A Chinese Author Takes On China

Steven Thompson | 10 September 2014 | Asia Sentinel

How much did Joe Chung anger the Hong Kong and Beijing establishment, and what were the results?

Chung was one of the most controversial authors on the popular but now-defunct House News, a Hong Kong-based news website and content aggregator founded by former radio personality Tony Tsoi and others to cover covers politics, business, lifestyle, media, and local news.

Tsoi abruptly killed the site on July 26 despite a readership of 300,000 unique visitors a day. He has been incommunicado since.  However, in a notation on the website, he said he and his family were under pressure and that he was particularly fearful of what he called the White Terror.

Some observers credit Chung’s aggressiveness as one of the factors in the closure. Among other articles, his allegations of academic plagiarism of Xi Jinping’s PhD were believed to have caused House News to be shut down for several days due to hacking allegedly carried out by Chinese hackers.

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“Don’t let the striking students stand alone” – An appeal from and views of a group of teachers and staff at tertiary education institutes

Chinese

The August 31st decision by the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress on Hong Kong’s Chief Executive election stated that the threshold for nomination would be the support of “more than half of Nominating Committee members”, that the number of candidates be limited to two or three, and that the composition of the Nominating Committee be based on the four sectors of the Election Committee. As teachers and as citizens, we are pained and outraged to see the advancement of democracy in Hong Kong stifled and suppressed. Even though it is unlikely that democratic universal suffrage can be realized in the short term, we absolutely must not give up. During these dark days, we must resolutely guard our stations and stand together to shoulder the responsibility of our time.

A new round of protests in the form of class boycotts is currently being discussed and planned in the education sector. When we look back at history, both in China and overseas, we see that student movements have been an important force in pushing for social progress. Our hope in Hong Kong’s future lies in the passion and spirit shown by our young people and their willingness to take up the mantle in the fight for democracy and social justice.

Yet, while the students are pure of heart, they have recently become subject to unreasonable smears and attacks. We appeal to all sectors of society, and particularly to our colleagues in the education field, to cherish the innocent hearts of the students – do not let them stand alone to face the white terror, give them our staunchest support and protection. During the class boycott action, every student should have freedom from fear.

Here follows some specific suggestions for consideration by colleagues:

  1. As citizens of society, tertiary students have the freedom ofassociation and expression; they have the right to express their opinions onpolitical issues and teachers should respect this. Student movements provide great opportunities for civic education. We suggest that teachers discuss issues with students in an interactive way and in an atmosphere of mutual respect; encourage students to care about society and to make independent and rational judgments.
  2. As class boycotts may affect day-to-day teaching, we call on teachers to be understanding of students’ difficulties. While upholding educational principles, we hope teachers can be lenient in dealing with student absences arising from class boycotts. We also suggest that teachers should, as much as possible, avoid setting any important tests or assignments during the period of the class boycott.
  3. We urge teachers to do as much as they can to allow striking students to catch up with their studies. For example, they could provide make-up classes, offer guidance and classroom audio/visual recordings to help students complete their academic requirements smoothly.
  4. Colleagues in the education sector and other sectors of society can show their support to the striking students during the period of the class boycott by wearing yellow ribbons.

Link

A lot left to play for (and our fate is in our hands)

Our last piece two days ago, “A resolute no to fake democracy”, argued that the Chinese Communist Party’s vision for Hong Kong as articulated in the National People’s Congress Standing Committee decision of August 31 is far worse than no reform at all. Following on that, this piece argues that while the CCP has shown clearly that it has no intention of allowing genuine universal suffrage in Hong Kong any time soon, if ever, there are still important objectives for the pro-democracy movement to accomplish, and we have the power to do so.

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UNCRC: An Intenrational Legal Response to Robert Chow on collecting and exposing identifies of students on strike

8 Sept 2014

Robert Chow announced a new campaign targeting students who will be on strike and/or participate in occupy movement

Chow does not seem aware of the Convention on the Rights of the Child, to which Hong Kong and China are both parties and which clearly states that:

Article 15

1. States Parties recognize the rights of the child to freedom of association and to freedom of peaceful assembly.

2. No restrictions may be placed on the exercise of these rights other than those imposed in conformity with the law and which are necessary in a democratic society in the interests of national security or public safety, public order (ordre public), the protection of public health or morals or the protection of the rights and freedoms of others.

Article 16

1. No child shall be subjected to arbitrary or unlawful interference with his or her privacy, family, or correspondence, nor to unlawful attacks on his or her honour and reputation.

2. The child has the right to the protection of the law against such interference or attacks.

Concerned citizens may file complaints to the Office of the Privacy Commissioner of Personal Data at complaints@pcpd.org.hk.

China Restricts Voting Reforms for Hong Kong

Chris Buckley and Michael Forsythe | 31 Aug 2014 | New York Times

HONG KONG — China’s legislature laid down strict limits on Sunday to proposed voting reforms in Hong Kong, pushing back against months of rallies calling for free, democratic elections.

Occupy Central says it will engage in nonviolent civil disobedience to avoid major disruption. Its organizers have said that they do not plan to plunge into mass protests immediately.

“We’re not making threats, we’re just sending warning signals,” said Mr. Tai, the group’s co-founder. “The house is on fire, something has to be done.”

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U.K. Accepting Hong Kong Election Limits ‘Insult,’ Chan Says

Ting Shi and Jasmine Wang | 5 Sept 2014 | Bloomberg

The U.K. government’s acceptance of China’s plan for limiting free elections in its former colony of Hong Kong is a “great insult,” said the city’s former chief secretary.

Anson Chan:

“What’s happening in Hong Kong and the way Beijing is treating Hong Kong are inconvenient truths that the British government would rather ignore.”

Martin Lee: 

“The British government policy in Hong Kong can be summarized in three words: More China trade.”

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Beijing ’89 – HongKong ’14: Tank Man & Dozens of youth ‘occupying’ tank

The struggle for Hong Kong

6 Sept 2014 | The Economist

The territory’s citizens must not give up demanding full democracy—for their sake and for China’s

CHINESE officials have called it a “leap forward” for democracy in Hong Kong. Yet their announcement on August 31st of plans to allow, for the first time, every Hong Kong citizen to vote for the territory’s leader has met only anger and indifference. Joy was conspicuously absent. This is not because Hong Kong’s citizens care little for the right to vote, but because China has made it abundantly clear that the next election for Hong Kong’s chief executive, due in 2017, will be rigged. The only candidates allowed to stand will be those approved by the Communist Party in Beijing, half a continent away.

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Open Petition to UK Government: Clarify Your Stance over Hong Kong’s Democratic Future

Open petition on Change.org

In response to the comments made by The Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) on Sep 4, 2014

1) The Chinese governemnt’s proposed model to pre-screen Hong Kong Chief Executive (CE) candidates before Hong Kong citizens are allowed to vote does NOT meet international standards on universal suffrage, in particular Article 25 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), which includes the right to run and be elected without unreasonable restrictions, and to which Hong Kong is a party under Article 39 of the Basic Law;

2) The election method proposed by the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress (NPCSC) does NOT give Hong Kong people a “genuine choice,” since candidates must be approved by at least 50% of a nominating committee dominated Beijing loyalists;

3) In light of the current crisis, the FCO’s undefined “welcoming”, mere “recognition” and indecisive “hope” are NOT conducive to producing meaningful progress toward democracy in Hong Kong and may eventually be interpreted by Beijing as a green light to do as it wishes.

The people of Hong Kong have consistently striven for genuine universal suffrage through different ways over the years. Given the pledge in the Basic Law that China would eventually allow Hong Kong to elect its CE through universal suffrage, and that China has promised to do so in 2017, as a party to the Joint Declaration, Prime Minister David Cameron and the British Government owe a duty to the people of Hong Kong and the international community to monitor and censure China for reneging on this all-important promise now.

OCLP Toronto Support Group & Canada-Hong Kong Link: Joint Statement in response to the decision of the National People’s Congress Standing Committee on Hong Kong constitutional reform

31 Aug 2014

The National People’s Congress Standing Committee made a high-handed decision on August 31st re the framework of Hong Kong Chief Executive election in 2017. It is stipulated that the rights of nomination of candidates must be given to the Nomination Committee. The number of candidates is limited to two to three and shall be passed by over half of the Committee. This narrow and compelling sphere of election framework undoubtedly kills the public members’ rights of a universal and equal opportunity to nominate and be nominated. It also pays a monumental disregard to Hong Kong people’s strong demand for a genuine universal suffrage.  Continue reading

British Response to Election Limits Upsets Activists in Hong Kong

Alan Wong | 5 Sept 2014 | New York Times

HONG KONG — For months, democracy advocates in Hong Kong have called for an open election for the city’s leader and for international pressure to be exerted on Beijing to not interfere with Hong Kong’s autonomy.

That effort suffered another blow on Thursday when the British government said that it welcomed an act of China’s legislature that set strict limits on how Hong Kong is allowed to select its next leader, even while it acknowledged that the “detailed terms” of Beijing’s decision would “disappoint those who are arguing for a more open nomination process.”

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UK Foreign & Commonwealth Office’s “great insult” to Hong Kong

4 Sept 2014 | Original

Anson Chan, Hong Kong’s “iron lady,” says FCO’s comments are “a great insult.” 

The Foreign and Commonwealth Office has responded to China’s plans for electoral reform in Hong Kong.

An FCO spokesperson said:

  • We welcome the confirmation that China’s objective is for the election of Hong Kong’s Chief Executive through universal suffrage.
  • The UK’s position has always been that the detail of the constitutional package is for the Governments of Hong Kong and China and the people of Hong Kong to decide in line with the Basic Law.
  • While we recognise that there is no perfect model, the important thing is that the people of Hong Kong have a genuine choice and a real stake in the outcome. We recognise that the detailed terms that the National People’s Congress has set for the 2017 election will disappoint those who are arguing for a more open nomination process.
  • We hope that the next period of consultation will produce arrangements which allow a meaningful advance for democracy in Hong Kong, and we encourage all parties to engage constructively in discussion to that end.

Recommended articles on Hong Kong this week

Hong Kong’s democracy champion Margaret Ng: Hong Kong’s Democracy Dilemma
HRW Sophie Richardson: China Sows Seeds of Crisis in Hong Kong
HK’s last governor Chris Patten: Britain is honour bound to speak up for Hong Kong
Leading scholar in democracy studies Larry Diamond: ‘A sad day for Hong Kong and democracy’
U.S. retired ambassador Stephen Young: A blow for Hong Kong, a lost opportunity for China’s democratic progress
Evan Osnos: China’s Hong Kong Mistake
Kerry Brown: Hong Kong’s Struggle for Democracy
CUHK law professor Surya Deva: Standing Committee decision on political reform violates Basic Law