Benny Tai: Letter to Hong Kong Chief Secretary

Original published in HKEJ on 31 July 2014: Read original
Translation on 2 August 2014

Dear Ms. Carrie Lam,

Due to the time limit of our previous meeting at the Central Government Offices, some of my points were not sufficiently clarified. Therefore I would like to further explain to you the standpoint of Occupy Central with Love and Peace in this open letter. As OCLP is an important folk force behind the constitutional reform development, which is closely associated with the welfare of all Hong Kong people, I would also like to take this opportunity to explain to the public the crisis we are facing with regard to the constitutional reform. Continue reading

An Introduction to the Chief Executive Electoral Reform Debate

Alvin Y. H. Cheung | 25 July 2014 | Human Rights in China

Seventeen years after China’s resumption of sovereignty over Hong Kong, the former British colony has returned to the spotlight. The debate over reforms to the process for selecting the city’s next Chief Executive in 2017 has reached fever pitch. Democracy advocates are rallying behind the “Occupy Central” civil disobedience movement; authorities in Beijing have responded by threatening suppression by the People’s Liberation Army. But what is the argument about, and what is truly at stake?

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Fencing Off Civic Square Enrages Hong Kongers

Lin Yi | 23 July 2014 | Epoch Times

HONG KONG—The Civic Square, the symbolic heart of the Central Government Offices (CGO), was designed to express the relation between the people of Hong Kong and their government. That space is now being walled off in a move critics say shows a government turning hostile to its own people.

The CGO complex was originally designed with an open-door concept, as explained by then-Chief Executive Donald Tsang Yam-kuen.

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Benny Tai: Letter to Hong Kong Civil Servants

Original published in Apple Daily on 22 July 2014: Read original
Translation on 24 July 2014

Dear Hong Kong civil servants,

Although I have never worked in the government, over the last ten years or so I have provided legal training to quite a few government departments on areas including Basic Law, human rights law, judicial review, administrative law, law and governance, etc. I believe several thousand civil servants have attended my class, giving me the opportunity to share our views on governance. I also benefited from their frontline experience of how the law is enforced in reality. Continue reading

Why Are The “Big Four” Opposed To Hong Kong Democracy Demonstrations?

21 July 2014 | Mint Press News

WASHINGTON — Rights and watchdog groups are questioning both the logical and legal basis for a series of advertisements, published by the world’s four largest accountancy firms, expressing opposition to the recent pro-democracy demonstrations that took place in Hong Kong.

The firms include one, Deloitte, headquartered in the United States, as well as three European companies, PricewaterhouseCoopers, Ernst & Young (now known as EY) and KPMG. Of course, these are fully global entities, with collective revenues above $100 billion a year and together known simply as “the Big Four.”

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European Union: Statement by the Spokesperson on introduction of universal suffrage for election of Chief Executive in Hong Kong in 2017

18 July 2014 | European Union

“We take note of the publication of the report on electoral reform on 15 July by the Chief Executive of Hong Kong Special Administrative Region.

The EU welcomes the start of the five-step process which will lead to the introduction of universal suffrage for the election of the Chief Executive in 2017.

The EU is following this process closely and is looking forward to the forging of an ambitious consensus among the parties involved, within the framework of ‘one country, two systems’.”


Popular protest spot Civic Square closed for security works, public access limited

Cheung Chi-fai and Jeffie Lam | 17 July 2014 | SCMP

A three-metre-high fence is being built outside the government’s headquarters amid security fears after several mass protests.

Critics attacked the measure, saying it undermined the right to freedom of assembly. The fence will block what used to be free access to the forecourt, or “Civic Square” as protesters call it, in front of the east-wing entrance to the Tamar site in Admiralty.

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Why America Must Stand Up for Hong Kong’s Democracy Movement

Mike Gonzalez | 17 July 2014 | The Heritage Foundation

Loath to become the world’s policeman, the Obama administration has turned instead into its fireman. Hither and thither, the administration runs to different corners of the world trying to put out fires—today Central America, tomorrow Jerusalem, next week Syria. Such an approach may rack up air miles for the Secretary of State, but clearly, it’s no substitute for a preventive blueprint that safeguards our national interest.

As it happens, one part of the world experiencing a mini–flare up—Hong Kong—affords us an opportunity to pursue a long-term strategy pertaining to a much larger actor: China. Our foreign-policy challenges would ease considerably if China became a normal, status-quo country with elections, free markets and checks and balances that its leaders could use to manage internal tensions.

Allowing the 7.1 million people of Hong Kong to practice real democracy would let the authorities in Beijing see up close that there’s nothing to fear from a sovereign people. Over time, familiarity with democratic practices in this one Chinese city would help China’s leaders acquire for themselves the frame of mind needed to begin to introduce universal suffrage on the mainland itself.

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Nick Clegg meets Hong Kong democracy activists

Nicholas Watt | 15 July 2014 | The Guardian

“The UK remains fully committed to the joint declaration and we will not shy away from defending the principle of ‘one country, two systems’. This government believes that the best way to preserve Hong Kong’s strengths and to ensure that it continues to prosper is through a transition to universal suffrage which meets the aspirations of the people of Hong Kong.

“The important thing is that the people of Hong Kong have a genuine choice and feel that they have a real stake in the outcome of the 2017 election.”

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Human Rights Watch: China/Hong Kong: Make Report Reflect Democracy Demands

14 July 2014 | Human Rights Watch

“The chief executive’s report should reflect the desire for greater political rights so clearly articulated by people in Hong Kong in recent weeks,” said Sophie Richardson, China director. “Failure to accurately reflect the views of Hong Kong’s people will make a mockery of this exercise, and risk further galvanizing public sentiment.”

“It’s in the interests of Hong Kong and Beijing governments to expand political rights in the territory,” Richardson said. “Curtailing rights is not only anachronistic, but also likely to increase tensions and alienation among the people of Hong Kong, who have waited patiently for years for the realization of the promise that ‘Hong Kong people rule Hong Kong.’”

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Benny Tai: Letter to Hong Kong Frontline Police

Original published in Apple Daily on 14 July 2014: Read Original
Translation on 15 July 2014

Dear frontline police officers in Hong Kong,

511 citizens were removed and arrested after more than a thousand people participated in the sit-in at the Charter Road pedestrian precinct during the early morning of 2nd July. Here I commend the frontline police officers on carrying out their duties in a professional and restrained manner, which proves that the frontline police force in Hong Kong meets international standards. Continue reading

Albert Einstein Institution: The Struggle for Universal Suffrage in Hong Kong

9 July 2014 | Albert Einstein Institution

Civic groups and citizens of Hong Kong struggling for universal suffrage have begun to heighten their campaign.

On July 3, Hong Kong’s pro-democracy lawmakers staged a mass walkout from a parliament session against the Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying, accusing him of “willful ignorance of the people’s call for real democracy”. Many lawmakers held banners and demanded Leung’s resignation.

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Consulate General of Canada in Hong Kong & Macao: Statement on Canada’s position on universal suffrage and democratic development in Hong Kong

3 July 2014 | Consulate General of Canada in Hong Kong & Macao

“An image circulating on various social media platforms incorrectly associates the Consulate General of Canada in Hong Kong and Macao with a recent advertisement taken by foreign business organizations, including the Canadian Chamber of Commerce in Hong Kong.”

“Canada’s position is clear: We remain strongly supportive of democratic development in Hong Kong, in keeping with the Basic Law commitment to adopt universal suffrage and the aspirations of the people of Hong Kong.”


Hong Kongers Demand Self-Determination—Will Beijing Listen?

Chris Horton | 3 Jul 2014 | The Atlantic

HONG KONG — Last Monday marked the 16th anniversary of the return of Hong Kong to Chinese rule after more than 150 years of being a British colony. Official and unofficial events here attempted to present a cheery picture of Hong Kong’s relations with the mainland.

“They’re terrified that Hong Kong will become too democratic an example for cities on the mainland. It’s a parental mentality.”

“Democracy is not a panacea, but it’s something to start with. With democracy you have transparency, you have people’s wishes and real public opinion in play. People’s self-determination, in the end, is what democracy is all about.”

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Amnesty International: Hong Kong: Mass arrests a disturbing sign for peaceful protest

2 July 2014 | Amnesty International

“This was not an illegal assembly; it was a peaceful and legitimate protest under international law. The police action was hasty and unnecessary and sets a disturbing precedent,” said Mabel Au, Director of Amnesty International Hong Kong. “All those being held solely for exercising their rights to freedom of expression and assembly must be immediately and unconditionally released,” said Mabel Au.

Amnesty International urges the Hong Kong authorities to release all those detained solely for peacefully protesting in pro-democracy demonstrations, after more than 500 people were arrested by police on Wednesday. Amnesty International also urges the authorities to ensure all those detained are given access to a lawyer of their choosing, after reports many lawyers had not been able to meet with their client.

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Hong Kong Refuses to Back Down

2 July 2014 | China Uncensored

Taking to the streets and singing from Les Miserables, hundreds of thousands of Hong Kongers protest on the anniversary of the July 1 handover of Hong Kong to Chinese rule. At the same time, 800,000 people voted on a pro-democracy Occupy Central movement referendum that Hong Kong’s chief executive should be elected by the people. Following a threatening white paper from Beijing, Hong Kongers sing, “Do You Hear the People Sing?” It seems like Beijing would have a hard time not.

Big Four criticised by Amnesty International

2 July 2014 | Economia

The Big Four have faced criticism from human rights charity Amnesty International over an ad campaign criticising protests in Hong Kong

The firms published adverts in three Chinese-language newspapers, saying they were opposed to planned protests that might destabilise business in the Hong Kong financial district.

The adverts said protests would “inevitably” affect financial institutions and could result in multinational corporations moving headquarters from Hong Kong.

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AI: HK mass arrests send ‘disturbing signal for future protests’

2 July 2014 | Deutsche Welle

Hong Kong police arrested over 500 protesters who staged a sit-in after a pro-democracy rally, described as the city’s largest in years. In a DW interview, AI’s Mabel Au slams the police action as hasty and unnecessary.

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