If Carrie Lam’s government could only monetize balderdash, piffle, blether, twaddle, bunkum, baloney, tripe, bull, prattle, hooey and poppycock, its coffers would be overflowing with cash.
The people of Hong Kong’s objection to their government’s bill to enable anyone within its jurisdiction to be extradited to mainland China is a microcosm of the clash of legal cultures between the PRC and its Special Administrative Region.
That the Hong Kong government responds with blatant lies, misrepresentations and an obdurate refusal to face the truth, is evidence that it no longer represents the population over which it presides.
This is a very dangerous precedent to set.
Misrepresentations and lies dressed up as truth are the very meat and veg of Chinese Communist policy.
In a world rapidly degenerating into a Twitteration of lies and deceit, the Hong Kong government is no longer as obviously foul smelling as when objective fact and truth were regarded as the norm.
Trumpery and Brexitation are the new normal.
Consider the following illustrations:
Hong Kong officials assert that the Hong Kong courts will act as the gate-keeper over whether to grant such extradition requests.
A lie. The final decision rests with the Chief Executive. A political, not a judicial decision.
Carrie Lam’s track record amply demonstrates that she toadies to Beijing on every occasion. Whoever trusted the bully’s acolyte?
Reacting to the protest, a government spokesman said the proposals were firmly grounded in the rule of law. Liar.
Whereas successive Hong Kong governments have parrotted the mantra that it respects the rule of law, history has demonstrated that they simply do not comprehend what it means.
Sir Thomas Bingham’s book The Rule of Law is as comprehensive an analysis of what civilized communities recognize it to be. For immediate purposes I suggest that at its most basic it comprehends an open system of justice before an impartial tribunal in which an individual is legally represented by counsel who act neither in fear nor favor and the accused is presumed innocent until proven guilty.
Summoning as much respect as I can, the criminal judicial system of mainland China is inimical to these criteria or, indeed, any of them.
If, as the Hong Kong government spokesman says, the proposed law is “firmly grounded in the rule of law,” most certainly it will be decapitated once it shows its shoots above the ground.
A further government statement: “Based on experience in recent weeks that face-to-face explanations by relevant officials have helped to dispel misunderstanding, the government will continue to engage, listen and allay concerns through calm and rational discussion.”
Other than with various Consulates who remained unconvinced, the only face-to-face explanations by relevant officials were with people either firmly committed to Beijing or ordinarily relied on to support the government.
The door is shut firmly against informed legal opinion. The government declined an invitation to discuss the issues with a group of senior and highly respected barristers.
Presumably “the relevant officials” were the Secretary for Justice for whom extradition is outside her field of expertise, refuses to answer questions about anything in any event and the Secretary for Security, an ex-policeman who wouldn’t know the difference between a jury and a chamber pot.
Inasmuch as the government officials do not even understand the meaning of the rule of law, how could they even begin to “dispel misunderstanding?”
As for the rational discussion, it should not be forgotten that this bill was launched on the premise that it would enable extradition of a man alleged to have killed a young woman in Taiwan and thereby assist the victim’s family. Taiwan, however, has made it clear that they will have nothing to do with the bill which would make Taiwan’s citizens liable to be sent for trial in Mainland China.
The false premise has now been all but abandoned.
To misquote “The song has ended but the malady lingers on.”
Sunday’s protest march was by far the biggest one-day public demonstration that Hong Kong has ever seen. But far from engaging, listening and allaying concerns, the government intends to press ahead with the second reading of the bill on Wednesday.
It refuses to engage, will not listen and, by definition, cannot allay the genuine concerns of the people who see the bill as an intractable wound to Hong Kong’s special status and its parallel but discrete judicial system.
Edmund Burke said: “The only thing necessary for evil to triumph is for good men to do nothing…when bad men combine, the good must associate: else they will fall, one by one, an unpitied sacrifice in a contemptible struggle.”
Sunday’s protest march was just such an association.
Once upon a time I would have commented that this is inevitable whenever the Chinese Communist Party, in any of its iterations, was involved.