Editor’s Notice: Henry KC Ho is the founder and chairman of the One Nation Two Methods Youth Discussion board. Right here is his speech to the forty sixth session of the United Nations Human Rights Council. The article displays the views of the writer and never essentially the views of CGTN.
Nationwide safety is of the utmost significance to any nation on the planet. Hong Kong and Macao are the one native administrative areas on the planet which were approved to enact nationwide safety legal guidelines in accordance with their primary legal guidelines, which function constitutional paperwork. Sadly, the laws was not in place in Hong Kong after 23 years, virtually half of the 50-year interval, to which Hong Kong’s excessive diploma of autonomy was granted.
The six-month riots of 2019 demonstrated that the risk to nationwide safety in Hong Kong was not hypothetical and precipitated severe threats to public order in addition to to life and property in Hong Kong. Skewed reviews from some Western media, fueled by violence, lies and rumors of protesters directed on the police, have crippled this world Asian metropolis.
It was on this context that the central authorities, by means of the Nationwide Folks’s Congress, enacted the Hong Kong Nationwide Safety Regulation beneath the authority conferred by its Primary Regulation.
Regulation and order in Hong Kong was shortly restored, and other people’s livelihoods largely returned to regular after the regulation was enacted on June 30 final 12 months. The excellent concern in Hong Kong in the mean time is the battle in opposition to COVID-19, the progress of which has not been very passable in any respect.
As a suppose tank chief and excessive citizen in Hong Kong, I really feel compelled to current to this council the actual scenario in Hong Kong and deal with some misconceptions within the Western media and group concerning of the regulation. For the sake of time, I am going to pick a couple of of the most typical misconceptions and reply to them one after the other.
First, are instances tried by mainland judges or handpicked judges by the town supervisor? The reply isn’t any. In response to article 44 of the regulation, the chief govt appoints quite a lot of present judges to deal with instances regarding offenses endangering nationwide safety. Thus, all Nationwide Safety Regulation judges are present judges and, extra importantly, the project of a selected choose to guage a selected case is solely decided by the judiciary, and never by the top of the courtroom. govt, nor by anybody in Hong Kong or Beijing.
The second extensively held false impression is that suspects are returned to mainland China to be arbitrarily tried. After all, the reply isn’t any. Article 55 of the regulation clearly states that solely beneath distinctive circumstances would the Nationwide Safety Safeguarding Workplace of the Central Folks’s Authorities train jurisdiction over a case, for instance, if the case is complicated because of the involvement of a international nation, implies a severe scenario by which the federal government is unable to implement the regulation or a significant and imminent risk to nationwide safety has occurred.
Opposition politicians and Western media have cited the latest case of 12 younger individuals fleeing Hong Kong for example of human rights violations related to the regulation. This once more displays the bias of the media which tends to painting rioters as heroes or champions of democracy. These individuals are criminals who leap on bail (or what we name fugitives) and intercepted by the Chinese language Coast Police. They don’t seem to be “political prisoners”. The fees in opposition to these 12 criminals vary from arson, possession of weapons and bomb-making tools to riots and collusion with international nations to hazard nationwide safety. They got a good trial in Hong Kong and nobody pressured them to flee to Taiwan. This case has the truth is highlighted widespread considerations in Hong Kong that bail shouldn’t be granted so simply to violators of the Nationwide Safety Act.
The third false impression is whether or not the rule of regulation is lifeless in Hong Kong. Are judges beneath huge strain to move rulings favorable to the central authorities? The reply can be no!
I wish to draw your consideration to 2 essential articles of the Primary Regulation. Article 85 states that “the courts of the Hong Kong SAR shall train judicial energy independently, free from any interference.” Article 89 states that judges in Hong Kong can solely be faraway from workplace for incapability to carry out their duties or for misconduct. Merely put, Hong Kong judges couldn’t be fired for rendering unpopular judgments. Judges are criticized, like most individuals within the public service as of late, however they continue to be impartial from political and different influences.
Actually, the independence of the Hong Kong judiciary was reaffirmed by former Chief Justice Geoffrey Ma. In his farewell speech and on the press convention in January this 12 months, he identified that the judicial independence and the interpretation of the Primary Regulation by the Standing Committee of the Nationwide Folks’s Congress usually are not incompatible. Each are prescribed by the Primary Regulation. He additionally pressured that no strain had been exerted on him and the Hong Kong judges in attempting the instances. As some of the revered figures in Hong Kong, the speech of the previous chief justice actually carries much more weight and credibility than opposition politicians or dying row inmates in Hong Kong.
And so far, we have not seen anybody, together with Martin Lee or different opposition politicians, problem Choose Ma’s aforementioned remarks.
British Overseas Secretary Dominic Raab stated final week that the Safety Act violates the Sino-British Joint Declaration and has a chilling impact on private freedoms. It’s merely an unfounded accusation. We’ve to ask Raab, which clause of the joint assertion has China violated? Which clause within the nationwide safety regulation violates our human rights? What we’ve got seen, quite the opposite, is that the UK authorities is violating its personal memorandum of the joint declaration and its personal coverage by granting BNO passport holders the appropriate of residence. Raab additionally commented on the elections in Hong Kong. Whereas I’m not curious about commenting on parliamentary democracy within the UK, nor the equity of its MP voting system, I hope the UK authorities would depart it to the individuals of Hong Kong to develop our electoral system as properly. based on the basic regulation.
So, can we nonetheless protest in Hong Kong beneath the Nationwide Safety Regulation? The reply is, after all, sure. The streets of Hong Kong have been a lot quieter than earlier than over the previous 12 months, primarily on account of social distancing measures to battle COVID-19. The four-party rule is now carried out, as in lots of European nations. Subsequently, we must always not confuse the strict anti-assembly guidelines with the Nationwide Safety Regulation.
Hong Kong’s freedom of expression, meeting and peaceable protest usually are not affected in any approach. When our battle in opposition to COVID-19 is over, we’ll see protests and rallies once more, on points comparable to housing, social welfare and environmental sustainability in peaceable methods. The one exceptions will likely be those that defend independence, terrorist assaults and sanctions in opposition to our officers, or those that endanger nationwide safety. Sure, protesters can be disadvantaged of that sort of “freedom and rights”, nevertheless it ought to by no means have been allowed within the first place.
Over the previous 12 months, we’ve got seen the Hong Kong govt and judiciary fulfill their tasks in accordance with the Primary Regulation. The judiciary has devoted its efforts to decoding nationwide safety regulation, a continental regulation, in a fashion in step with its widespread regulation custom.
A latest instance considerations the interpretation of article 42 of the regulation, in regards to the threshold of bail for the accused. The Court docket of Last Attraction, within the case of Jimmy Lai’s bail utility, made it clear in February that this provision is a particular exception to the final bail regime. The judges pressured that the presumption of non-bail was not one thing new as they cited examples in different widespread regulation jurisdictions comparable to Canada, South Africa and the US. Australia the place the accused is required to determine why he needs to be on bail.
Actually, many accusations concerning the implementation of the Nationwide Safety Regulation are unfounded, as so far no case has been concluded and no accused has been punished. I hope that members of the worldwide group and the media will take a rational and goal method to assessing the regulation and believe within the independence of our widespread regulation judges.
Lastly, as a researcher on the “One Nation, Two Methods” precept and the Primary Regulation, I wish to stress that the “One Nation, Two Methods” coverage continues to be totally and efficiently carried out in Hong Kong. Its essence might be summed up in a single sentence: Hong Kong ought to keep a distinct however helpful system for China, our nation. Beijing by no means meant to show Hong Kong into one other of China’s cities, as Hong Kong’s distinctive system has introduced huge advantages to China.
Then again, the Chinese language authorities, as in all governments all over the world, wouldn’t tolerate any try by anybody to hazard its nationwide safety, perform terrorist assaults or search independence from Hong Kong. I’m satisfied that if the individuals of Hong Kong and the remainder of the world saved this in thoughts, the One Nation, Two Methods coverage would survive and maintain properly past 2047.
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