Does Hong Kong’s annual July 1 democracy march violate the law? An analysis and rebuttal

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.

國歌法聯合聲明 (Joint Statement on Local Legislation for the National Anthem Law)

我們是一群對《國歌法》本地立法存有極大憂慮的團體。2017年內地《國歌法》在香港社會的爭議聲中列入《基本法》附件三後,政制事務局早前公布本地立法的《國歌條例草案》建議條文內容概要(下稱「條文概要」)及召開公聽會作所謂「收集意見」。雖然政制局局長聶德權多次表示市民無需過度擔心立法,但綜觀整份建議條文及政府近月的回應,均無法解答及釋除我們對《國歌法》本地立法的各種問題及疑慮。(Click for English version)

‘Tool of suppression’: 38 groups urge Hong Kong gov’t to withdraw Chinese national anthem bill

Thirty-eight civil society groups (including the Progressive Lawyers Group) and political parties have urged the Hong Kong government to withdraw a national anthem bill, arguing that it violates citizens’ rights to fundamental freedoms.

法政匯思就《廣深港高鐵(一地兩檢)條例草案》的陳述書 (Submission on Guangzhou-Shenzhen-Hong Kong Express Rail Link (Co-location) Bill)

我們維持我們的看法——即政府提出的一地兩檢安排,將無可避免地違反基本法。(We maintain our view that the co-location arrangement will inevitably violate the Basic Law.)

法政匯思就選舉主任取消被提名人立法會補選資格之聲明 (Statement on the Disqualification of Nominees in the 2018 Legislative Council By-election)

法政匯思對於政府任意妄為地利用選舉規例,並以某些參選人的政治聯繫及政治立場為由取消其資格感到非常擔憂。該決定踐踏了香港永久性居民參與選舉、投票和自由言論的基本權利。我們強烈呼籲政府確保任何有關參選人提名的決定,都能夠切實有效地保障這些基本權利。(PLG is gravely concerned by the capricious use of electoral regulations to disqualify certain candidates on the basis of their political affiliations and political stance. The Decision has trampled on the fundamental rights of Hong Kong permanent residents to stand for election, to vote, and to engage in free speech. We strongly call upon the Government to ensure that any decision regarding the nomination of candidates gives real and effective protection to such fundamental rights.)

Beijing’s ‘distortion’ of Hong Kong Basic Law greatly undermines rule of law, legal experts warn

On Wednesday, China’s top legislature – the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress (NPCSC) – approved the plan following a unanimous vote and months of controversy. Hong Kong will effectively surrender its jurisdiction across a quarter of the new West Kowloon terminus, where immigration procedures will be performed by mainland law enforcement agents. Beijing’s “distortion” of the Basic Law in justifying the Express Rail Link’s joint checkpoint arrangement has greatly undermined Hong Kong’s rule of law, legal experts have warned.

基本法與法治 (Basic Law and Rule of Law)

日前法政匯思成員吳宗鑾大律師受邀到香港教育大學作客席講者,向約40位大學生講解基本法,何謂法治,及基本法的實踐。

法政匯思就有關高速鐵路香港段一地兩檢安排的陳述書 (Submission on Express Rail Link Co-Location Arrangement)

政府最近宣佈其就内地-香港高速鐵路香港段的邊境管制安排及管轄權事宜的方案。簡單而言,政府建議於西九龍站設置邊境及海關管制設施的一地兩檢安排,及内地在西九龍站若干範圍內及所有運作列車上擁有刑事管轄權。 法政匯思認為該建議明顯及直接違反《基本法》的多項條款,特別是第17、18、19及22條。 就政府方案如何違反《基本法》的詳細分析,詳見中文版完整陳述書。(The Government has recently announced its proposal on the border control arrangements and jurisdictional matters in relation to the Mainland-Hong Kong Express Rail Link (“XRL”). In short, the Government proposes a co-location arrangement of border and customs control facilities at West Kowloon Station and the Mainland to have criminal jurisdiction to be exercised at some areas of West Kowloon Station and on all operating trains. The Progressive Lawyers Group (“PLG”) is of the view that such proposal is in clear and direct contravention of numerous provisions of the Basic Law, in particular, Articles 17, 18, 19 and 22. For the detailed analysis of how the Government's proposal violates the Basic Law, please read further.)

對政府建議一地兩檢方案的法律問題 (FAQs on Hong Kong Government’s Co-location Proposal)

法政匯思就政府建議高鐵香港段實施一地兩檢為大家準備了常見問題解答,以供參考。(Progressive Lawyers Group has prepared a list of FAQs on the Government's proposal on co-location arrangement at the West Kowloon Terminus. Please take a look!)

An all-out war of words: Where does free speech start and end in Hong Kong?

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."

【法政巴絲】不是起不起高鐵的問題

我認,高鐵嘅嘢,我真係識條鐵。 內地官員可以喺香港境內(西九)執行內地法律,點睇都唔符合「全國性法律除列於本法附件三外,不在香港特別行政區實施」(基本法第18條)喎。 政府話,解決辦法好簡單,可以由中央根據基本法第20條,授權香港租西九畀內地嚟用。但係,第20條係話「香港特別行政區可享有全國人民代表大會常務委員會及中央人民政府授予的其他權利」。究竟呢啲字眼,係可以點樣解讀成「中央授予香港政府權利⋯⋯決定基本法有啲條文,有時適用,有時唔適用」?

法政匯思:「你怕就不要坐高鐵!」

林鄭月娥指﹕「如果你咁擔心(被人拉),你咪選擇其他方法去內地囉!」,甚至不到內地 。 問題,出在「你」這個字。特首不是一人一票選出,究竟代表的是小圈子,還是七百萬人,大家心裡明白。有一群香港人擔心「一地兩檢」的安排,那就是「你」的問題,不是「我」的問題。而這個「你」,是多是少,反正都是「你」的問題。明明連反對的權利都沒有,甚至連被諮詢的機會都被消失,從2009年提出建議,事隔8年,到2017年,一下子就提出引進內地法律的「一地兩檢」方案,而且是「唯一可行方案、不存在推翻」 。

Third concern group set up on Hong Kong’s controversial border plan for China rail line; coalition insists it is legal

It is the third concern group to be set up on the issue as both sides of Hong Kong’s political divide mobilise campaigns for and against the proposal for joint immigration and customs checks in the city. Kevin Yam Kin-fung, convenor of the Progressive Lawyers Group, said the Hong Kong government’s decision to use Article 20 of the Basic Law to lease land to mainland authorities could set a dangerous precedent.

「阻住做生意」的一地兩檢

政府一地兩檢方案推出後,不少人把焦點放在能否在高鐵用社交媒體、內地人員在西九持槍、香港與內地刑法的分別。這些問題雖然搶眼,但普羅市民會說「不乘搭高鐵就可以了」或「去到羅湖都是這樣的」。建制派會說,可以討論把在西九與高鐵車廂內適用的內地法律收窄,以此把整個違反《基本法》的一地兩檢合理化。

法政匯思:「我無犯法,因為我就是皇法。」

一地兩檢之於基本法之弊,許多有識之士均作出了詳盡的解釋,在此不贅。 「方案」推出後,各界、尤其是法律界人士紛紛以基本法為基礎指出其一地兩檢「方案」如何與基本法、一國兩制背道而馳——而所謂「方案」,你我心照,根本上可算是定局,無法回頭。儘管這些日子來,那些大量分析如何合理、如何一語中的,林鄭和我們本該捍衛法治憲法的律政司司長的一句「方案符合基本法」,配以擦鞋都來不及的一眾護主黨說得振振有辭的一堆歪理、指鹿為馬,就要使一個嚴重損害香港法制的一地兩檢上馬。為了官方聲稱、那少得可憐的「便利」,就把香港的地域主權雙手奉上,這筆數如何計,無人算得懂。

民主派成立一地兩檢關注組 批政府方案誤導公眾要求撤回

「一地兩檢」關注組共有94名發起人及團體代表,包括民間人權陣線、法政匯思、香港社會工作者聯會及12間大專院校學生會。關注組成員、立法會前議員吳靄儀表示,高鐵一地兩檢方案有違《基本法》,連日來政府的解畫是「理屈詞窮」,不斷胡言亂語以租客、業主比喻,或是《基本法》第7條、第20條等作解釋。她聲言,在香港心臟地帶實施內地法例違犯《基本法》18條,故要求當局撤回方案。

一地兩檢關注組成立記者會

法政匯思成員吳宗鑾今日出席了一地兩檢關注組成立記者會。一地兩檢關注組是由多名民主派立法會議員、學者、民間團體(包括法政匯思)、多間大專院校學生會等組成。 (Progressive Lawyers Group member Chris Ng attended the Co-location Concern Group‘s inaugural press conference today. The Concern Group is set up by pro-democracy lawmakers, professionals, academics, civic organisations and student bodies.)

Why Hong Kong’s justice minister Rimsky Yuen is so sanguine about joint checkpoint for express rail link

(SCMP) Jason Y. Ng says the logic behind Rimsky Yuen’s support for immigration co-location at West Kowloon is unsound, but the justice minister’s confidence stems from knowing that Beijing always has the last word.

理性地說真話

很老實說,如果可以的話,我真的不想費時反對西九高鐵站一地兩檢方案。為甚麼我會這樣說? 在法律上,任何牽涉內地人員在香港境內執行內地法律的方案都很清楚地違反《中英聯合聲明》就「香港」的定義、及《基本法》有關內地法律基本上不在香港執行,以及在香港境內的內地人員必須遵守香港法律的條文。這些條文的清晰程度高到根本沒有「走盞」空間。如果深圳灣、海外一地兩檢例子在香港境內實施,都通通會違反《中英聯合聲明》與《基本法》。

ViuTV News Roundup – Co-location Arrangement

Progressive Lawyers Group Convenor Kevin Yam was interviewed by ViuTV on his views on the controversial co-location arrangement.  "The situation before us is very clear, (the proposed co-location arrangement) does not conform with the Basic Law", he said.  You can watch the full interview here.