Hong Kongers have learned that restraint is met by those in power tightening their grip even more, says Kevin Yam, a political commentator
“The timing of this is very unfortunate because in some ways it plays up, fairly or not, a lot of the fears people have about the mainland justice system,” said Kevin Yam, a political commentator and member of Hong Kong’s pro-democracy Progressive Lawyers Group. “Beyond that, I think it’s hard to comment at this stage, because we don’t know what the details are.”
Chinese state media has said that “foreign forces” seeking “to hurt China by trying to create havoc in Hong Kong” were behind the million-strong protest on Sunday.
NG KONG — Politicians have staged sit-ins and exchanged blows in the legislature. Nurses, high school teachers and even anime fans have organized petitions. And the authorities are bracing for protests on Sunday that could be the largest since the pro-democracy Umbrella Movement shut down parts of Hong Kong five years ago.
A group of lawyers and activists held a silent protest on Monday outside Hong Kong’s Court of Final Appeal, marking the third anniversary of the Chinese government’s large-scale crackdown on human rights lawyers.
The China Human Rights Lawyers Concern Group (CHRLCG) and a group of lawyers stood for seven minutes and nine seconds, representing the date: July 9, 2015. CHRLCG chairperson and former lawmaker Albert Ho said the move was to support the “imprisoned, detained, tortured” lawyers and to protest the Chinese government’s continued suppression.
(Foreign Policy) As Hong Kong prepared to mark the 20th anniversary of its handover to Chinese sovereignty, the pro-independence Hong Kong National Party sent instructions to supporters planning to attend a rally: bring masks both for anonymity and as protection against tear gas, encrypt your electronic devices, and carry a telephone number for legal assistance in case of arrest. The spur for this was the Hong Kong authorities’ prohibition of the rally on the grounds that it violated the territory’s mini-constitution, the Basic Law, which has been in effect since 1997 when Hong Kong returned to Chinese sovereignty. The group had issued this precautionary list with the intention of defying the ban, but it backed down after police threatened the organizer with detention for illegal assembly, despite the fact that he was the sole attendee.
(CNN) China's President has traditionally visited Hong Kong only once every five years, swearing in the Chief Executive for a new five year term and then hastily making an exit before the traditional July 1 protest march.
For all the bluster about Beijing tightening its control over Hong Kong, President Xi Jinping's visit for the 20th anniversary of the handover of Hong Kong from British to Chinese rule was no exception.
(ChinaFile) Chinese Communist Party General Secretary Xi Jinping visited Hong Kong on Thursday to mark the 20th anniversary of the July 1, 1997 return of the territory to China from the United Kingdom. Since the handover, many Hong Kongers have chafed under Beijing’s rule—tensions that culminated with the Umbrella Revolution in late 2014, when tens of thousands of citizens called for a more participatory form of government for their semi-autonomous territory of roughly 7.5 million people. What’s next for Beijing’s relationship with Hong Kong, and for the policy of “One Country, Two Systems”? Progressive Lawyers Group members Alvin Cheung and Antony Dapiran contributed to this conversation.
(The Australian Financial Review) Mornings in Hong Kong are like in no other city. For a city that heaves with a seemingly incessant energy, the start of every day presents a pause. Commuters have not yet flooded the subway system, the shopping malls are not yet open, the roads largely empty of traffic.
A delivery boy weaves his shaky bicycle across the tram lines, a basket of vegetables hanging off the handlebars. Elderly enthusiasts brandishing aluminium broad swords practise tai chi in a park. Down a side street, a taxi driver with a bucket and cloth scrubs down his gleaming red cab. Men linger with their newspapers over cups of tea and a breakfast of dim sum. Out on the harbour, a lone sampan crosses the sun-dappled water.
In a city in hyper-aware of time – of dates, and countdowns, and anniversaries – at this time of day, time itself seems to dissolve.
(The Irish Times) As far as securing more democratic representation for Hong Kong going forward, the situation appears grim, said Alvin Cheung, a researcher at New York University School of Law’s US-Asia Law Institute and formerly a Hong Kong lawyer.
“It is difficult to see how any meaningful bargain for electoral reform in Hong Kong can happen for the foreseeable future,” he said.
“Beijing has demonstrated no willingness to reverse its hard-line policies on Hong Kong; this in turn has directly contributed to the rise of localist and pro-independence parties, at the expense of mainstream pro-democracy parties...Unless Beijing is prepared to change course and regain the trust of the Hong Kong public, there seems to be little point in discussing changes to how the legislature or the chief executive are selected,” said Cheung.
On 19 December 1984, amidst great fanfare, the United Kingdom and China signed the Sino–British Joint Declaration on the Question of Hong Kong. It contained extensive guarantees of Hong Kong’s autonomy, rule of law, and fundamental rights — all of which would remain entrenched until 50 years after the transfer of sovereignty. On the day the treaty was signed, Deng Xiaoping confidently declared to Margaret Thatcher that ‘China will always keep its promises’.