There are dates on the calendar that bring back uncomfortable, distressing or even painful memories—of natural disasters, of gun violence, of bloody government crackdowns. They give us what pop psychologists call “anniversary blues.” Today is one of those days.
In the event of a police search or arrest, knowing your rights and doing the smart thing can be the difference between walking free and getting into serious legal trouble.
Practical advice from Jason Y. Ng, convenor of the Progressive Lawyers Group, on the legalities of Monday’s citywide strike. “You make informed decisions, your job doesn’t have to get in the way of your political activism and vice versa.“ —Jason Y. Ng
Hongkongers had a long June fighting the government and Beijing leadership, showing the world the resolve of the people to defend their rights. Hongkongers must now continue to stand in unity and protest until the government responds to the demands.
The Chief Executive did not apologise for the complete chaos she has created. So many people in Hong Kong and abroad have had to expend such great efforts and time to fight her initial foolishness and then repeated stubbornness. Progressive Lawyers Group’s Alex Ho says in this article that a sincere apology would have been the least she could have offered.
In the past few weeks, Chief Executive Carrie Lam has been behaving a lot like Thanos. Our own super villain is hellbent on passing an amendment bill by the end of June to forge a new extradition arrangement between Hong Kong and mainland China. She justifies her game plan under the pretext of plugging a loophole in cross-border law enforcement, all to save Hong Kong from becoming a “haven for international fugitives.”
Move over, national anthem law. Make room, anti-subversion bill. Here comes the government’s latest legislative menace: a fundamental policy shift in fugitive transfers between Hong Kong and mainland China. This time, the threat to personal security is bigger, more real, and has the potential to affect a broader range of people than any other government bill we’ve seen in recent years.
On Wednesday, the Department of Justice (DoJ) finally issued a statement on the ICAC investigation into allegations of corruption and misconduct in public office against the Hong Kong ex-Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying and lawmaker Holden Chow.
The notion that national security will one day be invoked to silence dissent comes as no surprise to hardened Hong Kongers. Commentators, academics and filmmakers have long prophesied that doomsday scenario. The writing has been on the wall for years, and the arrival of an anti-subversion law is a matter of when, not if.
We just didn’t think it would happen so soon, at least not before the return of Article 23 that the city has fought so hard to keep at bay.
But that day is now upon us.
July 1, an ambivalent occasion for many, marks the anniversary of Hong Kong’s handover from the United Kingdom to China. 21 years ago, despite widespread cynicism, ex-governor Chris Patten welcomed this momentous occasion labelling it a “cause for celebration.” However, as the story has unfolded, it seems that the scepticism of many has borne more and more weight. After all, the ‘one-country, two systems’ policy for Hong Kong was the brainchild of the same Chinese leader, who less than a decade ago, summoned hoards of armed soldiers and a mob of tanks to commit one of the deadliest massacres of the 20th century.
July 1 – the day which marks Hong Kong’s handover to China. July 1 – the day known for its celebratory fireworks display, but more importantly, for its symbolic annual march.
In the two decades since the establishment of the Special Administrative Region, the march has become synonymous with political discontent, serving as a platform for the public and pro-democracy activists to lobby for genuine democracy and universal suffrage. In 2003, 500,000 demonstrators joined the march, forcing the government into an embarrassing climb-down on its proposed national security law.
Progressive Lawyer Group member Jason Y. Ng talks about the free speech controversies at The Chinese University of Hong Kong 香港中文大學 - CUHK and The Education University of Hong Kong, in an op-ed for the Hong Kong Free Press HKFP (views are his own).
"Activists fighting for marriage equality or access to medical marijuana should be free to wave rainbow flags or hand out leaflets explaining the health benefits of cannabis. Neither same-sex marriage nor marijuana use is legally permissible, but that’s precisely the point of free speech: to debate whether they should be."
After reading certain recent press articles, one would be forgiven for wondering if one had schizophrenia.
In a recent article, conservative columnist Christine Wat Wing-yin (屈穎妍) accused the legal aid system of working to enrich senior counsel Philip Dykes and other barristers. Around the same time, another article referred to the dramatic decline in income of foreign counsel after the handover – with one of the interviewees being Dykes. So which is it: has Dykes been fattened up or has he had to tighten his belt?
The slow-motion disaster that is Oathgate has now spread from the pro-independence firebrands to the mainstream pro-democracy camp.
After the High Court disqualified localist lawmakers Yau Wai-ching and Baggio Leung nearly nine months ago, four more members of the Legislative Council (Legco) lost their jobs last Friday. Nathan Law, “Long Hair” Leung Kwok-hung, Lau Siu-lai and Edward Yiu had all strayed from the prescribed oath during the swearing-in ceremony. According to the supreme decisionhanded down by China’s National People’s Congress Standing Committee (NPCSC) in November, that minor infraction was enough for all of them to each get a pink slip.
An independent press is called the fourth estate because it holds accountable the ruling class – from the clergy and the noblemen in medieval times to the three branches of government in modern democracies.
In Hong Kong, the press plays an especially critical role because citizens are deprived of a democratically elected government. Both the chief executive and nearly half the legislature are appointed by small committees stacked with pro-Beijing loyalists, which gives ordinary people little leverage over politicians they play no part in choosing. Going to the press is often the most effective, if not the only, recourse available to those who want their grievances heard or injustices righted.
It was less than a month ago when citizens wrestled with the dilemma of whether to take part in the Tiananmen candlelight vigil at Victoria Park.
Naysayers argued that the annual ritual, in its 28th iteration this year, had devolved into a night of sing-along and group therapy, as well as a thinly-veiled excuse for political parties to hit up participants for money. Those arguments had traction, especially among the youth, and many chose to stay home on June 4. The turnout was the lowest in years.
Today marks the twenty-eighth anniversary of the Tiananmen Square Massacre, known more delicately in this part of the world as the June 4th Incident. Members of the so-called ‘June 4th Generation’—people born in, or before, the 1980s who feel a deep connection with the thousands of student protesters murdered that summer—have always felt a sense of duty toward them: to vindicate their death, and until then, ensure that the younger generations do not forget what happened.
The Hong Kong National Party (HKNP) has drawn no shortage of vitriol in the short time since its foundation. Liaison Office chief Zhang Xiaoming blustered that its formation “far exceeded the topic of freedom of speech.” Chief Secretary Carrie Lam was equally bombastic, suggesting that “the suggestion [of independence]… violates the Basic Law”.
Hong Kong’s judges have frequently found themselves pilloried by political talking heads of late, and the past few weeks have been no exception. Former ICAC Deputy Commissioner Tony Kwok Man-wai called on Internet users to “hunt down” the judge who granted bail to Hong Kong Indigenous leader Ray Wong Toi-yeung and dig up dirt on judges’ “relationships with pan-democratic parties.”
On the first day of the Lunar New Year, Hong Kongers watched in shock as a series of unfamiliar images unfolded on their screens: a policeman firing two gunshots, burning tyres, and masked men hurling bricks. Such aggression – from civilians as well as police – was unseen on local soil since the 1967 leftist riots.