Hong Kong chief justice weighs in for the first time on Beijing white paper

Tony Cheung | 16 August 2014 | South China Morning Post

Chief justice weighs into debate on Beijing’s controversial white paper, telling conference that independence is protected by Basic Law

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A Human Rights Defence of Hong Kong’s Occupy Central

Mattias Cheung | 16 August 2014 | Oxford Human Rights Hub

With the Hong Kong Government set on introducing an undemocratic electoral reform in the coming months, Professor Benny Tai has proposed to organise a peaceful assembly, ‘Occupy Central with Love and Peace’. It has been condemned and denounced as an affront to the rule of law.

The background to this saga is the Hong Kong Government’s proposed electoral reforms. With the imprimatur of Beijing in 2007, the Government now plans to introduce universal suffrage for Chief Executive (head of government) elections, but candidates must be nominated by an unaccountable nominating committee. This carries the imminent risk that ‘undesirable’ candidates will be screened out, contrary to Article 26 of the Basic Law and Article 25 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (‘ICCPR’).

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Ex-Judge Rejects China Patriotism Call for Hong Kong Courts

Jill Mao, Natasha Khan | 15 August 2014 | Bloomberg

Hong Kong’s former top judge said the city needs to defend the independence of the judiciary after a Chinese policy paper stoked concerns of heightened influence by the government in Beijing.

The white paper issued by the Chinese government in June saying judges should be patriotic raised “widespread concerns,” Andrew Li, the former chief justice of the Court of Final Appeal, said today in a commentary in the South China Morning Post.

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Solicitors thrash United Front

15 August 2014 | Big Lychee

The week closes on a bright note in the form of a Law Society squabble most of us don’t really understand in deep detail, but basically: good triumphs over evil.

Not many of us spare much time thinking about solicitors. They’re the breed of lawyer who scrape a living doing photocopying – or as they call it, ‘conveyancing’. Triads, money-launderers and bankrupts depend on them to use paperwork and form-filling to make nastiness look legitimate or to issue veiled threats, they are not typically to the manor born, but unpolished and locally and relatively modestly educated sons of the upwardly mobile lower-middle. They tend to be short, shifty-looking and have hair and fingernail problems.

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Beijing seen backing Lam over no-confidence vote

August 14 2014 | EJ Insight

Mainland judicial departments have reportedly contacted representatives of global law firms in Beijing and solicited their views on the no-confidence vote faced by Law Society of Hong Kong president Ambrose Lam, Apple Daily reported on Thursday.

Kevin Yam, a member of the Law Society’s constitutional and human rights committee who initiated the motion of no confidence, said the central government is trying to apply pressure on the local legal sector.

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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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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

Congressional-Executive Commission on China: Prospects for Democracy and Press Freedom in Hong Kong

3 April 2014 | Congressional-Executive Commission on China

Under China’s “one country, two systems” policy, Hong Kong residents enjoy greater freedom and autonomy than people in mainland China, including freedoms of speech, press, and religion. China has stated it intends to allow Hong Kong residents to elect their Chief Executive by universal suffrage for the first time in 2017 and to elect Hong Kong’s Legislative Council by universal suffrage in 2020. As Hong Kong’s government contemplates electoral reform in the run-up to the 2017 election, concerns are growing that China’s central government will attempt to control the election by allowing only pro-Beijing candidates to run for Chief Executive. Concerns over press freedom have also grown in the wake of several incidents in which journalists have been violently attacked or fired.

The roundtable featured two prominent advocates for Hong Kong democracy, Martin Lee and Anson Chan, who examined the prospects for Hong Kong’s democratic development.

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Human Rights Watch: Report on universal suffrage and the freedom of assembly in Hong Kong

27 June 2013 | Human Rights Watch

“Hong Kong does continue to enjoy the rule of law and a high level of press freedom, but the lack of universal suffrage, reports of government interference, and self-censorship of the press, increasing numbers of arrests and prosecutions against protesters, as well as surveillance of protesters, are issues that pose serious threats to Hong Kong’s citizens’ enjoyment of their civil and political rights.”

In the hearing on “Macau and Hong Kong” before the U.S.-China Economic and Security Review Commission, Human Rights Watch urges the Hong Kong government to ensure that the new electoral methods developed for 2016, 2017, and beyond are in compliance with international standards on political participation. Human Rights Watch also urges the Hong Kong government to revise the Public Order Ordinance to ensure that the Ordinance is in accordance with provisions of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and Hong Kong’s Bill of Rights Ordinance.

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