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.
The Progressive Lawyers Group’s Craig Choy told HKFP that he was very happy about the outcome of the election as he had supported Dykes’ list, and five of the six members won seats.
Asked about his expectations towards Dykes, Choy said that he hoped he could continue to be vocal on behalf of the Bar Association: “I’ll be content if he can respond to society’s expectations and the wishes of the public. The upcoming year is especially critical because of the three major issues — the national anthem law, Article 23 [of the Basic Law] and other matters relating to the co-location arrangement.”
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.
HKFP recently spoke to four authors from a series of soon-to-be-published English titles reflecting on the 20th anniversary of Hong Kong’s transfer of sovereignty to China. Among the writers featured in the Penguin series is Financial Times correspondent Ben Bland, who attempts to decipher the identity of Hong Kong’s post-handover generation, and lawyer Antony Dapiran, who puts the city’s protest culture into historical and social perspective.
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 Progressive Lawyers Group has criticised the government for barring two political groups from selling merchandise at the city’s largest Lunar New Year fair.
“Any administrative bureau, in the exercise of its public power and decision making, must uphold the principles of fairness and justice,” it said in a statement on Tuesday.
Pro-Beijing heavyweight Rita Fan Hsu Lai-tai has said that Hong Kong does not have separation of powers as it is not written in the territory’s mini-constitution. Lawyer Alan Wong of the Progressive Lawyers Group slammed Fan for “completely misinterpreting” Hong Kong’s mini-constitution.
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.
Just to recap: Superintendent Franklin Chu King-wai, the former commander for the Sha Tin Division, was filmed hitting pedestrians unwittingly caught up in a protest in Mong Kok on November 26, 2014. Some pedestrians were in the path of the said baton and obstructed the baton in the due execution of its duty.
Hong Kong is generally perceived as one of the more progressive corners of Asia on the matters of gender and racial acceptance. However, traditional gender roles are still expected of and imposed on women, implicitly and explicitly, in varying degrees.
While gender discrimination and rigid gendered expectations for both men and women are widely prevalent, my personal experiences in Hong Kong’s legal industry — where I experienced first-hand the most blatant as well as more subtle forms of discrimination — was a crude but necessary awakening that not even the most privileged and well-educated among us are exempted from gender discrimination, whether as victim or as perpetrator.
When more high-profile protests such as the Umbrella Movement failed to bring real changes to our political system, what should we realistically aim to achieve through the July 1 marches? When the proliferation of new media allows us to express our political sentiments and views more easily, are protests or marches still relevant? When society is filled with diverse voices, is it still possible to deliver clear and strong messages through rallies?
The July 1 march has its unique and symbolic meaning to us. However, if we want to keep on fighting, what is the way forward?
A few weeks ago, Beijing-friendly columnist Chris Wat Wing-yin (屈穎妍) issued a letter through her lawyers to radio host and columnist Tsang Chi-ho (曾志豪), alleging that his article titled “The Wat Wing-yin Phenomenon”, published in Apple Daily, had caused her harm. Wat demanded Tsang publish an apology and clarification. Although the exact contents of Wat’s letter are not publicly available, it is a fair guess that her demands were based on an accusation of defamation.