法院亦在劉港榕訴入境事務處處長一案的判決中確認此權力。

然而此權力應該非常謹慎地使用。香港大律師公會和香港律師會過去均一 直呼籲人大常委會需要非常克制地使用此權力,因為釋法會令人擔心法治 及司法獨立受干預。

2. 人大常委會有權解釋香港本地法律嗎? 

沒有。

人大常委會的權力僅限於解釋《基本法》的條文,此權力並不包括解釋香 港的法例。基本法委員會委員陳弘毅教授曾指出若人大常委會的行為超越 《基本法》所賦與它的權力,「即使人大常委會聲稱其解釋(不論是因明示 條款或必然含意)適用於香港,香港法庭可以合法地判決該解釋於香港是 沒有法律效力的」。

3. 過去人大常委會曾於什麼情況下解釋《基本法》?

歷史上,人大常委會曾經四度釋法 :

(1) 1999 年 6 月,人大常委會就《基本法》第 22 條(4)及第 24 條(2)及(3) 釋法,推翻香港終審法院就吳嘉玲訴入境處處長一案的判決。該次 釋法於終審法院判政府敗訴後應行政長官要求而作出。

(2) 2004 年 4 月,人大常委會就《基本法》附件一第 7 條及附件二第 3 條釋法,本質上為政改程序附加兩個步驟。該次釋法由人大常委會 主動提出。

(3) 2005 年 4 月,人大常委會就《基本法》第 53 條(2)作出第三次釋法。 該釋法是應行政長官要求作出,以處理因行政長官提早離任而需選 出繼任的新行政長官的任期。

(4) 2011 年 8 月,人大常委會應香港終審法院的要求就《基本法》第 13 條(1)及第 19 條作出解釋。該釋法於終審法院在剛果民主共和國訴 FG Hemisphere Associates LLC 一案頒令臨時判決後作出。

4. 香港法庭有否要求人大常委會為今次的議題作出解釋?

沒有。

該釋法是不受約制的,即是由人大常委會主動提出,而非由香港政府或香 港法院的提請下而作出的。

5. 最新的釋法內容是怎樣的?

人大常委會最新的釋法是在 2016 年 11 月 7 日作出的,它涉及《基本法》 第 104 條的內容。

基本法第 104 條訂明:

「香港特別行政區行政長官、主要官員、行政會議成員、立法會議 員、各級法院法官和其他司法人員在就職時必須依法宣誓擁護中華 人民共和國香港特別行政區基本法,效忠中華人民共和國香港特別 行政區。」

而人大常委會的釋法基本上指出:

(1) 任何人不得擔任第104條所述的有關人員,或接受該職位的報酬,除非及直至該人士依法有效地作出宣誓。

(2) 根據《基本法》第104條規定作宣誓的人,必須以「真誠」、「莊重」 的方式宣誓維護《基本法》和效忠香港特別行政區,並且必須「準確」、「完整」、「莊重」地把字句讀出。

(3) 如宣誓人拒絕宣誓,即喪失就任相關公職的資格。宣誓人故意宣讀與 法定誓言不一致的誓言或以任何「不真誠」或「不莊重」的方式宣誓 ,即屬于拒絕宣誓和喪失就任相關公職的資格。

(4) 監誓人須按照《基本法》和人大常委會的釋法決定誓言的有效性。 監 誓人須宣布任何作出跟《基本法》及人大常委會的釋法所作出不一致 誓言的人士之誓言為無效,並不得安排該人士重新宣誓。

(5) 如宣誓人不相信該誓言或作出違反該誓言的行為,須承擔法律責任。

6. 香港有甚麼相關法律和本地法例規管依照《基本法》第 104 條所作出的宣誓?

(1) 《基本法》第 104 條中訂明「必須依法宣誓」,即是宣誓的細節及方 式應由本地法例 - 《宣誓及聲明條例》(香港法例第11章)所規管。

(2) 《宣誓及聲明條例》第21條訂明了如任何人拒絕或忽略作出誓言,則 須被取消其就任資格(該人若已就任,則必須離任)。而該條例的第 19條則規定了立法會議員須於其任期開始後盡快作出立法會誓言。

7. 人大常委會的釋法對本地法例有何影響? 

人大常委會的釋法相當於打著釋法的旗號,企圖進行解釋、修改、或重寫 《宣誓及聲明條例》。《基本法》第104條並沒有任何空間讓人大常委會去訂 明在香港作出宣誓的規定。有關的規定屬香港本地法例《宣誓及聲明條例》 所管轄。而是次的釋法的內容是在《宣誓及聲明條例》中沒有提及的,因 此是在該條例以外所新增的規定,甚至是要企圖「解釋」該條例中的條文。

根據《基本法》,原在香港實行的普通法體制予以保留,而香港法院亦被授 權解釋本地法例及澄清法例上任何含糊不清之處。當人大常委會透過是次 釋法解釋(或重新撰寫)本地法例時,它這次的釋法行為已超出了《基本 法》中所被賦予的權力。

8. 人大常委會的釋法對高等法院正進行的司法覆核案件會有何影響?

在該司法覆核案中,申請人要求法庭批予的其中一項濟助是「一份聲明說明立法會主席並沒有權力重新監誓或容許重新宣誓」。而人大常委會的釋法 則成功透過解釋《基本法》而粗暴干預司法覆核的程序。

嚴格按照法律而言,是次釋法的部分(甚至全部的)內容已超過解釋《基 本法》的範圍,因此不具法律效力及約束力。可惜,現實中並沒有可行的 機制去制衡人大常委會。正因如此,現階段亦難以預計是次釋法會如何影 響正進行的司法覆核案件或其他人就法庭判決所作出的行動。

9. 為什麼我們認為人大常委會的釋法嚴重削弱香港的法治以及自治?

人大常委會的釋法對於以往向香港保證,並已成為香港多年來繁榮基石的 高度自治和司法獨立,造成不可挽救的損害,原因如下:

(1) 有關的事項是可以由香港法院解釋《基本法》第 104 條和引用本地法 例(包括《宣誓及聲明條例》)解決。第 104 條特別提到宣誓必須「依 法」,這表示與宣誓有關的方法和形式應該由本地法例管轄。

(2) 人大常委會的釋法是在司法覆核申請的聆訊已經展開和等候判決期 間作出的。顯然此舉是設計來干擾法院的判決。

(3) 人大常委會的釋法是由人大常委會主動提出,而非由香港政府或香港 法院的提請下而作出的。

(4) 從效果來說,人大常委會的釋法前所未有地重寫/重新制定本地法例和 侵犯香港立法會的立法權力。

(5) 人大常委會通過釋法推翻立法會主席允許梁頌恆和游蕙禎重新宣誓 的決定,還干擾了立法會的內部事務。

10. 如果人大常委會有權力解釋《基本法》,為什麼仍然說釋法對香港的法治 和司法獨立是不好的?這次釋法跟之前幾次釋法有什麼分別?這會如何影 響投資者對香港的信心? 

這次人大常委會行使釋法的權力實際上干預待決的司法程序,還有香港自 主行使的立法酌情權。人大常委會的釋法越過了解釋《基本法》第 104 條 的界線,進而提供了本屬於本地立法權限的規則細節。這顯然是藐視資本 主義制度和香港繁榮的基石 – 法治。

11. 如果人大常委會要釋法,它在法院頒下判詞之前釋法會否比法院的決定實 際上被釋法推翻更好? 

人大常委會在判決尚未頒下時釋法會對法治和司法獨立造成更大的傷害。 它發出一個訊息,說明當權者只願意接受一個(對其有利的)結果,而且 法院必須屈服,即使它仍處於審議這些問題的過程。 這標誌著一個不尊重 法治的法律制度。

12. 我們對關於宣誓和忠誠宣言的問題不太確定。釋法使香港法律更清晰,這不是好事嗎?

香港法律可以而且應該由香港法院澄清,而且應該由香港立法機關制定。 即使人大常委會的釋法「澄清」任何不明朗因素,這種澄清的代價是讓我 們的法治和香港的自主權受到侵蝕。

13. 但是人們普遍認為,基於梁頌恆和游蕙禎的愚蠢行為,他們不應該被允許成為立法會議員。 如果釋法可以叫停上述情況,那不是一件好事嗎?

我們不支持在正式的政治演講中使用不恰當的語言,我們亦同意《基本法》 清楚說明香港是中國不可分割的一部分。 然而,《基本法》亦訂明了如被 選舉權(第 26 條)及言論自由(第 27 條)這樣的基本權利。 人大常委會 的釋法削弱了這些基本權利,以及香港的司法獨立和自主權。 如果人大常 委會任意以政治目的來「解釋」《基本法》,《基本法》所保障的基本人權和 商業權利的前景將會非常黯淡。

法政匯思
2016 年 11 月 8 日

 

The Progressive Lawyers Group’s FAQs Regarding the Interpretation by the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress on 7 November 2016

1. What are the NPCSC’s powers of interpretation of the Basic Law?

Article 67(4) of the PRC Constitution and Article 158(1) of the Basic Law gives NPCSC has a freestanding and plenary power of interpretation of the Basic Law. This was also confirmed in the Hong Kong Court of Final Appeal case of Lau Kong Yung v Director of Immigration (1999) 2 HKCFAR 300.

However, this power should be sparingly used. Both the Hong Kong Bar Association and the Law Society of Hong Kong have in the past consistently called on the NPCSC to use this power with great restraint, as this would give rise to concerns about the rule of law and judicial independence.

2. Does the NPCSC have the power to interpret local law in Hong Kong? 

No. The NPCSC’s power only extends to interpreting provisions of the Basic Law itself. This power does not extend to the interpretation of local Hong Kong statutes. Professor Albert Chen, a Basic Law Committee member, had said previously that if the NPCSC acts in a way that falls outside powers given to it under Basic Law, “Hong Kong courts can legitimately claim that they have no legal force in Hong Kong (even if they purport to apply to Hong Kong by their express terms of by necessary implication)”.

3. What were the previous situations when the NPCSC’s power of interpretation had been utilised? 

Historically, there have been four NPCSC interpretations:

(1) The interpretation issued by the NPCSC in June 1999 on Articles 22(4) and 24(2)(3) of the Basic Law, which effectively reversed the CFA’s judgment in Ng Ka Ling v Director of Immigration (1999) 2 HKCFAR 4. This interpretation was issued at the request of the Chief Executive (after the CFA had ruled against the Government).

(2) In April 2004, the NPCSC issued an interpretation on Article 7 of Annex I and Article III of Annex II of the Basic Law, in essence adding two extra steps to the procedure for electoral reform. This interpretation was issued on the NPCSC’s own initiative.

(3) In April 2005, the NPCSC issued a third interpretation, on Article 53(2) of the Basic Law. This was issued at the request of the Chief Executive, and dealt with the term of a new Chief Executive elected to replace an outgoing Chief Executive whose term ended prematurely.

(4) In August 2011, the NPCSC issued an interpretation on Articles 13(1) and 19 of the Basic Law, pursuant to a request of the CFA. The interpretation was issued after the CFA handed down its provisional judgment in Democratic Republic of the Congo v FG Hemisphere Associates LLC(2011) 14 HKCFAR 95.

4. Did the Court refer the matter to the NPCSC for interpretation this time? 

No.

The Interpretation was “freestanding”, i.e. it was issued by the NPCSC on its own initiative and not in response to a request by the Hong Kong government or the Hong Kong courts.

5. What is the content of the latest interpretation? 

The latest interpretation by the NPCSC was issued on 7 November 2016 and it concerns Article 104 of the Basic Law. Article 104 of the Basic Law provides that:

“When assuming office, the Chief Executive, principal officials, members of the Executive Council and of the Legislative Council, judges of the courts at all levels and other members of the judiciary in the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region must, in accordance with law, swear to uphold the Basic Law of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region of the People’s Republic of China and swear allegiance to the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region of the People’s Republic of China.”

The NPCSC essentially stated that:

(1) A person may not take office as a relevant officer set out in Article 104 or receive remunerations for that office unless and until he/she has validly taken oath in accordance with the law.

(2) A person who takes an oath required under Article 104 of the Basic Law must swear to uphold the Basic Law and allegiance to the HKSAR with “sincerity”, “solemnity” and must utter those words “accurately”, “completely” and with “solemnity”.

(3) If a person declines to take the oath, that person is disqualified to take office. If a person deliberately utters words which are different from the statutory prescribed form of the oath, or takes the oath in a manner which is “insincere” or “not solemn”, that person is deemed to have declined to take oath and disqualified to take office as a result.

(4) The officer administering the oath shall determine the validity of the oath in accordance with the Basic Law and the NPCSC interpretation. The administering officer shall declare any oath taken by a person which is inconsistent with the Basic Law and the NPCSC interpretation invalid and may not arrange for the retaking of the oath by that person.

(5) A person who takes the oath without believing in it or acts in contravention to the oath shall bear legal consequences.

6. What are the relevant laws and local legislations governing the taking of oath under Article 104 of the Basic Law?

(1) Article 104 provides that the taking of oath “shall be in accordance with law”, which means the details and the mode of the taking of oath shall be regulated by local legislations, being the Oaths and Declarations Ordinance (Cap. 11, the “OADA”) in this case.

(2) Section 21 of the OADA provides for the disqualification of a person who declines or neglects to take the oath (or the vocation of that office if that person has already entered office). Section 19 of the Oaths Ordinance provides that a LegCo member shall take oath as soon as possible after commencement of his term of office.

7. What is the impact of the NPCSC interpretation on local legislations?

The NPCSC interpretation amounts to an attempt to interpret, amend or rewrite of the OADA in the guise of an interpretation of the Basic Law. There is nothing in article 104 that gives room for the NPCSC to prescribe rules for oath taking in Hong Kong. Such prescriptions are matters of Hong Kong domestic law under the OADA. The prescriptions in this NPCSC interpretation are not found in the OADA, and are thus additional to or otherwise an attempt to “interpret” the OADA. –

Under the Basic Law, Hong Kong has a common law system and Hong Kong courts are empowered to interpret local legislation and clarify ambiguities of such legislations should there be any. To the extent the NPCSC interprets (or reinvents) local legislation, the NPCSC interpretation is acting outside of its powers under the Basic Law.

8. What is the impact of the NPCSC interpretation on the judicial review proceedings currently pending in the High Court?

Part of the relief sought in the judicial review application is “A declaration that the President [of the Legislative Council] has no power to re-administer or allow for re-administration”. The NPCSC interpretation has effectively sought to torpedo the judicial review proceedings in the guise of interpreting the Basic Law.

We consider that strictly as a matter of law, the parts of the NPCSC interpretation which go beyond an interpretation of the Basic Law (which is virtually all of it) are of no legal effect and not binding legally. However, the reality is that there is no practical mechanism to hold the NPCSC to account. It is therefore difficult to predict how the NPCSC interpretation may affect pending Court proceedings or actions taken by other parties as a result of the Court’s ruling(s).

9. Why do we think that the NPCSC interpretation severely undermines the rule of law and the autonomy of Hong Kong? 

The NPCSC interpretation causes irreparable harm to the high degree of autonomy and judicial independence that was guaranteed to Hong Kong and has been the cornerstone of its prosperity, for the following reasons:

(1) The matter is one which can be resolved by Hong Kong Courts by interpreting Article 104 of the Basic Law and by applying local legislations including the Oaths Ordinance. Article 104 specifically states that the oath ought to be taken “in accordance with law”, which signifies that the matters in connection with the mode and manner in which the oath is taken should be governed by local legislations.

(2) The NPCSC interpretation was issued at a time when the hearing of the judicial review application has already taken place and the judgment is pending. It is clearly designed to interfere with the court’s decision.

(3) The NPCSC interpretation was issued on the NPCSC’s own volition not at the invitation of the CFA or the Hong Kong government.

(4) It has the unprecedented effect of rewriting/reinventing local legislations and intrudes upon the legislative powers of the Legislative Council of Hong Kong.

(5) It effectively overruled the decision of the President of LegCo to allow the retaking of oath by Leung and Yau and interferes with the internal affairs of the Legislative Council.

10. If the NPCSC does have the power to interpret the Basic Law, then why still say this is bad for the rule of law and judicial independence in Hong Kong? What are the differences between this occasion and previous occasions? How might this affect investor confidence in Hong Kong?

The NPCSC’s exercise of power effectively interferes with pending judicial process and the autonomous exercise of Hong Kong legislative discretion. The NPCSC Interpretation has also gone beyond interpreting Article 104 of the Basic Law and has proceeded to make legislative prescriptions which are within the remit of local legislation. This is a clear flouting of the rule of law which is the cornerstone of the capitalist system and the prosperity of Hong Kong.

11. If there is to be an NPCSC interpretation, is it not better to have it before the Court rules rather than have the Court effectively “overruled” by an interpretation later on?

For the NPCSC Interpretation to take place while judgment is still pending does more harm to the rule of law and the judicial independence. It sends a signal that those in power are only willing to accept one result (i.e. one in its favour) in any legal dispute, and that the Courts must yield to that even if they are still in the process of considering the issues. This is the hallmark of a legal system that disrespects the rule of law.

12. We have had so much uncertainty over the issues surrounding oaths and declarations of allegiances. Is it not good to have this interpretation to give greater clarity on Hong Kong laws? 

Hong Kong laws can and should be clarified by Hong Kong Courts, and should be made by the Hong Kong legislature. Even if the NPCSC Interpretation does “clarify” any uncertainties, the costs of such clarification is the erosion of our rule of law and the autonomy of Hong Kong.

13. But popular opinion now is that Sixtus Leung and Yau Wai Ching should not be allowed to be in LegCo given their antics. If the interpretation can put a stop to that, is that not a good thing? 

We do not support the use of inappropriate language in formal political discourse, and we accept that the Basic Law makes it clear that Hong Kong is an inalienable part of China. However, the Basic Law also sets out fundamental rights such as the right to stand for election (Article 26) and freedom of expression (Article 27). The NPCSC Interpretation undermines these fundamental rights, the judicial independence and the autonomy of Hong Kong. It bodes ill for the future of fundamental human and commercial rights guaranteed by the Basic Law if the NPCSC “interprets” the Basic Law for political ends whenever it sees fit.

Progressive Lawyers Group 8 November 2016

Article was originally published in Stand News on 8 November 2016

回應教育局近日對教師發出警告之公開信 (An Open Letter on the Education Bureau’s Recent Warning to Teachers)

(Please scroll down for English Version)

香港添馬添美道二號
政府總部東翼十一樓
香港特別行政區政府
教育局局長吳克儉先生 SBS, JP

2016年8月22日

尊敬的吳局長:

回應教育局近日對教師發出警告之公開信

根據不同的新聞報導,教育局 (「局方」) 近日發出警告,警告裏表示教師如被發現在校內鼓吹港獨思想或會被取消註冊教師資格。 根據局方的警告,該等行為構成「違法或失德」。局方更提醒本地學校的法團校董會有責任提醒它們的教師應以《基本法》為基礎,不能在校園宣揚港獨。

法政匯思謹此來函促請局方撤回該警告,並向教師充分保證其言論自由將受到保護。我們的理據如下。

首先,我們注意到《教育條例》(「該條例」) 並無任何條文容許有關當局因教師宣揚某種政見(例如港獨)而取消其註冊資格。

該條例第47條已列明取消教師註冊的理由。該條規定教員如「不稱職」或其行為「足以構成專業上的失當行為」, 其註冊才可被取消。

對於就教師純綷向學生提出港獨議題便構成專業上的失當行為或被視為不稱職的任何建議,我們均表示強烈反對。

香港教育專業守則(「該守則」)清楚表明一位教育工作者:

(1)應激勵學生探究及獲取知識的精神(見第2.2段);

(2)可以與學生討論有爭議性的話題,但應盡量保持客觀(見第2.2.13段) ;

(3)應鼓勵學生獨立思考,並以知識作為基礎而作出理性的判斷(見第2.2.14段);

(4)應培養學生民主精神並教育學生尊重他人(見第2.2.18段);

(5)應注意時事,關心社會問題(見第2.6.6段);

(6)當公眾意見分歧時,應教導學生尊重不同的立場和觀點(見第2.6.7段);

(7)應把尊重人權的教育視為要務(見第2.6.8段);及

(8)應致力培養學生的自由、和平、平等、理性及民主等意識(見第2.6.9段)。

故此, 培養學生對事情作獨立思考及就社會不同觀點(包括一些與政府相反的立場)作批判性的討論,其實是教育工作者的責任之一。局方現在竭力禁制某些政治觀點的討論,正正跟教師的責任背道而馳。

我們更必須指出,根據現行法律,僅是宣傳港獨並不構成刑事罪行。

按照上面所述,我們完全看不到局方有任何法律理據可以將純粹宣傳港獨等同於「不法活動或不當行為」。

在這種情況下,我們對於局方對教師的恐嚇性警告感到極度失望。這不僅是因為此等警告沒有任何法律基礎,此等警告也只會扼殺自由討論,而這正是直接違背了該守則所維護的價值。

因此,我們敦促局方撤回其警告,並且向教師提供充分的保證-正如《基本法》、人權法案、以及該守則所承諾的保障一樣-以確保所有的教師都有權擁有言論自由,以及在課堂內可以提供一個培養批判性思考和辯論的環境的自由,而此等環境更應包括談論具有爭議性的議題。

此致

法政匯思

 

Mr. Eddie Ng Hak-kim SBS JP,
Secretary for Education,
The Government of the HKSAR,
11/F, East Wing, Central Government Offices,
2 Tim Mei Avenue, Tamar,
Hong Kong.

22 August 2016

Dear Mr. Ng,

An Open Letter on the Bureau’s Recent Warning to Teachers

According to recent reports, the Education Bureau (“the Bureau”) has warned that teachers may lose their qualifications if they are found to have promoted Hong Kong independence in schools. According to the Bureau, such conduct constitutes “unlawful activity or misconduct”. The Bureau has also asked the Incorporated Management Committees of local schools to remind their teachers not to advocate the idea of independence in schools, on the basis that this violates the Basic Law.
We write to urge the Bureau to withdraw its warning, and instead provide full assurance to teachers that their freedom of speech will be protected. Our grounds are as follows.

First and foremost, we note that there is nothing at all in the Education Ordinance (“the Ordinance”) that allows for the de-registration of a teacher simply because he or she has promoted a certain political view, such as Hong Kong independence.
Section 47 of the Ordinance sets out the grounds for cancellation of a teacher’s registration. It provides that the registration of a teacher may be cancelled if the teacher has behaved in a way which “constituted professional misconduct” or is “incompetent”.

We strongly disagree with any suggestion that a teacher would be guilty of professional misconduct, or regarded as incompetent, simply by virtue of the fact that he has raised the topic of Hong Kong independence with his students.

The Code for the Education Profession of Hong Kong (“the Code”) makes it clear that a teacher:

(1) Should endeavour to stimulate the spirit of inquiry and the acquisition of knowledge in his students (see paragraph 2.2);
(2) May discuss controversial matters with students provided that he adopts an objective viewpoint so far as possible (see paragraph 2.2.13);
(3) Should encourage students to think independently and to form their rational judgments based upon knowledge (see paragraph 2.2.14);
(4) Should foster among students a sense of democracy and educate them to respect others (see paragraph 2.2.18);
(5) Should be aware of current affairs (see paragraph 2.6.6);
(6) Should teach students to respect different positions and opinions in matters over which public opinion is divided (see paragraph 2.6.7);
(7) Should treat as a primary duty the teaching of respect for human rights (see paragraph 2.6.8); and
(8) Should nurture in students the concepts of freedom, peace, equality, rationality, and democracy (see paragraph 2.6.8).

Thus, contrary to the Bureau’s efforts to ban discussion of certain political viewpoints, it is in fact part of a teacher’s duty to foster independent thinking and critical debate on different perspectives within society – including those that may not be aligned with the Government’s position.

We would also point out that mere advocacy of Hong Kong independence is not a criminal offence under the current law.

In light of the above, we entirely fail to see any legal justification for the Bureau to equate mere advocacy of Hong Kong independence with “unlawful activity or misconduct”.

In the circumstances, we are extremely dismayed at the Bureau’s intimidating warning towards teachers, which is not only without any legal foundation, but will also only serve to stifle free discussion – which is in direct contradiction to the values enshrined in the Code.

We therefore urge the Bureau to withdraw its warning, and instead provide full assurance to teachers that, as guaranteed by the Basic Law, the Bill of Rights, and the Code, all teachers are entitled to freedom of speech and to foster an environment of critical thinking and debate within their classroom, including regarding controversial issues.

Yours sincerely,
Progressive Lawyers Group

 

Article was originally published in Stand News on 22 August 2016

法政匯思就選舉管理委員會就香港獨立事件的近期舉動之「常見問題」(FAQs in relation to the Electoral Affairs Commission’s recent actions on the issue of Hong Kong independence)

(Please scroll down for English Version)

法政匯思就選舉管理委員會就香港獨立事件的近期舉動之「常見問題」(FAQs)

【A. 前言】

自從本屆立法會於 2016 年 9 月 4 日選舉(「選舉」)投票日的提名期開始,選舉管理委員會(「選管會」)就有關於香港獨立事件的一系列行為引起了廣泛的辯論,其中也不乏眾多的法律議題。法政匯思就以下常見的法律問題準備了答案,闡明我們就背景事實的理解和我們的立場,以對這些法律議題作出澄清。

基於選舉指引,我們盡量避免直指相關候選人的名字或選區/組別。我們認為這樣並不影響我們在這些常見問題下所作出的分析。

*   *   *

【B. 發生了什麼事?】

Q1:什麼是選舉委員會要求選舉候選人簽署的「確認書」?

2016 年 7 月 14 日,選委會通過一份新聞公報表示,它將要求所有候選人簽署一份聲明確認書(「新確認書」),以作為選舉候選人提名的一部分。該新確認書包括以下確認內容:

– 候選人擁護《基本法》,並宣誓效忠香港特別行政區;

– 「擁護」《基本法》包括擁護以下條文:(a) 第 1 條:香港特別行政區是中華人民共和國不可分離的部分; (b) 第 12 條:香港特別行政區是中華人民共和國的一個享有高度自治權的地方行政區域,直轄於中央人民政府;(c) 第 159(4)條: 《基本法》若有任何修改,均不得與中華人民共和國對香港既定的基本方針政策相牴觸;及

– 若候選人作出虛假聲明,則干犯刑事罪行。

Q2:簽署新確認書是否前一項法律要求?

不是。

所有候選人都已必須簽署提名表格中已經包含該候選人會擁護《基本法》和保證效忠香港特別行政區的聲明。選管會亦已經明確表示,新確認書並不是一項法律要求,但選舉主任將用作考慮選舉候選人的提名的信息。

Q3: 是否所有候選人都簽署了新確認書?

不是。

Q4: 是否所有沒有簽署新確認書的選舉候選人都被取消參選資格?

不是。

共有四位選舉候選人因沒有簽署新確認書而被取消參選資格。其中一名候選人並無簽署新確認書或提名表格內法律要求之聲明(見上述 Q2),而其餘三位元有簽署提名表格內之聲明但沒有簽署新確認書的候選人都是因為他們曾經公開表明支持香港獨立而被取消參選資格。

儘管如此,大量其他有簽署提名表格內之聲明但無簽署新確認書的選舉候選人都獲確認為符合參選資格。

Q5: 是否所有簽署了新確認書的選舉候選人都獲確認參選資格?

不是。

兩位已簽署新確認書的選舉候選人最後仍被取消參選資格。兩人都因過去曾表示支持香港獨立而被取消資格。基本來說,他們在新確認書的簽署 都不獲選舉主任信納。在其中一個個案,選舉主任更拒絕信納該候選人早前回覆選舉主任書面查詢時對香港獨立作否定之表示。

Q6: 是否所有在過往曾表示支持香港獨立的選舉候選人都被取消參選資格?

不是。

有數名人士過往曾明確表示支持香港獨立或至少曾提倡香港自決並加入香港獨立作為選項,但都成功被獲確認為合資格選舉候選人。

Q7(a): 因此,即使撇除了法律分析,選管會在處理新確認書及個別選舉候選人就香港獨立的立場上,手法上是疑點重重、混亂、而且矛盾不一致?

是。

Q7(b): 為什麼?

坊間對此的陰謀論到處充斥。我們不需要去就此作猜測。但我們指出,選管會及其選舉主任是最適合就此解答及釋疑的人選。

*   *   *

【C. 法律問題 – 憲法框架及相關的國際法背景】

Q8: 上述 Q1 至 Q7 中概述的情況下,涉及那些基本權利?

《基本法》第 26 條指出:「香港特別行政區永久性居民依法享有選舉權和被選舉權。」

《基本法》第 27 條亦指出:「香港居民享有言論…… 的自由」。

《香港人權法案條例》第 16 條及第 21 條進一步保障香港居民的被選舉權及言論自由。該等條文分別與《公民權利和政治權利國際公約》第 19 條及第 25 條相應,而按《基本法》第 39 條《公民權利和政治權利國際公約》透過香港特別行政區的法律予以實施。

Q9: 但權利並不是絕對,而且是可以被依法限制的吧?

對。但香港終審法院已於一系列案例多次非常清楚地表明:

– 基本權利應獲得寬容的解讀,以至香港居民能全面享受這些權利;及

– 任何對基本權利的限制應獲得狹義的解讀,而政府有責任證明該限制是合理的。

Q10: 《基本法》的框架建基於香港是中國不可分割的一部分為前提,而香港的獨立與《基本法》的結構有根本性的矛盾。在這情況下,針對提倡香港獨立的基本權利作出限制,應該是合理的吧?

我們不同意,因為:

– 縱使《基本法》的文字與框架是以香港是中國不可分割的一部分為前提,這並不應被孤立地解讀。這是必需耀與《基本法》內保證賦予給香港居民的基本權利共同解讀。如果大家看看《中英聯合聲明》,就會留意到把中國對香港恢復行使主權的部分是不能從香港居民享有的基本權利的部分分割出來及被賦予較高地位的。兩者均為《中英聯合聲明》內列出的中國針對香港的基本政策。

– 其它地區(如美國、英國、加拿大)均有候選人甚至立法機關成員必須宣誓效忠自己的國家及/或擁護憲法的情況。但是在這些地區,公開提倡讓其區域獨立的候選人只要作出必須的效忠聲明及/或宣誓,就在過去或現在都未被阻止參選甚至成為當地立法機關的成員。

Q11: 但上述 Q10 所提及的例子涉及國家法例。香港只是中國國家內的一個地區。這些一定不是相關例子吧?

不正確。

上述 Q10 所提及的所有例子當中,提倡獨立人士過往或現在均列席區域立法機構(例如蘇格蘭議會或魁北克省議會)。其中英國不像美國或加拿大,並不是聯邦制國家,而是有被轉予的立法機構(例如蘇格蘭議會)。因此,我們不同意香港的所謂「地區性」地位將削弱其居民所享有的權利之說法。

*   *   *

【D. 法律問題 – 法例框架】

Q12:什麼條文規定了選舉候選人的資格準則?

《立法會條例》第 37 條列明候選人被提名的準則。該準則涉及如年齡、居留地和與(功能界別)行業相關的要求事項。

Q13: 在什麼情況下選舉候選人會被取消提名資格?

《立法會條例》第 39 條列明一位候選人在以下情況下將喪失在選舉中獲提名為候選人的資格。

這包括出任法官、持有外國政府職位、破產、被宣告患有精神病等等。

重要的是,該些情況還包括在任何時候被裁定犯叛逆罪、或者在選舉前五年內被裁定犯罪,並就該罪行被判處為期超逾三個月的監禁、賄賂或與選舉有關的罪行。

Q14:一個人必須符合那些要求才可成為一名獲有效提名的選舉候選人?

《立法會條例》第 40 條列明除非一個人向選舉主任繳⬀按金,以及作出幾項聲明及誓言,否則他不會獲得有效提名。

就目前而言,包含在選管會向選舉候選人提供的提名表格內的有關聲明是「一項示明該人會擁護《基本法》和保證效忠香港特別行政區的聲明」(見《立法會條例》第 40 (1)(b)(i)條)。

此外,《選舉管理委員會(選舉程式)(立法會)規例》(「該規例」)第 10 及 11 條列明幾項對潛在候選人的各種額外行政上的要求,如作聲明表明他有資格獲提名及提供有提名人簽署的提名表格以支援其提名。

Q15:誰決定一個人是否獲有效被提名為選舉候選人?

根據《立法會條例》第 42A 條及該規例第 16(1)條,這是選舉主任的決定。選舉主任必須在收到提名表格後「盡快」作出決定。

Q16:如果一個人已經遵守了 Q12 至 Q14 提及的所有要求,選舉主任還可以在什麼情況下斷定他不是一個獲有效提名的選舉候選人?

該等情況如下:

– 在候選人退出有關選舉或選舉主任決定有關提名表格無效的情況下,該規例第 16(2)條允許選舉主任使該候選人的參選資格作廢。然而,後者僅涉及到提名表格本身的不妥當,因為該規例第 18 條提到會給予候選人機會去更正任何可影響該提名表格有效性的事項。無論如何,在是次選舉中,選舉主任並沒有根據該規例第 16(2)條取消各候選人的資格。相反,他們基於對候選人的真誠缺乏信任,而藉此聲稱該候選人並不符合以上 Q14 所述第40(1)(b)(i)條所要求的條件。

– 該規例第 16(3)條規定,選舉主任「可並只可」基於某些理由而決定某項提名無效。這些理由包括沒有繳⬀適當的按金、候選人沒有在提名表格上簽署或提名人人數不足、候選人已去世、該人士在超過一個選區或界別中已獲提名和該人士並未符合《立法會條例》的要求(即是上文 Q12 至 Q14 所述的要求)。

Q17:選舉主任是否有權向選舉候選人進一步提問來索取資料以確定其獲參選提名的有效性?

該規例第 10(10)條規定選舉主任「可要求候選人提供選舉主任認為適當的任何其他資料,以令選舉主任信納(a)他有資格獲提名為候選人…..或(b)該項提名是有效的。」

驟眼一看,有人可能會認為選舉主任有權向候選人詢問任何事情或索取任何資料。然而,我們認為這種論據是不正確的。第 10(10)條意味著選舉主任只有權索取那些與選舉主任認為候選人將會因此而被取消資格的特定理由而相關的資料。例如,選舉主任無權索取有關候選人的宗教或政治信念的資料,因為該信念並不是一個選舉主任可以藉此而取消候選人資格的有效理由。

在這方面,有香港案例表明,即使表面上有法例給予一個人概括性的權利去索取進一步資料,該權力的運用必定要合理地跟該人士有權去作決定的特定理由有關。因此,有見及上述 Q12 至 Q16所述的事項,我們認為選舉主任沒有權力去就候選人過去對香港獨立的態度作出詢問,因為這不是選舉主任可以主張一名選舉候選人參選不合資格或無效的任何一個理由。

在這方面,有香港案例表明,即使表面上有法例給予一個人概括性的權利去索取進一步資料,該權力的運用必定要合理地跟該人士有權去作決定的特定理由有關。因此,有見及上述 Q12 至 Q16所述的事項,我們認為選舉主任沒有權力去就候選人過去對香港獨立的態度作出詢問,因為這不是選舉主任可以主張一名選舉候選人參選不合資格或無效的任何一個理由。

Q18:選舉主任是否有權對在提名過程中所作聲明中的真確性或其他方面作出判斷?

沒有。

海外案例明確指出,選舉主任的角色是行政性質的,僅是確保提供給他們的任何檔表面上符合要求。選舉主任並不能進行廣泛的調查並作出性質上的判斷。如果候選人被指控作出虛假聲明,即屬刑事罪行,並應最終由法院作出決定。

Q19:但是如果你們是錯誤的,選舉主任是否有權作出上述 Q18 的判斷?這是否意味著,在目前的情況下,選卌舉主任的確有權不相信選舉候選人根據《立法會條例》第 40(1)(b)(i)條所作的聲明,並裁定該候選人的提名無效?

不是。

基於我們上述 Q8 至 Q11 的答案和《基本法》第 26 和 27 條(以及在《香港人權法案條例》的相應部分),我們相信選舉主任無權僅是因為一個人曾發言和主張支持香港獨立,所以斷定他必然無法擁護《基本法》或者效忠香港。

承上述 Q13,《立法會條例》第 39 條列出一名選舉候選人的提名會取消的特定情況,這點也進一步引證了這個結論。例如,如有人在任何時候已被裁定犯叛逆罪或在過去五年內被判處三個月以上監禁(這很大可能會是因為他被裁定犯煽動叛亂、暴動等罪行而有機會判處的刑罰),他已經被取消資格。因此,現在已經有一個具體規定的機制(要求刑事起訴和定罪)去使犯有危害國家行為的候選人不合資格。可是,僅僅因為一名候選人曾經發言贊成和主張香港獨立,並不是第 39條所述的情況之一。

Q20: 但是如果你們就這點也是錯誤,而選舉主任的確有權作出上述 Q4 至 Q5 中概述的行為呢?

如事實的確是如此,香港基本權利與法治的未來發展是令人非常擔憂的。如果當權者可以就個人贊成香港獨立的發言或主張而禁止該人參選,那以後所有所謂違反《基本法》根本性前提的言論也可被視為不擁護《基本法》的證據。例子如下:

– 一國兩制是「根本性」的,難道所有支持「一國一制」的候選人都可以被取消參選資格?

– 司法獨立是「根本性」的,難道所有對法官進行侮辱性言語攻擊的候選人都會被取消參選資格?

– 國家安全是「根本性」的,難道所有反對通過《基本法》第 23 條立法的候選人都會被取消參選資格?

更令人不安的是這事件絕有可能牽連到立法會選舉以外的情況。舉個例子,法官必須宣誓擁護《基本法》和保證效忠香港(見《基本法》第 104 條)。但倘若法官依法作出裁決,但裁決卻正是捍衛港獨分子的權利的,又如何?,是否我們就可以說法官的行為已違反了《基本法》第 1 和12 條(見 Q1)嗎?這是否意味著法官沒有擁護《基本法》,而因此被視為發假誓?一旦 Q1 至Q7 概述的類似情況能發生,當權者能任意行使權力、而至傷害法治及香港市民的基本權利的可能性就可以是無限的 。

*   *   *

【E. 下一步會怎樣?】

Q21:究竟那些因上述 Q1 至 Q7 的情況而最終被禁止參選的候選人下一步會怎樣?

幾項司法覆核程式已經開始進行。一些被禁止參選的候選人也表示他們會就不合資格參選的決定提出選舉呈請。我們在現階段不宜評論該等法律程式。不過它們將必會是香港歷史上自 1997 之後一些最重要的法律程式之一。

Q22:全國人民代表大會常務委員會(「人大常委」)會否就 Q1 至 Q7 涉及的議題作出幹預並根據《基本法》第 158 條解釋《基本法》?

就今次議題內容,特別是選舉主任是根據香港本地法例(即《立法會條例》及該規例)引用不合資格參選的權力,我們不認為有任何法理基礎需要人大常委釋法,因為人大的權力是詮釋《基本法》而不是詮釋本地法律。

但從以往所見,人大常委過往曾有主動就《基本法》引起的議題(及相關法律問題及程式)提出令人生疑的立場,以達到某些政治目的。我們只能希望人大常委會有智慧地不干預,並讓香港法庭自行處理今次事件。

法政匯思

2016 年 8 月 8 日

English Version is available in Stand News

【平權及反歧視通訊期刊】法政匯E 第三期 (Progressive Lawyers Group Anti-discrimination and Equality Newsletter – PLG A&E Issue 3)

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【平權及反歧視通訊期刊】法政匯E 第三期

為推廣平權及消除社會上各式各樣的歧視,法政匯思特意設立通訊期刊《法政匯E》(E代表Equality,即平等),探視社會上的平權及歧視議題,希望能夠引起公眾關注平權背後的法律及政治問題。

 第三期精彩內容

  1. 序:哀
  2. 《立法禁止性傾向、性別認同及雙性人身份歧視的研究》
  3. 淹沒在誤導言論下幾點有關在港「難民」的事實
  4. 具備種族主義的「中國人」
  5. 跋:恥 — 令人O嘴嘅性別主義

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序:哀

今期《法政匯E》的其中一篇文章,是關於種族、國籍及身份認同三者的關係。我們相信,一個政權沒有權去強逼人民背上特定的身份認同,這是基於每個人都是生而平等而自由的;對於獨特的本土文化,理應尊重,甚至加以保育及傳承。

大年初一晚上至大年初二早上的旺角街頭,發生了一件不幸的警民衝突導致流血的事件。事件在這一黑夜迅速升溫,可能跟累積日深的民怨有關,也可能因警方管理示威事件的手法而變得惡化;但回歸基本,這次事件的源起,是有團體希望支持在旺角經營的夜市小販,保留本土文化特色。

今期《法政匯E》的文章並非針對是次事件而寫。而在是次事件發生後,我們的立場也沒有改變:我們尊重本土身份的認同,也支持保育本土獨有的文化。我們譴責政權無理的打壓及暴力;同時認為以暴易暴無助訴求。

正如法政匯思於2月9日的聲明所言,將是次事件偽裝為單一的暴力事件,是不盡不實的描述[1]。這不是一宗普通的衝突事件,也多於本土意識的爭論。

港府理應好好反省是次事件反映的問題,及其在是次事件中的責任。

———–

《立法禁止性傾向、性別認同及雙性人身份歧視的研究》

平等機會委員會(平機會)於較早前委託香港中文大學香港亞太研究所性別研究中心進行了「立法禁止性傾向、性別認同及雙性人身份歧視的研究」。平機會委員已審閱及通過了這研究報告,並於2016年1月26日公布了研究的結果。

研究顯示香港的同性戀者、雙性戀者、跨性別人士和雙性人(性小眾)在僱傭、教育、提供服務、處置及管理處所,以至政府職能等範疇經常受到歧視。 歧視者的地位往往較性小眾高,因此性小眾難以或根本無法討回公道。性小眾受歧視的情況非常值得關注。

歧視不單令個別性小眾蒙受身心及經濟上的損失,亦損害香港吸引和挽留人才的能力,影響我們開明、廣納賢才的形象。

研究發現民意明顯贊成立法禁止性傾向、性別認同和雙性人身份歧視。 研究包括透過電話訪問了1,005位受訪者。受訪者中超過半數(55.7%)贊同應該立法保障性小眾,數字幾乎是2005年(28.7%)的雙倍。有宗教信仰的受訪者也有近半(48.9%)贊成立法。年齡介乎18至24歲的受訪者(91.8%)尤其贊成立法,鑑於年輕人的支持,未來支持立法的民意很可能持續增加。

研究要求政府就立法進行公眾諮詢,而諮詢的重點應是法例的範圍和內容,而非應否立法。諮詢的題目應包括受保障的特徵和相關定義、違法行為的類別、保障範疇和可能獲豁免的情況等。

研究亦對政府作出其他多項建議,例如考慮進一步探討宗教或信仰歧視的問題、為公務員和公營構職員提供訓練和指引、加強公眾教育,以消除對性小眾的誤解和成見。

平機會將把研究報告呈交政府考慮。

——-

淹沒在誤導言論下幾點有關在港「難民」的事實

假難民」和「非法入境者」在「濫用聲請機制」?

一般香港人,除了在國際新聞聽過「難民」這個詞語,很少會聯想起香港。又或者只會回憶起上世紀80年代,因逃避戰亂來港的「越南船民」,耳邊迴盪那句「不漏道啦」。誰知把「難民」重新帶進香港人茶餘飯後話題的人,竟然是特首;發言場合,竟然是施政報告。

特首既然只能為香港人承諾「一帶一路」的天方夜譚,他當然不能給「難民」們帶來什麼好消息。 特首前一聲「聲請機制被濫用」,後一句「必要時退出《禁止酷刑公約》」,主流傳媒應聲連番報導尋求庇護人士留港,期間「無惡不作」,多年來「耗費公帑4.3億」。「難民」自此只有「假」,「聲請」成功率低就等如「 濫用機制」。他們不是 「黑工」,便是「罪犯」,又有「免遣送」擋箭牌,已成為治安的「毒瘤」。 短短四星期內,由寂寂無聞,頓成眾矢之的!原因是特首、保安局、主流傳媒罕有地幾乎意見完全一致。先有媒體在今年一月報導關於涉及南亞裔人士犯罪被捕的消息,一星期後,獨家以評論文章批評政府審核「聲請」程序緩慢,浪費公帑資助聲請人獲取法律意見,是香港不應背負的「包袱」。政府立刻雷厲風行,二月頭高調宣佈在重慶大廈被捕,涉嫌搶劫的巴基斯坦人,「都是酷刑聲請人」。保安局隨即向立法會大會,簡述局方將會全面檢討2013年制定後從未檢討過的統一審核聲請程序。一連串行動都給市民一種特區政府少有的快,狠,準。

然而,當中有多少報導是基於客觀事實? 被「濫用」的聲請機制,對於可能存在的「真難民」,是否合情合理?

沒有所謂「假難民」,只有「 非法入境」的真標籤

首先,公衆一般都不清楚難民的定義是什麼,亦不清楚難民逃難來香港背後的原因。根據1951年《關於難民地位的公約》,難民的定義為具有正當理由畏懼(well-founded fear)因其種族、宗教、國籍、屬於其一社會團體或具有某種政治見解受到迫害而逃離本國的人;難民亦要證明他們的原居國沒有能力或不願意保護他們。譬如,難民可能是因為在家鄉參與民主運動而受到迫害的社運人士、為逃離強制徵兵制的逃兵、人權捍衛者或酷刑、性暴力以及性別暴力的倖存者。但是,在大部份情況下,他們的「難民」身分,須先獲得政府或聯合國難民署確立,他們才能獲得庇護。按此定義,根本不可能會有所謂的「假難民」。上述報導的外來人士,都是正在尋求庇護,而聲請未獲得確立的「尋求庇護人士」。稱呼他們為「假難民」,可算是偏離事實的污衊。

而保安局在立法會稱呼難民為「 非法入境者」,更是混淆公眾視聽!在現行的出入境制度下,打算尋求庇護的人士只可於逾期逗留而即將被遣返時提出聲請。就算他們持有合法簽證來港,亦必須於簽證過期後(或免簽證待遇失效後)才可提出聲請。所有在香港尋求庇護的人——即使其聲請已獲聯合國難民署確定——均會被當作非法逾期逗留人士。 這是因為港府於國際法下的責任,亦即免遣返原則(non-refoulement),只在即將被遣返時適用。這迫使尋求庇護人士成為逾期居留人士的行政措施,備受聯合國禁止酷刑委員會批評。因此稱呼尋求庇護人士為 「 非法入境者」實在是誤導。更令人遺憾的是這一個標籤極為負面,容易更令公眾誤以為尋求庇護人士全都觸犯法例。

「確立率低」立論偏頗;「濫用」事列以偏概全

傳媒經常引用現行審核機制僅0.33%的確立率「證明」聲請者大都為「假難民」。港府更稱大部分聲請人來自巴基斯坦、印度、孟加拉、越南、印尼及菲律賓等沒有受戰禍所苦的國家,「證明」制度遭「濫用」。這些言論實在荒謬。

首先,正如聯合國禁止酷刑委員會指出, 低的確立率除反映審核聲請的標準極高之外,也有可能是因為審核機制存在太多不別要的限制。至於難民逃到香港,可能是受到極權政府迫害,未必是只為逃避戰亂。 根據聯合國難民署2015年的資料,全球有不少難民來自社會十分穩定的極權國家。已被確立為難民的聲請人當中,就包括241,973名巴基斯坦難民以及313,332名越南難民。因此,每一宗聲請都必須獲得獨立的審核,絕不能用聲請人來自甚麼國家,甚至一個百分比來概括。

另外,政府由始至今一直未有公布統一審核聲請的相關數據。社會也一直缺少關於在港尋求庇護人士的可靠資料。單單在2015年,協助留港難民的志願團體Justice Centre便接觸過來自40多國的尋求庇護人士。當中有不少來自「全球十大難民原居國」,包括敘利亞、阿富汗、索馬里、南蘇丹、蘇丹和緬甸。許多聲請人已經在香港虛耗了很多年,有的甚至滯港多年仍然未獲安排出席入境處的會面。 傳媒如果只選擇性報導某些聲請人的不良行為,市民很容易相信所有聲請人都刻意濫用機制,心懷叵測。

語言偽術背後的鴕鳥政策

事實上,任何一個國家的聲請機制都可能遭到某些人濫用。然而,一個不透明的審核機制只會使得聲請不斷積壓,到頭來反而便宜了濫用機制的人。  自2013年保安局公布統一審核聲請至今,一直未為細節立法,譬如處理聲請的正確程序和時間表以防止不公平和過份延誤 、聲請人應呈交的證明文件、處理聲請時考慮的具體客觀因素等等。單單以行政措施嚴格「管理」聲請人滯港期間的日常行動,不讓他們在符合某些條件後,外出尋找工作,自力更生。 在不明朗的前景、隨時遣送回國的恐懼、生計不保,加上傳媒、政府的歧視言論,即使再有耐性的善良聲請人,都有機會被迫為謀生鋌而走險,成為香港所謂的「治安毒瘤」。政府應著力研究以法列確立一個全面、有效率、透明而且公平公正的聲請制度, 非與偏頗的傳媒一起玩弄語言偽術,對問題的癥結反而置若罔聞。

其實,勇敢逃離本國來港尋求庇護的人士,因過往飽受逼害,反而比習慣了自由的香港人更加堅毅、包容。香港人在面對言論、政治參與空間不斷收窄,是非黑白顛倒的同時,他們的故事、經歷可能給予不少啟發,為香港自己的自由奮鬥增添一份動力。

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具備種族主義的「中國人」

在外地,如果被問到你是什麼人,你會如何回答?

「我是香港人。」

「那麼你是中國人嗎?」

「…」

近來,「中國人」一詞成為了社會熱話。從比較嚴格的法律角度,「中國人」可以解作擁有「中國國籍」的人,或者「中國公民」。[2]

但是,在近來的爭論中,更多人會以自己的身份認同,來定義自己是否中國人。因此,在外地被問及「那麼你是中國人嗎?」的時候,可能你也會有點猶豫。

在日常生活中,我們有時候也會用一個人的種族去界定那人是否「中國人」。即使在法律界,律師們有時也會不經意地說:「係中國人法官定係外國人(或者鬼佬)法官審呀?」其實他們的意思當然不是深究法官的國籍或公民身份,而是法官是否「華人」,或者會否說中文。這是一個我們對詞語解釋及運用的議題,但背後還蘊藏著一股種族主義的意味。有時,我們好像也會潛意識地認為,只要你是「華人」,你就是「中國人」了。

曾經有報道指出,香港小二的教科書出現了這樣的一句話:「因為我有黑眼睛,黑頭髮和黃皮膚,所以我是中國人。[3]

筆者認為,這是在教育我們下一代一個相當危險的概念。最簡單來說,世界上黑眼睛、黑頭髮和黃皮膚不只是中國人,還有日本人、韓國人、新馬華人、華裔外國人等等。這句出現在教科書的說話,差不多可以用「謊言」來形容了。

更加重要的,是一個人的種族與身俱來,基本上是「出生彩票」(birth lottery)的結果,但是因此而定義那個人的「國籍」和「身份認同」,除了限制個人自由,也是對個人尊嚴的不尊重。

可惜,在香港,這樣的事情常常發生。在香港回歸前,全國人大常委曾就香港人的國籍問題作出了解釋:

「一、凡具有中國血統的香港居民,本人出生在中國領土(含香港)者,以及其他符合《中華人民共和國國籍法》規定的具有中國國籍的條件者,都是中國公民。

二、所有香港中國同胞,不論其是否持有“英國屬土公民護照”或者“英國國民(海外)護照”,都是中國公民。…」[4]

這個解釋將大部份的港人,在法律上自動認可為「中國人」,但這只限「有中國血統」的香港居民,以及「香港中國同胞」。不少少數族裔在香港土生土長,但申請入中國籍及取得特區護照卻處處碰壁,因為香港入境處審視入籍申請,其中一項(同時在網頁上列為第一項)因素,就是「申請人是否為享有香港居留權的中國公民的近親屬」。[5]住在香港的少數族裔及其近親屬並未因人大常委的解釋而自動獲得中國公民身份,那麼他們該如何符合這項要求?而中國(包括香港)作為聯合國《消除一切形式種族歧視國際公約》的締約國,但是在國籍問題上,卻採取了極具種族主義的思維。

另一個相關的問題,是一個政權或者社會大眾,是否有權將一個人的國民身份強加與別人身上。近日,在南韓發展的台灣女藝人周子瑜因在電視節目上揮動中華民國國旗,之後就被狙擊,甚至要公開道謙兼承認自己是中國人。李波明明是英國公民,但仍被中方指他「首先是中國公民」。為什麼我們不能自由地選擇自己的身份認同呢?

港府早前提倡國民教育,希望提升下一代國民身份認同。到底中國政府及港府有沒有反省過,為甚麼香港回歸快20年,人心卻越來越與中國疏離?

港府積極將香港教育「中國化」,又國民教育,又普教中,又推廣認讀簡體字,反而忽略對本地文化的尊重,結果捍衛本土的意識越趨熱烈,國民身份認同越來越低。一切似乎都是港府自作自受。

有些人很想成為中國人,卻因種族和膚色,被你百般阻撓;有些人想保留自己的文化,你卻不斷蠶食,最終他們連國家都不想認了。君不見唯有尊重差異,擁抱自由及多元,才是讓一個國家得人心之道嗎?

——-

跋:恥 — 令人O嘴嘅性別主義

『皇者歸來』是一個為有男子氣概的異性戀男人而設的部落格,讓少數敢言而相信男人應像男人,女人應像女人的美國現代男子聚首一堂。

強烈不歡迎女人及同性戀者在這裏留言。

Return Of Kings is a blog for heterosexual, masculine men. It’s meant for a small but vocal collection of men in America today who believe men should be masculine and women should be feminine.

Women and homosexuals are strongly discouraged from commenting here.[6]

喺提倡性別平權嘅今時今日,以上從部落格引用嘅文字,實在令到小編O晒嘴。

「皇者歸來」部落格由一個美國人Roosh Valizadeh營運,部落格上不乏充滿散播性別定型,甚至貶低女性嘅文章,例如其中兩篇文章嘅題目分別係「點解『順從』係形容女子特質嘅最佳詞語」(“Why “Docility” Is The Best Word To Describe Femininity”)[7]同「女人唔應該有投票權」(“Women Should Not Be Allowed To Vote”)[8]。佢甚至寫過一篇文章,提議將喺私人地方發生嘅強姦合法化[9]!有人話哩篇文章係一篇曲線文(即諷刺文章),點解讀就交俾大家決定喇。

哩位Valizadeh仁兄仲創立咗個叫做「新男人主義者」(“neomasculinist”)嘅組織,佢哋本來打算喺2月6日,喺全球各地,包括香港,舉行一個「國際見面日」,邀請全球同路人見面[10],不過後來又話因為安全同私隱問題而取消咗[11]

哩位仁兄令到小編諗起另一位歧視小先鋒--美國共和黨總統候選人特朗普(Donald Trump)。佢出名言論出位,發表針對穆斯林言論之餘,仲講過好多侮辱女性嘅說話[12];佢仲曾經同Fox News總統辯論女主持人Megyn Kelly 炒大鑊,人地問題銳利就話人地「周圍出血」(“blood coming out from… wherever”),雖然之後又死撐唔係暗指Kelly月經[13];後來佢仲連Kelly主持嘅總統電視辯論都唔去。[14]

相信大部份讀者都會好似小編咁,對Valizadeh同特朗普對於性別議題嘅奇特觀點不敢苟同。

其實小編好想問佢哋兩位,如果兩位真係覺得自己咁威威,點解你一個就唔歡迎女性同同志喺你個部落格同你辯論,另一個就連辯論都唔去呢?

太陽底下真係乜人都有。

 

[1]是時候鬆綁了 – 法政匯思就旺角昨夜事故的聲明 IT’S TIME TO LOOSEN THE NOOSE AROUND HONG KONG – STATEMENT OF THE PROGRESSIVE LAWYERS GROUP IN RELATION TO THE EVENTS OVERNIGHT IN MONG KOK

[2] 在某些國家,擁有國際並不等於是公民,因為公民可享有更多權利及義務,不過在中國法律中似乎沒有這樣的分別。詳見在香港同樣適用的《中華人民共和國國籍法》。

[3] 小二教科書四式奇怪演繹 「我們都是中國人」 852郵報

[4]http://www.basiclaw.gov.hk/tc/basiclawtext/images/basiclawtext_doc15.pdf

[5]http://www.immd.gov.hk/hkt/services/chinese_nationality/Application_for_Naturalization_as_a_Chinese_National.html

[6]http://www.returnofkings.com/about

[7]http://www.returnofkings.com/56300/docility-is-the-best-word-to-describe-femininity

[8]http://www.returnofkings.com/34330/women-should-not-be-allowed-to-vote

[9]http://www.rooshv.com/how-to-stop-rape

[10]https://www.hongkongfp.com/2016/02/02/hk-event-planned-for-supporters-of-blogger-seeking-to-legalise-rape-on-feb-9/

[11]https://www.hongkongfp.com/2016/02/04/man-seeking-to-legalise-rape-cancels-worldwide-anti-women-meetup-event-amid-safety-concerns/

[12]http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/18-real-things-donald-trump-has-said-about-women_us_55d356a8e4b07addcb442023

[13]http://www.slate.com/blogs/the_slatest/2015/08/10/megyn_kelly_blood_coming_out_of_her_wherever_comment_in_cnn_don_lemon_interview.html

[14]https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/the-fix/wp/2016/01/29/megyn-kelly-is-a-very-good-debate-moderator-heres-proof/

 

 

Progressive Lawyers Group Anti-discrimination and Equality Newsletter – PLG A&E Issue 3
To promote equality and eliminate discrimination in Hong Kong, the Progressive Lawyers Group has launched this newsletter to explore issues related to equality and discrimination and to enhance public awareness on the legal and political problems behind equality.

Content of Issue 3

  1. Prologue: Grief
  2. Study on Legislation against Discrimination on the Grounds of Sexual Orientation, Gender Identity and Intersex Status
  3. Submerged Facts about Refugees in Hong Kong
  4. Who is ‘Chinese’?: Racism and Identity Politics
  5. Epilogue: Shame – The Shocking Sexism

———-

Prologue: Grief
In this edition of A&E, one of our articles explores the relationships between race, nationality, and identity. We believe that a state does not have the power to force citizens to embrace specific identity markers. This is because everyone is born free and equal. Further, Hong Kong’s unique native culture should not only be respected, but protected, so to pass on to the younger generation.

The issue of identity undergirds what has been labeled by establishment media as the “riots” in Mongkok, which happened on the evening of the first day of the Lunar New Year and stretched onto the next morning. The incident saw police and protesters conflicting, leading to bloodshed and wounding on both sides, and unlucky passersby and street hawkers getting caught in the middle. The rapid escalation of events that evening may have been due to the deepening discontent within our society, or it could have been due to how the police handled the protests. Either way, the source of this incident is rooted in certain groups wanting to support the street hawkers, who are (by extension) representations of Hong Kong’s native culture.

The articles in this edition of A&E were not written as a response to that incident. Our stance has not changed before or after this incident, which is that the choice to embrace a local identity, and preservation of Hong Kong’s unique native culture, both ought to be respected. While we condemn the senseless oppression and violence deployed by the police force, we also believe that fighting fire with fire is ineffective for making people’s demands accepted.

As stated in PLG’s statement issued on February 9th, presenting this incident as a one-off act of violence is dishonest[1]; this is neither an ordinary confrontation nor solely about localism, and should not be depicted as such.

The Hong Kong government should carefully consider the myriad of societal problems as reflected by this incident, what role it has played, and what responsibility it holds.

——

Study on Legislation against Discrimination on the Grounds of Sexual Orientation, Gender Identity and Intersex Status

The Equal Opportunities Commission (EOC) has earlier commissioned the Study on Legislation against Discrimination on the Grounds of Sexual Orientation, Gender Identity and Intersex Status (SOGI) to the Gender Research Centre of the Hong Kong Institute of Asia-Pacific Studies at the Chinese University of Hong Kong. The study report was reviewed and deliberated at the EOC meeting held on 17 December 2015, and the findings were released on 26 January 2016.

The study revealed that discrimination against lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex (LGBTI) people is a common occurrence in Hong Kong in the areas of employment, education, provision of services, disposal and management of premises as well as government functions. The discrimination reported is notable regardless of places of occurrence, life stages of the victims and demographic characteristics of the perpetrators. The perpetrators are usually higher up in the power hierarchy than the victims rendering means of redressing discrimination either not useful or virtually non-existent.

Discriminatory treatment harms not only the LGBTI individuals, but also Hong Kong’s ability to attract and retain talents, as well as our longstanding reputation as an open and welcoming city.

The study shows clear support for anti-discrimination legislation on the grounds of SOGI. Based on the telephone survey of 1,005 respondents, over half (55.7%) of the respondents agreed with legislation, nearly double the comparable figure (28.7%) from 2005. It is also notable that nearly half (48.9%) of those with religious beliefs also concurred. Support was particularly strong among those aged 18-24, of whom 91.8% considered anti-discrimination legislation necessary, which means public opinion will likely continue to shift in favour of legislation over the coming years.

The EOC calls on the Government to consider conducting a public consultation on introducing anti-discrimination legislation on the grounds of SOGI. The consultation’s focus should be on the scope and content of the legislation, rather than whether there should be legislation. Topics to cover should include the protected characteristics and relevant definitions, types of prohibited conduct, domains of protection and possible exemptions.

In addition to calling for public consultation on legislation, the study also recommended the government to consider exploring claims about possible discrimination on the grounds of religion or belief and to provide appropriate training and guidelines to government officials and staff of public bodies, as well as widening public education to dispel myths and misconceptions about LGBTI people, among others.

The EOC will submit the report to the Government for consideration.

——–

Submerged Facts about Refugees in Hong Kong

“Fake refugees” and “illegal immigrants” are “abusing the screening mechanism”

Most Hong Kongers usually hear the word “refugees” from international news, and seldom associate the same word with Hong Kong. Some may still have some recollection of the refugees arriving from Vietnam to avoid wars in the 1980s, and of the first phrase of the warning message in Vietnamese targeted at these refugees broadcast in the radio every day.  Unexpectedly this word was once again brought to our attention by the Chief Executive in his annual Policy Address.

If the Chief Executive was only able to promise local Hong Kongers a distant dream of “One Belt, One Road”, he was even less able to bring any good news to the refugees in Hong Kong. In his Policy Address, he mentioned that the government became aware of “abuses” of the “unified screening mechanism (“USM”)”, and that Hong Kong could withdraw from the UN Convention against Torture if it was proved necessary. This was followed by a series of coverage in the mainstream media about asylum-seekers “doing all sorts of evils”, and have “wasted HKD430m of public money” in total. “Fake refugees” began to replace the more neutral term “asylum-seekers”, and low acceptance rate could only mean that the USM was abused. During their stay in Hong Kong, “fake refugees” were either “illegal labour” or “criminals”, protected from immediate removal by the government’s obligation of “non-refoulement”, and surely become a “tumour of local law and order”.  This rising from anonymity to instant infamy in 4 weeks was a result of a rare uniformity among the opinions of the Chief Executive, Security Bureau, and the mainstream media. It all started with media coverage in January of two South Asian men arrested for suspicion of robbery, followed by an editorial comment criticising the government for the slow screening process presently in place, and wasted public money on legal advice provided to asylum seekers. As a result, Hong Kong has shouldered upon itself a great burden that it never should have. The government responded with swift actions. The police highlighted that the few Pakistani arrested in Chung King Mansion in early February were all “torture claimants”. In a recent session of the General Assembly of the Legislative Council, Security Bureau introduced its plan to review the USM which has never been touched upon since its inception in 2013. Both actions successfully created a remarkable image of a responsive, decisive, and effective government among the general public.

There are no “fake refugees”, but the “illegal immigrant” label is truly damaging

First, most people in the public do not understand the definition of “refugee” or the type of situations refugees are fleeing from. According to the 1951 Convention relating to the Status of Refugees, a refugee is someone who is outside of his/her country due to well-founded fear of persecution, based on race, religion, nationality, political opinion or membership to a social group, and this person must be able to prove that his/her country is unable or unwilling to provide protection. For example, refugees may include social activists fighting for democracy, defectors of forced conscription, human rights defenders, or survivors of torture or sexual and gender-based violence. However, under most circumstances, these persons become recognised “refugees” only after they have proven to the satisfaction of either a government or the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (“UNHCR”) that they should be given protection. Therefore, there is no such thing as a “fake refugee”. The subjects of the media coverages mentioned above were only “asylum seekers” whose claims for protection were still under consideration. It is slanderous to call them “fake refugees”.

Security Bureau was also misleading the public by calling refugees “illegal immigrants” in the Legislative Council. This is because all persons seeking protection in Hong Kong can only file a claim for protection under the existing USM after they overstay, and are at risk of removal. Even those who arrived on a lawful visa can only file their claims after the visa expires, or after their visa-free stay ends.  As such, all people seeking protection in Hong Kong, even if they have been recognised as “refugees” by UNHCR, are treated as “illegal over-stayers” in the existing immigration regime. This is because the government’s “non-refoulement” obligation under international laws only applies from the moment when the person in question is at risk of immediate removal. This administrative requirement in the USM forcing asylum seekers to become an “overstayer” was severely criticised by the UN Committee against Torture. Therefore, this label of “illegal immigrants” is definitely misleading. But even more regrettable is the label’s strong negative association with criminality in the minds of the public.

Unreasonable conclusion from “low acceptance rate”; “Abuses” were selective coverages

The media often cited the low USM’s acceptance rate of 0.33% as proof of abuse of the system by “fake refugees”. The government even stated that the majority of the claims were from people from Pakistan, India, Bangladesh, Vietnam, Indonesia and the Philippines; countries not affected by war or conflict. Both arguments are problematic.

First, as pointed out by the UN Committee against Torture, such a low acceptance rate is “indicative of a distinctly high threshold for granting protection”, and also raises concerns about the unnecessary restrictiveness of the USM. The refugees fled to Hong Kong not only for the avoidance of war and conflict, but also oppression by the authoritarian regimes in their own countries. According to UNHCR, globally, in 2015, there were many refugees fleeing from countries ruled by a highly stable authoritarian regime. Among these recognised refugees were 241,973 people from Pakistan and 313,332 people from Vietnam. Therefore, each claim should be considered on its own merits, and can never be categorically represented by claimants’ countries of origin, or even over-simplified by a percentage figure.

Second, the government has never released any official data in relation to the USM. There is also a serious lack of reliable information about the asylum-seekers in Hong Kong. Only in 2015, Justice Centre Hong Kong, a voluntary organisation providing assistance to refugees in Hong Kong, met people from over 40 countries of origin. Quite a number of them came from the “top 10 countries of origin of refugees”, including Syria, Afghanistan, Somalia, South Sudan, Sudan and Myanmar. Many of them have stayed in Hong Kong for many years; some even have not yet been called to attend the first interview with officers of the Immigration Department after years of waiting. Selective media coverage about undesirable behaviour of some claimants can easily create a public perception that all claimants abuse USM with sinister intentions.

Rhetorical language is only self-deceiving

No system is completely free from abuses. However, a screening mechanism in lack of transparency would only lead to a staggering number of claims waiting to be considered, enabling real abusers to rip undeserved benefits . Since the UMS was enacted in 2013, Security Bureau has not commenced any studies for legislation which sets out the necessary details, for example, the proper procedure and timeframe to avoid unfairness and undue delays in the consideration of claims, the necessary documents to be prepared by claimants, and a detailed list of factors that should be considered in each claim. The current UMS mainly contains highly restrictive measures that limit the daily activities of claimants, and deny them all possibilities to seek employment upon satisfactory fulfilment of well thought-out conditions. Plagued with a dim future, fear of repatriation, and unsustainable livelihood, and the discriminative rhetoric deployed by the government and and media, even the most law-abiding claimants may be forced to criminality, becoming real “tumours of law and order”. For everyone’s best interests, the government should work on a comprehensive, efficient, transparent and fair USM established in legislation, and immediately stop turning a blind eye to the crux of the problem, and dissociate itself from the bandwagon of biased media.

In fact, many asylum-seekers suffered much oppression in their countries demonstrate an admirable level of courage, resilience, and inclusiveness, rare among Hong Kongers accustomed to freedom. Seeing our freedom of speech endangered, and political participation restricted day by day, the experience and stories of asylum-seekers may provide impetus in the defence of our city.

——–

Who is ‘Chinese’?: Racism and Identity Politics

While abroad, if someone asks what is your nationality, how would you answer?

“I am a Hong Konger.”

“So does that mean you’re Chinese?”

“…”

In recent years, the label of “Chinese”, or “Chinese person” has become a hot topic in Hong Kong. From a strictly legal point of view, “Chinese person” (中國人) can be defined as someone with Chinese nationality (中國國籍), or someone who is a Chinese citizen(中國公民).[2]

However, recent debates concerning this label has interpreted “Chinese” as more of a personal identifier. (Translator note: in English, there is no linguistic distinction between different nationalities of Chinese people. As long as one’s ethnicity is Chinese, then you are “Chinese”.  However, in the Chinese language, strictly speaking, such a distinction could be drawn: 華人  (hua ren) connotes someone of Chinese ethnicity/ancestry no matter what citizenship he or she holds or which country he or she lives in. In contrast, the strict definition of 中國人  (zhong guo ren) should be used to describe people of PRC nationality. Confusion arises because 中國人 is often used interchangeably with 華人 (but not vice versa) to reflect an individual’s ethnicity instead of nationality.)

It is for this reason that, when someone asks, “So does that mean you’re Chinese?”, many Hong Kongers would hesitate, not knowing how to answer.

In our daily lives, people would sometimes use a person’s ethnicity to determine whether somebody is a “Chinese person”. Even within the legal circle, it is not uncommon to hear lawyers absentmindedly ask whether a judge is “Chinese or foreign.” Of course, the lawyers are not actually interested in whether the judge has Chinese nationality or not, but whether the judge is of Chinese ethnicity (華人), or whether the judge speaks Cantonese. While usage of term is clearly a linguistic issue, it is also a racial identity issue, an identity politics issue. Sometimes, people would subconsciously think that just because one is of Chinese ethnicity, one must also be of Chinese nationality.

A Primary 2 textbook from a local school in Hong Kong contained this sentence: “I have black hair, black eyes and yellow skin; therefore, I am Chinese(中國人)”.[3]

The author believes that this is a very dangerous notion to teach our younger generation. Simply speaking, people with black eyes, black hair and yellow skin are not just ‘Chinese’, but also Japanese, Koreans, Malaysians and Singaporeans with Chinese ethnicity, and ethnic Chinese living abroad in Western countries (to name just a few examples). The sentence in that textbook could almost be described as an outright lie. More importantly, whether someone is born into one race and not another is completely random – one cannot choose which race one gets born into – and to thus defining a person’s nationality and national identity based on race is not only a restraint on personal freedom, but also an affront to an individual’s dignity.

It is therefore unfortunate that, in present-day Hong Kong, such arbitrary labeling and affronts happen constantly. Before the Handover, the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress (SCNPC) once issued the following interpretation on Hong Kongers’ citizenship “problem”:

“1. Where a Hong Kong resident is of Chinese descent and was born in the Chinese territories (including Hong Kong), or where a person satisfies the criteria laid down in the Nationality Law of the People’s Republic of China for having Chinese nationality, he is a Chinese national.

  1. All Hong Kong Chinese compatriots are Chinese nationals, whether or not they are holders of the “British Dependent Territories Citizens passport” or “British Nationals (Overseas) passport”. …”[4]

This interpretation legally and automatically lumps the majority of Hong Kongers into the category of “Chinese person”, but is only limited to “Hong Kong resident of Chinese descent” and “Hong Kong Chinese compatriots”. Hong Kong has a significant number of ethnic minorities locally born and grown, but they often face numerous challenges towards achieving Chinese nationality and obtaining HKSAR passport. This is because one of the criteria considered by the Hong Kong Immigration Department (and also listed as the first criteria on its website) for applying for Chinese nationality is whether the applicant has “a near relative who is a Chinese national with the right of abode in Hong Kong.”[5] Ethnic minorities and their near relatives living in Hong Kong are not automatically turned into Chinese nationals by the above SCNPC Interpretation. How are they supposed to fulfil this factor? It should be noted that China (including Hong Kong) is a signatory of the United Nation’s Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination (ICERD), but utilizes a plainly racist policy to determine who can or cannot be a Chinese national.

Another related question is whether a government or the general public has a right to impose a national identity on individuals. The recent case of Taiwanese pop star Chou Tzu Yu, a teenage girl from Taiwan, waving the Taiwanese flag on television led to an onslaught of attacks upon her, ultimately culminated in Chou issuing a public apology. In that statement, she repeatedly said that she is Chinese (中國人).  In another incident, Lee Po, who holds British citizenship, was described by Chinese authorities as “a Chinese citizen first.” Why can’t people freely choose how to express their personal identities?

Recently, the Hong Kong government has been in support of a “national education” syllabus so to make Hong Kong’s younger generations more accepting their Chinese national identity. Has it ever occurred to the Chinese government and Hong Kong government to consider why Hong Kongers seem to increasingly refuse to identify as Chinese, even though the Handover has happened almost 20 years ago? While the Hong Kong government actively encourages the “Sinofication” of Hong Kong education, with “national education”, teaching of Chinese classes in Mandarin (as opposed to Cantonese), and teaching simplified Chinese writing, it has neglected to respect Hong Kong’s local culture. This led to the manifestation of a strong localist identity, and made Hong Kongers increasingly anathema to embracing their Chinese national identity. Despite the Hong Kong government’s numerous attempts to coerce Hong Kongers in embracing their Chinese national identity, most have been counter-productive.

In Hong Kong, there are some people who really want to become “Chinese”, but due to their race and the colour of their skin, are prevented from doing so. In contrast, some people want to hold on to Hong Kong culture, but are pushed to the point where they don’t even want to recognize China as ‘their’ country. It is only through respecting what makes people different and by embracing diversity would people genuinely want to be associated with, and belong to, a country.

——

Epilogue: Shame – The Shocking Sexism

Return Of Kings is a blog for heterosexual, masculine men. It’s meant for a small but vocal collection of men in America today who believe men should be masculine and women should be feminine.

…Women and homosexuals are strongly discouraged from commenting here.[6]

 

In this age when gender equality is widely advocated, the words above quoted from the blog are indeed jaw-dropping.

The blog Return of Kings is founded and run by the American, Roosh Valizadeh, on which there is no lack of posts spreading gender-stereotypical messages that are even derogatory to the female. For example, there are two articles titled “Why “Docility” Is The Best Word To Describe Femininity”[7] and “Women Should Not Be Allowed To Vote”[8]. Valizadeh even wrote an article suggesting legalising rape on private property[9]. Some say that the article was a satire, yet this is left to you to interpret.

Valizadeh also established a group called “neomasculinist”, which planned to organise an International Meetup Day on 6 February 2016 for supporters in cities across the globe, including Hong Kong[10]. However, the meetings were cancelled due to security and privacy issues.[11]

Valizadeh reminds us of another icon of discrimination: Donald Trump, the Republican presidential candidate in the United States. He is known for his bold speeches. Apart from making speeches directed against Muslims, he has made degrading remarks about women in various occasions.[12] In the earlier Fox News presidential debate, he had a spat with the moderator, Megyn Kelly. He said that Kelly had “blood coming out of her… wherever” in response to her tough questions, though he later denied that his comment insinuated that Kelly was on her period[13]. After that, he even skipped a Fox News debate hosted by Kelly. [14]

I believe most of you, like me, disapprove of Valizadeh’s and Trump’s grotesque points of view over gender issues.

In fact, I am curious to ask the two that if they truly believe that they are superior to the others, why would one of them not welcome women and homosexuals to debate with him on his blog, and the other one even skip a debate?

Well, it takes all sorts to make a world.

 

 

[1]是時候鬆綁了-法政匯思就旺角事故的聲明
IT’S TIME TO LOOSEN THE NOOSE AROUND HONG KONG – STATEMENT OF THE PROGRESSIVE LAWYERS GROUP IN RELATION TO THE EVENTS OVERNIGHT IN MONG KOK

[2] In some countries, being a national does not mean being a citizen, because citizenship may entail more rights and obligations. But in Chinese law, there seems to have no such distinction. See Nationality Law of the People’s Republic of China, which is applicable to Hong Kong too.

[3]小二教科書四式奇怪演繹 「我們都是中國人」 852郵報

[4]http://www.basiclaw.gov.hk/en/basiclawtext/images/basiclawtext_doc15.pdf

[5]http://www.immd.gov.hk/eng/services/chinese_nationality/Application_for_Naturalization_as_a_Chinese_National.html

[6]  http://www.returnofkings.com/about

[7]http://www.returnofkings.com/56300/docility-is-the-best-word-to-describe-femininity

[8]http://www.returnofkings.com/34330/women-should-not-be-allowed-to-vote

[9]  http://www.rooshv.com/how-to-stop-rape

[10]https://www.hongkongfp.com/2016/02/02/hk-event-planned-for-supporters-of-blogger-seeking-to-legalise-rape-on-feb-9/

[11]https://www.hongkongfp.com/2016/02/04/man-seeking-to-legalise-rape-cancels-worldwide-anti-women-meetup-event-amid-safety-concerns/

[12]http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/18-real-things-donald-trump-has-said-about-women_us_55d356a8e4b07addcb442023

[13]http://www.slate.com/blogs/the_slatest/2015/08/10/megyn_kelly_blood_coming_out_of_her_wherever_comment_in_cnn_don_lemon_interview.html

[14]https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/the-fix/wp/2016/01/29/megyn-kelly-is-a-very-good-debate-moderator-heres-proof/

Originally published in Stand News on 23 February 2016

【加強版】不太懶的懶人包

法政匯思在12月5日就坊間稱為「網絡23條」草案,發表了一個簡單的「懶人包」。由於我們就這議題早在六月底(即立法會準備開始考慮草案委員會審議階段修正案的時候)已經發表了詳細的意見書,算得上是「要說的都已經說了」,所以我們希望低調處理這個議題。

但當我們留意到坊間對草案有不少誤解及恐慌的時候,我們決定在很短的時間內推出一個「懶人包」,一方面希望減少這些誤解及恐慌,同時亦希望公衆可以聚焦在草案可能衍生的政策及法律問題。

「懶人包」發表後,我們收到了不少的查詢及評語。有見及此,我們負責研究有關草案的團隊(當中包括有多年知識產權經驗的法律界人士,我們亦諮詢了海外的知識產權學者)製作了下面這個修訂版的「不太懶的懶人包」。

對於向我們提出額外疑問的朋友,作為回應我們在這個「不太懶的懶人包」添加了一些額外的問題。雖然我們不可能回答大家對草案提出的所有問題,但我們已盡力回答一些常見的問題。

對於看完原本的「懶人包」後讚賞我們的朋友,我們感謝你的支持,我們會繼續努力,盡力把我們該做的事做好。

對於看完原本的「懶人包」後提出質疑或批評的朋友,我們同樣感謝你們的意見。作為一個成立不足一年的論政團體,我們其實還是很「新」,還有很多不足之處,在很多方面仍有許多進步空間。我們在草擬下面的「不太懶的懶人包」時,盡量聆聽你們的聲音、虛心地向你們學習。雖然我們在立場上(甚至有些法律操作上的問題)未必能與所有人有一致的看法,但我們絕對是用心地去做的,如果仍有不滿意的地方,請多多包涵,並繼續賜教。

希望以下的「不太懶的懶人包」能幫到大家!

反對「網絡23條」團體之一的法政匯思認為,香港人的創意是無限大的,「我們都值得擁有更好的版權法,並為一眾網民製作「懶人包」,在自己facebook及透過網媒「謎米新聞」轉載 9 條問答,闡釋具體內容,助大家了解更多。

Q1:新條例下的刑事法律責任有什麼改變?
A1: 現行條例中「分發」不涵蓋以串流等電子技術進行的侵權行為,所以版權條例草案引入新的「傳播權」,將透過任何電子傳送模式(包括串流)向公眾傳播版權作品的權利,歸版權持有人獨有。

故此,版權條例草案下,任何人向公眾傳播侵權物品做商業用途,即屬犯罪。非牟利而傳播的侵權物品對版權持有人的權利達到損害的程度,亦會構成罪行。

Q2: 轉發、分享或看改圖是不是要負上法律責任?
A2: 新修訂下的 28A 條第 5 款寫明「如有關傳播的內容並非由某人決定,則該人不屬向公眾傳播作品。」意即分享超連結、於 Facebook 按「分享」或於 Twitter 分享其他人的推特都不屬「傳播罪」。但如把影片、相片等下載再上載向公眾發佈就有可能被視為發佈侵權物品,可能有民事或刑事責任。單純接收而未有發佈及傳播則不屬侵權行為。

Q3: 政府是否可以繞過版權持有人或原創者,對二次創作人士或侵權者直接提出刑事起訴?
A3: 刑事檢控權由律政司決定。一般而言,如果沒有版權人協助證明該作品侵犯其版權,海關及律政司難以成立表面證供。故此,在未獲得版權人協助下,政府是不可能「繞過版權人」提出版權下的刑事起訴。

Q4(a): 在現有法例下,改圖、改歌、Cap 圖、認真製作的舊曲新詞、認真翻唱歌曲並上載互聯網是否就不會犯法?
A4(a): 現行的版權條例下,任何人分發侵權物品做商業用途,已屬犯罪。就算並非用做商業用途,而分發的侵權物品對版權持有人的權利達到損害的程度,亦會構成罪行。所以上述行為在現行法例下, 同樣可被視作侵權行為,版權人可提出民事索償。如侵權行為達至「損害性分發」,發佈者可能面對刑事起訴。

Q4(b): 新修訂下,是不是改片、改圖、改歌、認真製作的舊曲新詞、認真翻唱歌曲並上載互聯網,就等於犯上版權刑事罪
A4(b): 新修訂下,如改片、改歌、改圖屬於「戲仿」、「諷刺」、「模仿」、「營造滑稽」或「批評、評論、引用及報導和評論時事」,仍須考慮四大原則:
(a) 該項處理的目的及性質,包括該項處理是否為非牟利的目的而作出,以及是否屬商業性質;
(b) 該作品的性質;
(c) 相對於該作品的整體,被處理的部分所佔的數量及實質分量;及
(d) 該項處理對該作品的潛在市場或價值的影響。
如符合上述條件,可享有民事豁免及刑事豁免。如作品不獲豁免,又達到「損害性分發或傳播」至「取代原作品」的程度,則有可能犯上刑事罪行。

Q4(c): 新修訂下,改圖、改歌、Cap 圖、認真製作的舊曲新詞、認真翻唱歌曲並上載互聯網是否就不會犯法?
A4(c): 在新版權法下,只要創作屬於「戲仿」、「諷刺」、「營造滑稽」、「模仿」、「引用」或「評論及報導時事」及符合條例下的四大原則,該創作或可能獲新修訂版權法下的民事豁免及刑事豁免。

Q4(c):新修訂下,非牟利而分發或傳播侵權物品怎樣才會達至「損害性」分發或傳播?
A4(c):版權人的經濟損失是最主要的因素。根據案例,法庭在考慮何謂「損害」時,會考慮(1)個案的整體情況;(2)侵權物品可否被用做原作品的替代品;(3)是否有大量的公眾人士可以取得該侵權物品;和(4)該侵權物品是否可以取代原作品的需求。

Q4(d): 新修訂下,如果只是純在網上發表同人誌漫畫,不作商業用途,會否違法?
A4(d): 在新修訂下沒有列明「同人誌」被豁免。所以,除非作品得到草案訂明的公平處理豁免,如「戲仿」、「諷刺」、「模仿」、「營造滑稽」、「批評、評論、引用及報導和評論時事」及符合條例下的四大原則,「同人誌」還是有可能招致民事法律責任。如達至「損害性分發」取代原作品,則可能有刑事責任。

Q4(e): 新修訂下,如果非牟利而分發或傳播侵權物品並沒有「對版權持有人的權利達到損害的程度」,我還有法律責任嗎?
A4(e):除非作品得到草案訂明的公平處理豁免,如「戲仿」、「諷刺」、「模仿」、「營造滑稽」、「批評、評論、引用及報導和評論時事」及符合條例下的四大原則,還是有可能招致民事法律責任。

Q4(f): 在修訂前後,串流打機的法律責任有沒有分別?
A4(f): 修訂前,串流直播打機未受版權監管,故不算侵權。修訂後新增「傳播權」,串流直播受新修訂「傳播罪」監管。除非有關串流打機的直播屬於「戲仿」、「諷刺」、「模仿」、「營造滑稽」、「批評、評論、引用及報導和評論時事」及符合條例下的四大原則,串流打機還是有可能招致民事法律責任。如達至「損害性傳播」取代原作品,則可能有刑事責任。而修訂未有豁免串流直播打機,故版權人都可作民事索償。

Q5(a): 是不是 Cap 一幅圖都已經構成侵權?
A5(a): 在沒有豁免或版權持有人授權下,cap圖是否構成侵權的關鍵在於法庭是否認為該圖複製了原作品「相當實質的部分」及有否損害版權人的利益。法庭在判斷何謂「相當實質的部分」的時候,會將懷疑侵權物品和原作品整體比較,並同時考慮「質」(即是否複製了原作品的重要部分或精華所在)和「量」(即複製了多少)兩個因素,但一般而言法庭更重視「質」。換句話說,如果該圖沒有複製原作的「精華」,構成侵權的風險則不高。

Q5(b): 修訂後,是否不可以 Cap 圖?
A5(b): 只要Cap 圖屬於「戲仿」、「諷刺」、「營造滑稽」、「模仿」或「批評、評論、引用及報導和評論時事」及符合條例下的四大原則,可獲新修訂版權法下的民事豁免及刑事豁免。但要留意「引用」的程度不可多於所需要目的的程度,及必須在合理地切實可行的情況下附有足夠確認聲明(如作品出處、作品名字、原作者名稱等)。

Q5(c): 引用版權作品,是否必須列明出處,否則犯法?
A5(c): 是。除非「引用」作品有其他目的,或不用列明出處,例如「戲仿」、「諷刺」、「模仿」、「營造滑稽」或「報導及評論時事」。

Q6(a): 是不是不可以在婚宴上播放版權歌曲?
A6(a): 如果舉辦宴會的場地,如酒樓及酒店等,已向版權人申請了在該處所播放音樂的許可,則不論新修訂通過與否,在婚宴上播放版權歌曲,都不構成侵權行為。

Q6(b):如把含有版權音樂的影片上載及公開在互聯網上是否侵權?
A6(b): 如該影片只含有版權音樂的一部分,在新修訂下,如符合公平處理原則或可使用「引用」作豁免。如影片含有整段版權音樂,上載者應向版權人繳付相關的版權費用。如有關版權音樂只是附帶地包括在影片中,該影片或可以「附帶地包括版權材料」作豁免。

Q6(c): 如把含有版權物品的相片上載及公開在互聯網上是否侵權
A6(c): 上載及公開含有版權物品的個人相片在互聯網上而不涉商業用途,難以構成損害版權人利益的行為, 或非牟利而傳播的侵權物品對版權持有人的權利,應仍不達到損害的程度。故此,版權人一般也默許此種行為。如有關版權物只是附帶地包括在相片中,該相片或可以「附帶地包括版權材料」作豁免。

Q7(a):「公平使用」有什麽限制?
A7(a): 「公平使用」不以表達手法限制豁免,能否獲得「公平使用」豁免取決於是否符合其四大原則。如新作品的「轉化性」越大,符合四大原則機會越大。「公平使用」有其限制,如不一定涵蓋公平處理下的「諷刺」豁免,但如果「公平使用」修訂是建基於政府現有提出的豁免下而提出,可望為更多無法獲得政府豁免的創作提供更寬闊的創作空間。事實上,新加坡現行和澳洲法律檢討委員會建議的豁免模式,正是讓「公平使用」和「公平處理」互補不足,並存不悖的混合模式。香港也可以發展適合本地創意工業的豁免模式。

Q7(b): 新修訂的「公平處理」豁免是怎樣?
A7(b): 在修訂下,政府沿用了英國式「公平處理」,除了要考慮作品是否屬於「戲仿」、「諷刺」、「營造滑稽」、「模仿」或「批評、評論、引用及報導和評論時事」,法庭須考慮與美國「公平使用」極為相似的四大原則。在詮釋四大原則時,政府文件CB(4)11/14-15(02)號就建議「我們認為美國法院在詮釋其《版權法》的公平使用條文所採用的方式,對香港法院考慮為多項目的進行公平處理的條文,甚具參考價值。」

Q7(c): 何謂合約凌駕條款(contract override)?
A7(c): 儘管政府透過修訂引進公平處理豁免,版權人還是可以在合約(如使用者條款)內加入凌駕條款,如要求使用者自願放棄豁免權,令公平處理豁免形同虛設。這也是英國引進公平處理豁免時,同時禁止合約加入凌駕條款的原因。

Q7(d): 何謂用戶衍生內容(UGC)豁免?
A7(d): 顧名思義,用戶衍生內容豁免的對象,就是一般個人用戶。這些用戶使用版權材料創作的作品(即衍生內容),只要符合下面的條件,就可以得到豁免:(1)衍生內容為個人目的製作或使用,而非牟利或業務用途;(2)使用者相信原作品並無侵權;(3)衍生內容沒有實質傷害原作品的版權利益;(4)衍生內容沒有取代原作品的市場。

Q8:新修訂版權法下的「安全港」,對二次創作人有什麼好處?
A8: 網絡供應商在移除內容前可給予二次創作人辯解機會。當中亦對胡亂提出移除的人士作出懲罰,有阻嚇惡意移除網上內容及濫用移除機制的效果,保護二次創作人的發表自由。但如該服務提供者之前或現在有收取任何可直接歸因於該項侵犯的財務利益,「安全港」則未必適用。

Q9:如新修訂的版權法不是那麼可怕,為什麼我們要反對?
A9: 第一,政府未有釐清「不誠實使用電腦罪」是否適用於版權法,政府應承諾全面檢討該罪行及於《檢控守則》列明「不誠實使用電腦罪」並不適用於版權法下,以釋市民疑慮;第二,民事豁免未有加入英國同樣條例中的「版權豁免凌駕合約條款」。在新版權修訂下,即使二次創作屬於豁免的範圍,但只要版權持有人在使用條款中列明豁免不適用,則版權持有人仍可民事起訴二次創作人,故此新修訂未能完全保護二次創作人的權利;第三,當世界及多個亞洲鄰近國家已採納開放式豁免「公平使用 Fair Use」,香港的版權法應與時並進,鼓勵創意,擺脫舊模式的逐項單點式豁免。因為,香港人的創意是無限大的,我們都值得擁有更好的版權法。

(原文載於2015年12月21日《立場新聞》)

法政匯思「網絡23條」懶人包

編按:被形容為「網絡23條」的2014年版權修訂條例,下周三(12月9日)在立法會恢復二讀,政府、版權持有人以及商會等大力推動立法,網民、民間團體、創作人均憂慮立法會損言論和創作自由,日後隨時「中伏」,誤墮法網。「法政匯思」製作懶人包,以簡明的問答,解釋為何要反對條例草案。

Q1. 轉發/分享甚至看改圖是不是要負上法律責任?

Ans: 修訂下的 28A 條第 5 款寫明「如有關傳播的內容並非由某人決定,則該人不屬向公眾傳播作品。」意即分享超連結、於 Facebook 按「分享」或於 Twitter 分享其他人的推特都不屬「傳播罪」。但如把影片、相片等下載再上載分享就有可能發佈侵權物,可能有民事或刑事責任。單純觀看未有發佈及傳播則不屬侵權行為。
Q2a. 政府是否可以蹺過版權持有人或原創者,對二次創作人士或侵權者直接提出刑事起訴?

Ans: 刑事檢控權由律政司決定。一般而言,沒有版權人協助難以成立表面證供,故政府較難「蹺過版權人」提出版權下的刑事起訴。
Q2b.新修訂下,是不是改片、改歌、改圖,就等於犯上版權刑事罪?

Ans: 新修訂下,如改片、改歌、改圖屬於「戲仿」、「諷刺」、「模仿」、「滑稽」、「引用」或「報導及評論時事」,則可享有豁免。如作品不獲豁免,又達到「損害性分發或傳播」至「取代原作品」的程度,則有可能犯上刑事罪行。
Q3a.  在現有法例下,改圖、改歌、Cap 圖、認真製作的舊曲新詞、認真翻唱歌曲並上載互聯網是否就不會犯法?

Ans: 在現行法例下同樣可被視作侵權行為,版權人可提出民事索償。如侵權行為達至「損害性分發」,發佈者可能面對刑事起訴。
Q3b. 在新版權法下,改圖、改歌、Cap 圖、認真製作的舊曲新詞、認真翻唱歌曲並上載互聯網是否就不會犯法?

Ans: 在新版權法下,只要創作屬於「戲仿」、「諷刺」、「滑稽」、「模仿」、「引用」或「評論及報導時事」,該創作或可能獲新修訂版權法下的民事豁免及刑事豁免。
Q3c.  如果只是純在網上發表同人誌漫畫,不作商業用途,會否違法?

Ans:  同人誌不被豁免。所以,不論現行或修訂後,權版人都可作民事索償。如達至「損害性分發」取代原作品,則可能有刑事責任。
Q3d.  在新或舊版權法下,串流打機有否犯法?

Ans: 未修訂前,串流直播打機未受版權監管,故不算侵權。修訂後新增「傳播權」,串流直播受新修訂「傳播罪」監管,而修訂未有豁免串流直播打機,故權版人都可作民事索償。如達至「損害性分發」取代原作品,則可能有刑事責任。
Q4a.  是不是 Cap一幅圖都已經構成侵權?

Ans: 在沒有豁免及授權下,是。
Q4b. 修訂後,是不是不可以 Cap圖?

Ans: 可以。在「引用」豁免下可 Cap 圖。但引用的程度不可多於所需要目的的程度及附有足夠確認聲明(如作品出處、作品名字、原作者名稱等)。
Q4c. 引用版權作品,是否必須列明出處,否則犯法?

Ans: 是。除非「引用」作品有其他目的,或不用列明出處,例如「戲仿」、「諷刺」、「模仿」、「滑稽」、或「報導及評論時事」。
Q5. 新修訂版權法下的「安全港」,對二次創作人有什麼好處?

Ans: 網絡供應商在移除內容前給予二次創作人辯解機會。當中亦對胡亂提出移除的人士作出懲罰,有阻嚇惡意移除網上內容及濫用移除機制的效果,保護二次創作人的發表自由。
Q6. 如新修訂的版權法不是那麼可怕,為什麼我們要反對?

Ans: 第一,政府未有釐清「不誠實使用電腦罪」是否適用於版權法;第二,民事豁免未有加入英國同樣條例中的「版權豁免凌駕合約條款」。在新版權修訂下,民事豁免只豁免版權上的民事責任,故此新修訂未能完全保護二次創作人不被民事起訴的危機;第三,當世界及多個亞洲鄰近國家已採納開放式豁免「公平使用 Fair Use」,香港的版權法應與時並進,鼓勵創意,擺脫舊模式的逐項單點式豁免。因為,香港人的創意是無限大的,我們都值得擁有更好的版權法。

(原文載於2015年12月5日《立場新聞》)

【平權及反歧視通訊期刊】法政匯E第二期 (Progressive Lawyers Group Equality and Anti-discrimination Newsletter – Issue 2)

(Please scroll down for English Version)

去年大約這個時候,平機會進行了「歧視條例檢討」及委託進行了「有關立法禁止性傾向、性別認同及雙性人身份歧視的可行性研究」(「可行性研究」),在社會引起軒然大波。大家也許還會對此歷歷在目。

其中值得留意的,是有人在網上散播謠言,例如有傳平機會提倡居港未滿七年的新移民有投票權。這明顯是錯誤的資訊,平機會從來沒有作出如此的提議。當快到提交意見書截止日期時,大量意見書湧至,導致平機會的系統故障。平機會要向媒體作出澄清,並延遲了諮詢限期。[1]

香港現有四條反歧視條例,分別為《性別歧視條例》(第480章)、《殘疾歧視條例》(第487章)、《家庭崗位歧視條例》(第527章)和《種族歧視條例》(第602章)。

「歧視條例檢討」是對現時反歧視條例的全面檢討,包括提議仿效英國的做法,將以上所述四條條例合併為一條綜合條例,並增加禁止的歧視理由,例如事實婚姻、居民身份等。

另外,平機會委託了香港中文大學香港亞太研究所性別研究中心進行「可行性研究」,旨在針對LGBTI(Lesbian女同性戀者 、 Gay男同性戀者、Bisexual 雙性戀者、Transgender 跨性別人士、Intersex 雙性人)在香港遭受歧視但缺乏保障的問題。

平機會在2015年9月17日發出的新聞稿宣佈計劃於2016年年初向政府提交一份有關「歧視條例檢討」的建議報告,而「可行性研究」之報告將於2015年年底向公眾發表。[2A]

法政匯思將會密切留意此兩個項目的進展,並於有需要時作出回應。

我們同時注意到,一個開放民主的社會,固然應當珍惜言論自由,然而大家行使這自由時亦須謹慎。我們希望網民避免魯莽地地處理網上的資料,避免散播不實的傳言。每個人都應該不被誤導,亦同時不應故意或魯莽地誤導別人。

少數族裔的就業與教育機會

隨著新學年的開始,所有學生都也回到學校,包括屬於少數族裔的學生。在香港,少數族裔學生一直以來,無論在升學或就業方面都因為語言障礙而遇到很大的挑戰,而教育局亦於2015年夏季宣佈了一些新措施為非華語學生提供課後支援。最近一個研究顯示七成的非學位課程被評為不適合非華語學生,少數族裔於升學方面的選擇比本地廣東話學生要少得多。

新家園協會的調查顯示九成的少數族裔受訪者視香港為家。但調查亦顯示他們在香港求職時面對極大挑戰,除了因為語言障礙之外,更因為固有的歧視。很多僱主都偏向聘用華人,因為他們認為華人比少數族裔更了解本地文化。

不論其族裔,在港的少數族裔的教育都不應被忽略,而其就業機會亦不該被削弱。香港政府,僱主及廣大市民都有責任幫助少數族裔融入社會,因為大家不論膚色都是香港人。

鐵窗後的歧視

社民連陳德章因向財爺擲蛋而被判監三星期,出獄後提出兩項司法覆核,要求覆核懲教署之決定。第一是署方純粹以囚犯膚色為由作出之不同膳食安排:黃皮膚吃中餐,白皮膚及黑皮膚吃西餐,而享用不同餐的囚犯不能共坐。第二是署方有關外借書藉上限之規定:囚犯每月能從獄外獲得六本書,而宗教書藉卻不受限制。陳指署方上述安排違反《基本法》、《種族歧視條例》及《經濟、社會及文化權利公約》[3][4]。

此前,一名跨性別女性囚犯也提出過司法覆核,指懲教署對跨性別囚犯的安排構成殘忍、不人道或侮辱之處遇,違反《香港人權法案》。申請人接受賀爾蒙治療多年,以維持其女性身體特徽,更打算於將來接受變性手術。在囚其間,署方卻視她與其他男性無異,讓男警及男懲教人員替她搜身,更曾禁止她繼續賀爾蒙療程數月[5]。

《香港人權法案》的確允許法律以指定理由對受合法被拘禁人士的部份權利施以限制,卻不表示這些限制能夠任意產生而不受監管。事實上,平等及免於歧視的權利,作為一項基本人權,是穿越鐵窗的。

難民權益

見到難民紛紛湧入德國,你會否擔心過、恐懼過其他國家陸沉?只有查看難民定義,就會明白只有相當極端的情況,難民才可停留定居於別的國家。而這些定義都是為了保護任何人,不論是否黃皮膚黑頭髮,都可以有基本的生存權利。難民被定義為「因有正當理由畏懼由於種族、宗教、國籍、屬於其一社會團體或具有某種政治見解的原因留在其本國之外,並且由於此項畏懼而不能或不願受該國保護的人;或者不具有國籍並由於上述事情留在他以前經常居住國家以外而現在不能或者由於上述畏懼不願返回該國的人。」

香港的難民權益普遍不被重視:香港並未簽署聯合國1951年《關於難民地位公約》及1967年《關於難民地位的議定書》,比中國大陸更落後,香港在這方面的人權保障都唯有倚賴法庭。FB v. Director of Immigration [2009] 2 HKLRD 346一案裁定,之前用於審查《禁止酷刑公約》申請的機制並未達到公正標準,迫使政府改革其審查制度。其他案件則要求政府向申請人提供律師代表、個案審查完結前不得驅返申請人、必須依法審核每個申請人的個案等。

2013年7月,政府在立法會保安事務委員會公布了採用統一審核機制的計劃。統一審核機制將用於審查基於以下三項理由提出的不驅回申請:(a) 《聯合國禁止酷刑和其他殘忍、不人道或有辱人格的待遇或處罰公約》中定義的酷刑;(b)《香港人權法案》第3條限定的酷刑和其他殘忍、不人道或有辱人格的待遇或處罰[6];和/或 (c) 1951年《關於難民地位公約》第33條原則規定的迫害。

《聯合國禁止酷刑和其他殘忍、不人道或有辱人格的待遇或處罰公約》界定酷刑申請為「為了向某人或第三者取得情報或供狀,為了他或第三者所作或涉嫌的行為對他加以處罰,或為了恐嚇或威脅他或第三者,或為了基於任何一種歧視的任何理由,蓄意使某人在肉體或精神上遭受劇烈疼痛或痛苦的任何行為,而這種疼痛或痛苦是由公職人員或以官方身份行使職權的其他人所造成或在其唆使、同意或默許下造成的。」

《香港人權法案》第3條指任何人不得施以酷刑,或予以殘忍、不人道或侮辱之處遇或懲罰。

1951年《關於難民地位公約》第33條定明任何締約國不得以任何方式將難民驅逐或送回至其生命或自由因為他的種族、宗教、國籍、參加某一社會團體或具有某種政治見解而受威脅的領土邊界。

 

[1]網上謠傳修理  新移民可投票  激發市民炸爆平機會伺服器,《蘋果日報》,2014年10月7日

[2] 平機會匯報工作計劃及進度,2015年9月17日

[3] Jailed politician files judicial reviews on ‘racially discriminatory arrangement’ in prison, Hong Kong Free Press, 21 August 2015,

[4] Two years after hurling egg, convicted Hong Kong democracy activist challenges prison book limit, South China Morning Post, 21 August 2015

[5] Transgender woman takes Hong Kong police, prison officers to court over all-men detention ordeal, South China Morning Post, 14 June 2015

[6]  Ubamaka v the Secretary for Security [2013] 2 HKC 75

 

文章來自【平權及反歧視通訊期刊】法政匯E第二期

Progressive Lawyers Group Equality and Anti-discrimination Newsletter – Issue 2

Discrimination Law Review and Study on Anti-discrimination Law for LGBTI

At about this time last year, the Equal Opportunities Commission (the “EOC”) conducted the Discrimination Law Review (the “DLR”) and the Feasibility Study on Legislating against Discrimination on the Grounds of Sexual Orientation, Gender Identity and Intersex Status (the “Study”), prompting social controversy.

One notable phenomenon was that false rumours were being spread online, such as the – entirely untrue – allegation that the EOC had suggested new immigrants would have the right to vote even when they had not resided in Hong Kong for 7 years. Numerous submissions were made which ultimately led to the breakdown of the submission system near the original deadline for submissions. These developments prompted the EOC to issue clarifications to the media and extend the deadline for submissions.[1]

Currently, there are four anti-discrimination ordinances in Hong Kong, namely the Sex Discrimination Ordinance (Cap. 480), the Disability Discrimination Ordinance (Cap. 487), the Family Status Discrimination Ordinance (Cap. 527), and the Race Discrimination Ordinance (Cap. 602).

The DLR was a comprehensive review of the current anti-discrimination regime. The proposals it considered included the merger of the four existing ordinances into a single consolidated ordinance, following the lead of the United Kingdom, and the addition of further prohibited grounds of discrimination, such as residency status or being in a de facto relationship. The Study – commissioned by the EOC and conducted by the Gender Research Centre of the Hong Kong Institute of Asia Pacific Studies, the Chinese University of Hong Kong – targeted the glaring absence of legal protection from discrimination for Hong Kong’s LGBTI (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, intersex) community.

By a press release on 17 September 2015, the EOC announced that it plans to submit a report with its recommendations following the DLR to the Government in early 2016. The report resulting from the Study will be released to the public around the end of 2015.[2]

The Progressive Lawyers Group will keep a close eye on the progress of these two projects, and will make appropriate responses when necessary.

On a side note, although freedom of expression ought to be cherished in a open and democratic society, it is also important to emphasise that the enjoyment of this freedom comes with responsibility. We hope that netizens will refrain from processing information online recklessly, and refrain from spreading false rumours. It is vital that one not be misled, and to refrain from actively misleading others, whether wilfully or recklessly.

Career and learning opportunities for Ethnic Minorities

The school year has started, and all students are now back to school, including ethnic minority students. Although the Education Bureau announced new measures in the summer of 2015 to provide after-school support for non-Chinese-speaking students, the language barrier has remained a big challenge to educational or career advancement for ethnic minority students. A recent study showed that 70 per cent of non-degree courses were unsuitable for non-Chinese speakers. The choices for members of ethnic minorities are far more limited than those available to Cantonese-speaking Hongkongers.

A survey by the New Home Association of ethnic minority residents in Hong Kong showed that 90 per cent of interviewees viewed Hong Kong as home. However, the survey also showed that respondents encountered tremendous difficulties in getting employment because of the language barrier, as well as racial discrimination. Employers in Hong Kong tend to employ ethnic Chinese because they assume that ethnic Chinese have a better understanding of the local culture than members of ethnic minorities.

The education of members of ethnic minorities must not be neglected and their career opportunities in Hong Kong must not be undermined. The government, employers and all fellow citizens all share a responsibility to help them fulfil their potential as fellow Hongkongers.

Discrimination Behind Bars

Derek Chan Tak-cheung, secretary general of the League of Social Democrats who was imprisoned for three weeks after egging the Financial Secretary, filed two applications for judicial review of decisions made by the Correctional Services Department (the “CSD”). He claimed that the following treatment and regulations violated the Basic Law, Race Discrimination Ordinance and the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights: (1) Differential catering treatment solely based on inmates’ skin colour and the separation of “Chinese” and “Western” prisoners; and (2) The limit on number of non-religious books a prisoner could receive per month, a limit from which religious books are exempted [3][4].

Months before, a transgender inmate also applied for judicial review of the CSD’s treatment of transgender prisoners. The inmate, a biological male who had been undergoing hormone therapy for several years and intended to complete her sex-reassignment surgery later, was treated by the CSD as a male prisoner and strip-searched by male officers. Her request to continue receiving hormone therapy was also denied for several months. The inmate alleged that the CSD had engaged in inhumane and degrading treatment, which is prohibited, in any circumstances, under the Hong Kong Bill of Rights [5].

Although the Hong Kong Bill of Rights Ordinance permits the rights of lawfully detained persons to be restricted by law in order to serve particular aims, such restrictions cannot be arbitrary or immune from scrutiny. The right to equality and non-discrimination, as a fundamental human right, remains in full force behind prison bars.

Rights of refugees

Did you feel a sense of apprehension on seeing news stories about scores of refugees fleeing for Germany? The definition of refugee means that only extreme circumstances will allow them to remain in other countries. Under the 1951 Refugee Convention, a refugee is someone who “owing to a well-founded fear of being persecuted for reasons of race, religion, nationality, membership of a particular social group or political opinion, is outside the country of his nationality, and is unable to, or owing to such fear, is unwilling to avail himself of the protection of that country.”

The rights of refugees and asylum seekers are generally not taken seriously in Hong Kong. The government has not even signed the United Nations 1951 Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees or 1967 Protocol Relating to the Status of Refugees, instruments that even Mainland China has signed. As a result, refugees have turned to the courts for redress. In FB v. Director of Immigration [2009] 2 HKLRD 346, the Court declared the existing screening mechanism not up to the legally required standard of fairness and thus ordered the government to adjust its mechanisms. In other cases, claimants fought for other rights including the right to legal representation, the right not to be expelled, returned or extradited when applying for a torture claim, and the right to have their claim assessed according to law.

In July 2013, the Government announced a new Unified Screening Mechanism for applications relating to asylum (the “USM”). The USM assesses the applicant’s non-refoulement claims based on (a) risks of torture under the Convention Against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (the CAT Convention); (b) rights under Article 3 in the Hong Kong Bill of Rights against any torture, other cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment or punishment [6]; and (c) risks of persecution under the 1951 Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees Article 33.

Torture is defined in the CAT Convention as “any act by which severe pain or suffering, whether physical or mental, is intentionally inflicted on a person for such purposes as obtaining from him or a third person information or a confession, punishing him for an act he or a third person has committed or is suspected of having committed, or intimidating or coercing him or a third person, or for any reason based on discrimination of any kind, when such pain or suffering is inflicted by or at the instigation of or with the consent or acquiescence of a public official or other person acting in an official capacity.”

Article 3 of the Hong Kong Bill of Rights states that no one shall be subjected to torture or the cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.

Article 33 of the 1951 Refugee Convention requires that no Contracting State shall expel or return (“refouler”) a refugee in any manner whatsoever to the frontiers of territories where his life or freedom would be threatened on account of his race, religion, nationality, membership of a particular social group or political opinion.

 

[1]網上謠傳修理  新移民可投票  激發市民炸爆平機會伺服器,《蘋果日報》,2014年10月7日

[2] 平機會匯報工作計劃及進度,2015年9月17日

[3] Jailed politician files judicial reviews on ‘racially discriminatory arrangement’ in prison, Hong Kong Free Press, 21 August 2015,

[4] Two years after hurling egg, convicted Hong Kong democracy activist challenges prison book limit, South China Morning Post, 21 August 2015

[5] Transgender woman takes Hong Kong police, prison officers to court over all-men detention ordeal, South China Morning Post, 14 June 2015

[6]  Ubamaka v the Secretary for Security [2013] 2 HKC 75

Originally published in Stand News on 13 October 2015

一張滿載感動和希望的授權書

【文:吳宗鑾@法政匯思】

(編按:港大畢業生議會將於9月1日舉行特別大會,處理港大校友關注組要求校委會在30天內確認副校長任命等的動議,法政匯思連同其他專業團體,連日在各區擺設街站,爭取港大校友的授權書。)

昨晚在堅尼地城擺街站的時候,有一位中年男士,拖著一個小小的行李箱,背著背包,遠遠看見我們,卻只是留在7、8米外,拿出一個平板電腦對著我們的街站,拍了好幾張照片。

由於當時DAB也在附近擺檔(抽保留電車的水),我下意識覺得這個男人有點可疑。所以,當他走過來,查詢關於授權書的問題時,我特意強調我們保障私隱的方法。他聽完不置可否,似乎還要考慮什麼,我也就不去管他繼續派傳單。我還「懶醒」地跟另外一位義工說:「條友怪怪地,小心DAB啲人過嚟攞私隱作文章。」

沒多久,那位先生又回來了,還拿出一張已經除了被授權人的資料外,已經填好的授權書。我對自己的疑心感到有點不好意思,默默地協助他填好授權書。這位先生確實是個很小心的人,填完後還要給授權書拍照留個副本。

拍完照他略帶靦腆地說:「其實我響數碼港返工,有朋友話畀我知你哋今晚響呢處擺街站,專登過嚟交張授權書㗎!」

我當時的臉肯肯定有點紅。

「我有個朋友住喺元朗,佢都想填,唔知你哋跟住會係邊到擺街站呢?」

「我哋今個星期六會去沙田…不過張授權書一定要響聽日六點前送去港大,唔係你簽咗都冇用。」

「寄呢?寄得唔得呀?」

「寄都得,不過我驚你趕唔切喎!」

我看他又皺眉、又嘆氣的,再幫他問了一下,確定一定要交原件,傳真、電郵都不接受。

那位先生搖搖頭,向我道了謝拖著喼離去。

幾分鐘後,我遠遠看見他拖著喼又從港鐵電手扶梯的方向,向我們匆匆走來。

「可唔可以畀張空白嘅授權書我呢?」接著又匆忙離開。

沒幾分鐘,那位先生又回來了。這次他把我拉到一旁,說「我朋友真係想填授權書,但填咗點畀返你哋呢?」

「哦,不如我畀我手機號碼你,到時你再call我安排啦!」

再次道謝之後,這位中年男士就真的離開了。

大概一個多小時以後吧,我收到了那位先生的電話:「Chris,我入咗元朗攞到我個friend嘅授權書啦!我點樣交畀你哋呀?」

「哇,你真係去咗元朗?(聲音掩不住激動)請問你住邊㗎?」

「我住藍田嘅,點好呢?好唔好你等等我,我依家攞過嚟畀你?」

「唉,唔使啦,你咁有心去到元朗攞張form,唔通藍田我都唔肯過嚟咩!」

就是這樣,我們多了一張載滿感動和希望的授權書。

(原文載於2015年8月28日《立場新聞》)

【平權及反歧視通訊期刊】法政匯E 第一期 (Progressive Lawyers Group equality and anti-discrimination newsletter – Issue 1)

《 法政匯E:第一期 》

為推廣平權及消除社會上各式各樣的歧視,法政匯思特意設立通訊期刊《法政匯E》(E代表Equality,即平等),探視社會上的平權及歧視議題,希望能夠引起公眾關注平權背後的法律及政治問題。

 

“第七條 -法律之前人人平等,並有權享受法律的平等保護,不受任何歧視。人人有權享受平等保護,以免受違反本宣言的任何歧視行為以及煽動這種歧視的任何行為之害。

《世界人權宣言》

責怪受害者

近日香港發生的兩件事,均反映出社會上部份掌握權力優勢的人,慣於將責任推向被歧視的受害者身上。第一件事,是葛珮帆議員提議設立智障人士名冊,要智障人士自願登記,以避免執法人員「好人當賊辦」;第二件事,是陳志全議員在港鐵被人就其性傾向作出侮辱後,《頭條日報》社論竟然稱其為「自作自受」、「自食其果」。就這兩件事件,法政匯思都有發表短評予以譴責[1] [2]

簡單來說,兩件事件都反映著部分人認為,一個人因為自己的身份特徵而被不公對待(例如殘疾和性傾向),責任是在於那個人自己身上。我們認爲人人生而平等,即使一個人身份特徵與主流社會的其他人不盡相同,都不應該構成一種罪責,要被所謂的主流如此欺壓。

聯署運動反恐同

恐同(homophobia),即對同性戀者的恐懼或憎恨。港鐵阿姐辱罵陳志全事件後,由歌手何韻詩和黃耀明成立的「大愛同盟」等同志友善團體發起了網上聯署,題為「向恐同仇恨說不!」,邀請個人及團體支持,敦促政府就性傾向歧視立法。法政匯思亦為聯署組織之一。

聯署網頁:http://goo.gl/forms/P8GT0pKQIu

護老院涉嫌虐老事件

生老病死是人生必經階段,我們誰會希望,辛勤大半生後,晚年卻遭到旁人的虐待,及社會的冷落?

大埔一護老院爆出涉嫌將長者脫至全裸在露天天台等洗澡的事件。香港平等機會委員會已於2015年5月27日發表聲明,指出其行徑可能觸犯《性別歧視條例》中性騷擾的條文[3]

法政匯思敦促社會各界尊重每一個人的固有尊嚴,包括長者、殘疾人士、缺乏自理能力的人士等,並促請政府加強執法,防止類似的事件再發生。

聯合國人權理事會就性傾向及性別認同歧視及暴力的報告

聯合國人權事務高級專員於2015年5月4日向人權理事會呈交報告[4],匯報世界各地基於性傾向及性別認同的歧視及暴力。報告提到世界各地的歧視深入各個範疇,包括醫療、教育、就業、房屋、言論集結自由、庇護及移民、家庭及社區、伴侶身份承認及社會福利,以及性別認同。

報告亦向各國政府提出20點建議,包括訂立仇恨罪行法、訓練法官及執法人員應對相關的侵犯、取締「拗直治療」、禁止應用無醫學需要的程序於雙性兒童身上、將各方同意的同性性行為去刑事化、設立反歧視法、承認同性伴侶關係及他們的子女,確保平等福利、提升公眾教育等等。

香港對不同性傾向和性別認同的人士的保障乏善足陳。港府要到何時才聽到,埋沒在社會壓迫中的呼聲?

平權小知識:世界人權宣言

鑑於對人類家庭所有成員的固有尊嚴及其平等的和不移的權利的承認,乃是世界自由、正義與和平的基礎,

鑑於對人權的無視和侮蔑已發展為野蠻暴行,這些暴行玷污了人類的良心…

第一條
人人生而自由,在尊嚴和權利上一律平等。他們賦有理性和良心,並應以兄弟關係的精神相對待。

節錄自《世界人權宣言》

第二次世界大戰期間,發生了種種殘暴不仁的事。很多時候,這些暴行都是針對某一個族群所作的,例如納粹德軍屠殺猶太人及同性戀者,日軍屠殺中國人等。二戰的全球死亡人數超過6千萬。

這是一段人類不堪回首,但卻應刻骨銘心的回憶。

二戰後,國際社會汲取了這段殘暴歷史的教訓,共同訂立了《世界人權宣言》,於1948年12月10日在聯合國大會通過。序言的第一句,清楚列明人類「固有尊嚴」及「平等和不移的權利」兩個概念。

及後,為了進一步落實對人權以及平等權利的保障,聯合國相繼通過《公民權利及政治權利國際公約》、《經濟、社會、文化權利國際公約》、《消除一切形式種族歧視國際公約》、《消除對婦女一切形式歧視公約》、《殘疾人權利公約》等各具法律約束力的公約。

時至今天,《世界人權宣言》訂立已快將七個十年,不同的國際公約也落實了數十年,各社會對落實平權及消除歧視的成果,是否能夠令人滿意?

➢  在美國,非白人佔全國人口只有少於38%,但2015年頭五個月裡,被警方殺死的人當中,超過46%都是非白人。被殺的黑人中,31.9%根本沒有持武器,是白人沒有持武器卻被殺比例(15.0%)的兩倍以上。[5]

➢  在2011年,全球89%的成年男人有讀寫能力,但女性比男性低9%;其中性別差異嚴重的地區包括阿拉伯國家(男85%:女68%),南及西亞洲(男74%:女52%),及非洲下撒哈拉地區(男68%:女51%)[6]

➢  全球最少76個國家仍然將同性性行為訂為罪行,最少5個國家可處以死刑[7]

香港的情況又如何?

➢  2014年5-6月,男性每月工資中位數為$16,500,但是女性為$12,700[8]。事實上,在2013/14學年,修讀大學教資會資助課程的女性佔53.7%,比男性多7.4%。[9]

➢  香港現時有四條反歧視條例,分別為《性別歧視條例》、《家庭崗位歧視條例》、《殘疾歧視條例》,及《種族歧視條例》,但《種族歧視條例》不涵蓋政府在執行職能和行使權利時作出的歧視。

➢  香港法律不承認任何同性伴侶關係,也就是說同性伴侶不能享有異性伴侶組織家庭及其附帶的所有權利。香港也沒有任何針對性傾向及性別認同歧視的法律。

從宏觀的角度看世界,看香港,不難發現數據上、制度上、客觀事實上,我們似乎仍與理想差距甚遠。然而,這些也許只能反映社會不公的冰山一角,更多社交之間、職場上、言語之間,或者潛意識裡的歧視,難以用數據衡量,卻又確確實實存在於我們之中。

 

法政匯思

2015年6月15日

 

[1] 錯的到底是誰?,2015年5月26日,https://www.thestandnews.com/society/錯的到底是誰

[2] 頭條日報社論  令人齒冷,2015年6月3日,https://thestandnews.com/politics/頭條日報社論-令人齒冷

[3] 平機會就護老院涉嫌虐老發出聲明,2015年5月27日,平等機會委員會,http://www.eoc.org.hk/eoc/GraphicsFolder/ShowContent.aspx?ItemID=13064

[4]Discrimination and violence against individuals based on their sexual orientation and gender identity, United Nations Human Rights Council, 4 May 2015, http://www.ohchr.org/EN/HRBodies/HRC/RegularSessions/Session29/Documents/A_HRC_29_23_en.doc

[5] Black Americans killed by police twice as likely to be unarmed as white people, The guardian, 1 Jun 2015, http://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2015/jun/01/black-americans-killed-by-police-analysis

[6] Adult and Youth Literacy – National, regional and global trends, 1986-2015, pp8-9, United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation, http://www.uis.unesco.org/Education/Documents/literacy-statistics-trends-1985-2015.pdf

[7] Fact Sheet – Criminalization, Free & Equal, United Nations, https://www.unfe.org/system/unfe-43-UN_Fact_Sheets_-_FINAL_-_Criminalization_(1).pdf

[8] 2014 Report on Annual Earnings and Hours Survey, Census and Statistics Department, p5, http://www.statistics.gov.hk/pub/B10500142014AN14B0100.pdf

[9] Women and Men in Hong Kong Statistics 2014, Census and Statistics Department, p70, http://www.statistics.gov.hk/pub/B11303032014AN14B0100.pdf

Progressive Lawyers Group equality and anti-discrimination newsletter – Issue 1

To promote equality and eliminate discrimination in Hong Kong, the Progressive Lawyers Group is launching this newsletter to explore issues related to equality and discrimination and to enhance public awareness on the legal and political problems behind equality.

Prelude

“Article 7 – All are equal before the law and are entitled without any discrimination to equal protection of the law. All are entitled to equal protection against any discrimination in violation of this Declaration and against any incitement to such discrimination.”

The Universal Declaration of Human Rights

Victim-blaming

Two incidents that took place recently in Hong Kong showed that some of those who are in power habitually shift the blame onto victims of discrimination. The first incident relates to a proposal made by legislative councillor Elizabeth Quat to set up a register to record information of persons with intellectual disabilities, with the alleged aim of preventing wrongful arrests by law enforcement agencies. The second incident relates to Headline Daily’s ludicrous comment on the verbal assault against legislative councillor Raymond Chan based on his sexual orientation. With reference to the assault, Headline Daily’s editorial astonishingly commented that Mr. Chan deserved to be treated this way. The Progressive Lawyers Group has earlier released statements condemning the incidents[1] [2].

The two incidents reflect that there are some people in Hong Kong who are of the view that if a person experiences discrimination based on his or her personal attributes (e.g. disability and sexual orientation), it is the fault of that person. We, on the other hand, are of the view that all persons are equal and it is certainly not a crime for a person to possess features that are different from mainstream society and most certainly should not be bullied for them.

Joint Statement on Homophobia

Homophobia means fear or hatred towards homosexuals. Since the verbal assault incident, BigLove Alliance (a group set up by singers Denise Ho Wan-see and Anthony Wong Yiu-ming), together with other gay-friendly organisations, launched an online joint statement entitled “Say No to Homophobia!” urging the Government to enact anti-discrimination laws based on sexual orientation.

The joint statement is open to all individuals and organisations to sign (the statement is at http://goo.gl/forms/P8GT0pKQIu).

Abuse of Elderly in Elderly Home

Aging is inevitable, but it is certainly the case that no one would want to spend their twilight years being abused and abandoned by society.

There was a recent incident involving staff of an elderly home in Tai Po who allegedly stripped residents naked in an open terrace before the residents were taken to the indoor shower.  With reference to the incident, the Equal Opportunities Commission issued a statement on 27 May 2015 saying that such action could be a breach of the sexual harassment provisions under the Sex Discrimination Ordinance[3].

The Progressive Lawyers Group urges that the dignity of every person (including the elderly, people with disability and people who are incapable of self-care) should be respected and that the Government should strengthen the enforcement of the relevant laws to prevent similar incidents from taking place in the future.

United Nations Human Rights Council’s Report on Discrimination and Violence against Individuals based on Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity

On 4 May 2015, the United Nations High Commission of Human Rights submitted a report to the Human Rights Council on discrimination and violence against individuals based on their sexual orientation and gender identity around the world[4]. The report revealed that discrimination is experienced on all fronts around the world, including health care, education, employment, housing, rights to assembly and expression, asylum and migration, family and community, recognition of same-sex relationships as well as recognition of gender identity.

The report also made 20 recommendations to different governments, including enacting hate crime laws relating to homophobia, training law enforcement personnel and judges in addressing violations related to sexual orientation and gender identity, banning “conversion” therapy, prohibiting medically unnecessary procedures on intersex children, revising criminal laws to remove offences relating to consensual same-sex conduct, providing legal recognition to same-sex couples and their children and ensuring they receive equal benefits, and enhancing public education.

The protection afforded to people with different sexual orientation and gender identity in Hong Kong is wholly inadequate. When will the Government hear the voice of those who are socially oppressed?

Equality Tips: Universal Declaration of Human Rights

Whereas recognition of the inherent dignity and of the equal and inalienable rights of all members of the human family is the foundation of freedom, justice and peace in the world,

Whereas disregard and contempt for human rights have” resulted in barbarous acts which have outraged the conscience of mankind…

Article 1
All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights. They are endowed with reason and conscience and should act towards one another in a spirit of brotherhood.”

Excerpt from the Universal Declaration of Human Rights

During the Second World War, all manner of brutal atrocities took place. Such atrocities were often committed against a particular group of people, such as the mass murder of Jews and homosexuals by the Nazis and of Chinese people by Japanese soldiers. Over 60 million people were killed during WWII.

This history was painful, but it also left an indelible mark.

After WWII, the international community learned a lesson from this brutal history and proclaimed the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. The Universal Declaration of Human Rights was adopted by the United Nations General Assembly on 10 December 1948. In the first sentence of its Preamble, it clearly sets out the concepts of “inherent dignity” and “equal and inalienable rights” of mankind.

Subsequently, to protect human rights and equality further, the United Nations passed a series of legally binding international conventions, which included the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination, the Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination Against Women and the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.

It will soon be the 70th year since the Universal Declaration of Human Rights was first adopted. It has also been several decades since the other international conventions were adopted. How satisfied are we with the results achieved in terms of equality and discrimination?

➢  In the United States, non-white Americans make up only 38% of the population but 46% of people killed by the police in the first five months of 2015 were non-white Americans. Among the black Americans who were killed during this period, 31.9% of them were unarmed. Black Americans are also more than twice as likely to be unarmed when killed during encounters with police as whites (only 15%)[5].

➢  In 2011, globally, 89% of men were literate while female literacy rate is 9% lower. The gap was especially large in Arab States (male rate of 85% vs. female rate of 68%), South and West Asia (male rate of 74% vs. female rate of 52%) and sub-Saharan Africa (male rate of 68% vs. female rate of 51%)[6].

➢  There are still at least 76 countries that criminalise same-sex relationships and in at least five countries, death penalty can be imposed[7].

How about Hong Kong?

➢  In May and June 2014, the median monthly wage for male employees was HK$16,500, compared to HK$12,700 for female employees. In fact, for the academic year of 2013/14, the percentage share of female students who were enrolled in programmes funded by University Grants Committee was 53.7%[8] (7.4% more than male students)[9].

➢  There are currently four pieces of anti-discrimination legislation in Hong Kong, namely, the Sex Discrimination Ordinance, the Family Status Discrimination Ordinance, the Disability Discrimination Ordinance, and the Race Discrimination Ordinance. However, the Race Discrimination is the only piece of legislation that does not cover discrimination exercised by the Government in the performance of its functions or exercise of its powers.  

➢  Hong Kong law does not recognise same-sex relationships, which means that same-sex couples are not afforded the same rights to have family and other associated benefits as heterosexual couples. Hong Kong also does not have any anti-discrimination legislation based on sexual orientation or gender identity.

Looking at the overall picture, it is not difficult to see that we are still very far off from the ideal of equality. Instances of discrimination can readily be found in many social settings, in the workplace, in conversation and even subconsciously in people’s minds. What we have discussed in this newsletter is only the tip of the iceberg. Whether one looks at the statistics, examines the institutional framework or investigates the objective facts, it is apparent that inequality still permeates our society.

Progressive Lawyers Group

15 June 2015

 

[1] 26 May 2015, Stand News – https://www.thestandnews.com/society/錯的到底是誰 (scroll down this link for English version)

[2] 3 June 2015, Stand News – https://thestandnews.com/politics/頭條日報社論-令人齒冷 (scroll down this link for English version)

[3] The EOC Issues Statement on Alleged Abuse of Elderly Residents in Nursing Home http://www.eoc.org.hk/eoc/GraphicsFolder/ShowContent.aspx?ItemID=13064

[4]Discrimination and violence against individuals based on their sexual orientation and gender identity, United Nations Human Rights Council, 4 May 2015, http://www.ohchr.org/EN/HRBodies/HRC/RegularSessions/Session29/Documents/A_HRC_29_23_en.doc

[5] Black Americans killed by police twice as likely to be unarmed as white people, The guardian, 1 Jun 2015, http://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2015/jun/01/black-americans-killed-by-police-analysis

[6] Adult and Youth Literacy – National, regional and global trends, 1986-2015, pp8-9, United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation, http://www.uis.unesco.org/Education/Documents/literacy-statistics-trends-1985-2015.pdf

[7] Fact Sheet – Criminalization, Free & Equal, United Nations, https://www.unfe.org/system/unfe-43-UN_Fact_Sheets_-_FINAL_-_Criminalization_(1).pdf

[8] 2014 Report on Annual Earnings and Hours Survey, Census and Statistics Department, p5, http://www.statistics.gov.hk/pub/B10500142014AN14B0100.pdf

[9] Women and Men in Hong Kong Statistics 2014, Census and Statistics Department, p70, http://www.statistics.gov.hk/pub/B11303032014AN14B0100.pdf

Article originally appeared in Stand News in 15 June 2015

The Lies of the “Ministry of Truth”: How the Mainland wipes away memories of June 4

By Hu Tu, Progressive Lawyers Group

As an immigrant under Hong Kong’s “Mainland Talent and Professionals” scheme (內地人才計劃), on the day I obtained Hong Kong permanent residency, I felt as though I could breathe more easily.

Unless you have lived in the place I grew up and received most of my education – the Mainland – you will not appreciate the immense sense of relief I felt “escaping” from a country plagued with lies.

A political turmoil in 1989

I was in kindergarten in 1989. The only memory I had of June 4 came from Hong Kong news, which my family was able to watch through a satellite dish secretly installed on our roof. The dead bodies on television gave me nightmares for days.

In my secondary school, June 4 was brushed over in the history textbooks in literally half a sentence – “a political turmoil in 1989 as spring turned to summer”. Not even the month or date was mentioned. This “political turmoil” was, naturally, not an exam topic, so there was no reason to teach or speak of it. My childhood memory of the incident gradually started to fade.

It was not until a few years ago, when I came to study at the University of Hong Kong, that the truth dawned on me. I saw this vivid description in a book I picked up at the university library by the Chinese journalist Yang Jisheng entitled The Political Struggle of China’s Reform Era:

“At 6 a.m. this morning near the Telegraph Building, a tank was heading in a westward direction. The people on the street were chanting slogans and singing. The tank suddenly headed at full steam towards the students. Because there was tear gas, the students could not open their eyes; there were barricades behind them so they could neither retreat nor escape. After the tanks ploughed through the crowd, there were eleven dead bodies. There was blood coming out of the first body I saw; the head was squashed. The other bodies were all squashed, although I did not see any blood coming out of those.”

That led to my first attendance of the June 4 candlelight vigil at the Victoria Park in Hong Kong – I who grew up in the “People’s Republic” and who never had the chance to exercise my constitutional right of demonstration and assembly. Amidst the ocean of candlelight, and the spontaneous chorus of the song “Flower of Freedom” (自由花) by tens of thousands of people, I was hit with mixed emotions of joy and sorrow – I had lived in a web of lies for over 20 years, but I was now living in Hong Kong, the only place in China where the truth could still be told.

Young people think that June 4 is a mining accident

George Orwell warned in his book 1984 how authoritarian regimes employ lies to rule. In Orwell’s dystopia, the department responsible for the fabricating lies is called the “Ministry of Truth”, while the department responsible for deploying the Thought Police and eliminating dissidents is called “Ministry of Love”. The state’s most ingenious measure is the invention of “Newspeak”, a new language, which has the effect of limiting the expression and conceptualisation of any disobedient or rebellious thoughts. It is introduced to replace English and to serve as the ultimate linguistic tool to eliminate any threat to the regime.

“A political turmoil in 1989 as spring turned to summer” is only one of the many lies manufactured in the Mainland by the “Ministry of Truth”.

Yet this lie may soon prevail. The younger generation of mainlanders who did not experience June 4 firsthand have no clue what June 4 was – just like I used to have no idea.

A few years back, an advertisement appeared in the classified ad section of the Chengdu Evening Post on the day of the June 4 anniversary: “Our deepest respect to the resolute surviving mothers of June 4”. The only reason this advertisement got past the censors was because the young woman responsible for reviewing classified had never heard of June 4. She called a friend to ask, and was told that “June 4” was probably a mining accident.

Ministry of Truth teaches Hong Kong people about democracy

Now this lying regime has put on a righteous face to lecture Hong Kong people about what democracy and universal suffrage mean.

Why is the plain wording of the Basic Law (Hong Kong’s mini-constitution) not enough, and why must the Hong Kong people “re-educate themselves as to the correct meaning of the Basic Law”, as the Central Government proclaims? Because only the interpretation of the “Ministry of Truth” can count as the truth.

It is said that “the old cannot kill the young forever”. But lies are even more powerful than guns and tanks. Will democracy ever prevail, if the young continue to be fooled by the lies of the Ministry of Truth?

Hu Tu is a lawyer in Hong Kong who grew up in the Mainland. Because his family still lives in the Mainland, his name has been changed to protect his identity.

Article was originally published in Stand News on 3 June 2015

我們責無旁貸!

一個滙集事務律師及大律師為核心價值及重大法律議題發聲的團體法政匯思終於在1月27日誕生了。團體的使命及未來方向在近日都有受到傳媒報道,亦能在團體的facebook專頁找到。概括來說,我們一群法律界人士相信,在面對及對抗現今社會歪理當道的風氣,我們責無旁貸。

法政匯思的成員包括事務律師、大律師甚至有幾位法律系學生。這群人,在香港社會上是「贏家」。他們絕大多數都有以社會標準來說算是可觀的收入。他們不少都是在國際律師行或在行內有名的大律師事務所執業,或是在跨國大機構任職法律顧問。他們工作時間大多都偏長,其實有大條道理在空餘的時間運用他們的收入去吃喝玩樂。但他們堅信,他們不應亦不能離地而扮看不見、扮聽不到當權者對法治、司法獨立、民主、自由、人權及公義的無視及扭曲。所以,他們甘願放棄他們生活上的一些時間,致力以法律抓捕人及進步思維推廣這些核心價值,亦同時就這些價值的有關問題與社會人士交流、向他們學習。在這大時代下,他們責無旁貸。

再具體一點,法政匯思的三位召集人同樣是抱着這份責無旁貸的精神站出來。近日,梁允信被外界封為「法律界男神」。但其實更值得大家注意的,就是梁其實在工作上都是做商業訴訟的「明日之星」。事務律師(包括我)是排着隊去聘請他處理案件。不少的資深大律師亦喜歡找他在大型案件內做他們的副手。以他平步青雲的事業,梁大可以繼續只顧賺錢。但最近一年在香港發生的事令他深深感受到,我們不能袖手旁觀,應該在自己能力範圍內站出來。梁的這片丹心感動了不少人。我知道,法政匯思有認識他多年的成員,都是因為相信「如果WILSON這種情況的大律師都願意走出來,我們還有甚麼藉口不與大家並肩作戰?」才決定參加我們的團體。

另一位召集人文浩正已經是香港一位有名的維權律師,為實踐法治、人權不遺餘力。他為了這個社會已經付出了很多。就算他不做任何其他東西,文的貢獻都會受到各界的肯定。近年來,傳媒就他的工作時常找他訪問,文大多時候都為了保持低調而推掉(雖然文律師私底下是一個健談、風趣的人!)。但是文並沒有忘記不平則鳴的重要性,亦明白捍衞核心價值的責任是需要薪火相傳到法律界較年輕的成員。所以,當我找文幫忙做法政匯思召集人的時候,他就很有義氣地同意為法律界站出來(我有威脅他的:我說我會用劉以達在《大內密探零零發》內呼叫「大夫!」的聲調向文呼叫「文律師!」,直到他答應為止!)。

至於我自己,情況其實很簡單。拜謝林新強先生,我大半年前就已經「洗濕了個頭」。我亦曾經在國際律師行做過一個年輕的律師,明白到就算這些律師有心為社會做一點事,要站出來是很難的,因為不知道律師行的老闆會有甚麼反應。所以,既然我已經不能走回頭路,如果我站出來能夠一方面方便一群年輕律師為社會貢獻,但同時保護他們的身份及私隱,又何樂而不為?

所以,在捍衞核心價值,法律界責無旁貸。法政匯思責無旁貸。但這種捍衞並不只是法律界甚至專業人士或所謂「讀書人」的事,而是每一個香港人的事。香港人,我們責無旁貸!

後記:如果有法律界朋友或法律系學生有興趣與法政匯思一起參與民間人權陣線在2月1日的「唔要假民主我要真普選」大遊行,歡迎在當日下午12時45分起在維多利亞公園近興發街的公廁(即天后站對面)對外的範圍集合(民陣集會會在1時30分開始,2時從維園出發到中環)。星期日見!

*註:以上只代表筆者的個人意見,並不代表他所屬律師行的意見。

任建峰
執業律師

文章原刊於《蘋果日報》(2015/1/30)