What happened to Hong Kong people? Why is it against the revision of the Fugitive Offenders Ordinance?
On September 28th, 2014, I wrote in the tears, "What's wrong with Hong Kong: Taken into the 17th?" to help readers in mainland China and Taiwan understand the occupation movement. On June 12, Hong Kong people took to the streets again and were relentlessly suppressed by the police. I am here again to endure tears, try to make the beginning and end of the matter clear, and let friends outside Hong Kong know the truth.
1. What happened to Hong Kong?
Tens of thousands of Hong Kong citizens have occupied the main roads near the Hong Kong Government Headquarters and the Legislative Council Building. They have asked the SAR Government to withdraw the amendments to the Fugitive Offenders Ordinance submitted to the Legislative Council, but they have been driven by the police with unreasonable force.
2. What is the revision of the Fugitive Offenders Ordinance? Why is this revision appearing?
The amendment to the Fugitive Offenders Ordinance refers to the Mutual Legal Assistance to Offenders and Criminal Matters (Amendment) Bill 2019. One of the consequences of the passage is that the SAR Government can send the Chinese government as a suspect to the mainland according to the requirements of the Chinese government, which is also called "sending to China."
The source of the proposed amendment is the Pan Xiaoying murder case at the beginning of 2018. Pan Xiaoying is a Hong Kong girl. She traveled to Taiwan with her Hong Kong boyfriend Chen Tongjia. She was killed at the hotel and Chen Tongjia returned to Hong Kong alone. After the investigation by the Taiwan police, Chen Tongjia was wanted. There is no mutual legal assistance arrangement between Hong Kong and Taiwan. Although Hong Kong has sentenced Chen Tongjia to other related crimes, he cannot be extradited to Taiwan.
According to the current Fugitive Offenders Ordinance, the Hong Kong Government, with the consent of the Legislative Council, can sign long-term handover arrangements with the rest of the world. At present, 20 countries have signed agreements. Where there is no signing, in theory, it can be handed over in a case-by-case manner with the consent of the Legislative Council. However, the existing legislation stipulates that "the Central People's Government or any other part of the Government of the People's Republic of China is excluded". Since the official position of the Hong Kong Government is that Taiwan is a part of China, it is impossible to extradite suspects to Taiwan.
At present, the Government has proposed a series of amendments, including the abolition of the "except China" clause and the exclusion of legal restrictions on the transfer from Taiwan.
3. Why do Hong Kong people oppose this amendment?
First of all, after the abolition of the provisions of the "Central People's Government or any other part of the government of the People's Republic of China", not only can the suspects be handed over to Taiwan, but also can be handed over to mainland China, which will greatly undermine Hong Kong's unique position. After all, the judicial system in mainland China is not independent, and it is often politically affected and cannot be fair and just. For example, Zhao Lianhai, who was vocalized by the family members of the tainted milk powder, was jailed for being convicted of causing trouble. If the amendment to the Fugitive Offenders Ordinance is passed, it means that mainland China can borrow Hong Kong's judicial system to send Hong Kong people to mainland China for trial. Public opinion believes that this will make many people feel scared, and Hong Kong people will no longer enjoy the freedom guaranteed by the Basic Law.
Secondly, Hong Kong is an international commercial city. Merchants from all over the world use Hong Kong as a regional headquarters to facilitate business in mainland China. They chose to set up regional headquarters in Hong Kong instead of directly in mainland China because of the guarantees brought about by the independence of Hong Kong's judiciary. Without this guarantee, they have to face various legal problems. For example, mainland China's officialdom and business circles have various unspoken rules. Doing business in mainland China often touches some legal gray areas. If the amendment to the Fugitive Offenders Ordinance is passed, these businessmen will have to worry about whether they will be sent to mainland China for trial. Even businessmen who are cautious and never break the law will be worried that they will be accused of being accused of lawsuits and being guilty of crimes. In this regard, many chambers of commerce in Hong Kong have issued a statement against the revision, and some companies have cancelled over 10 billion business investment because of fear of economic prospects. Public opinion is more worried that foreign capital will move the regional headquarters to other places, and foreign governments are more likely to withdraw special preferential policies for Hong Kong (for mainland China). These developments will seriously hit the Hong Kong economy and affect people's livelihood.
In the third aspect, according to the existing provisions, whether it is a long-term agreement or a case transfer, it must be considered by the Legislative Council. According to the proposed amendment, the Chief Executive will no longer need the consent of the Legislative Council to initiate a case transfer. In this regard, public opinion believes that the supervision of the Chief Executive has been substantially removed, which has greatly reduced the protection of suspects. Since the Chief Executive of Hong Kong is not produced by Hong Kong people by one person, it will be difficult for the public to be held accountable if the relevant power is abused.
In the fourth aspect, this revision has caused a lot of social controversy and it is reasonable to give the public sufficient time to understand, discuss and reflect their opinions. However, this time the government only has 20 days of public consultation. After the Bar Association, the Law Society, and even some religious groups and educational groups that were relatively conservative in their usual positions, the government still insisted on proposing amendments and demanded that the Legislative Council pass as soon as possible, triggering a strong rebound in public opinion.
4. Why does the government have to revise this way?
The official reason is that Chen Tongjia is expected to be released as soon as possible in mid-October, and may then leave Hong Kong to flee. Therefore, the official claims to have to pass the amendment before. However, the Taiwan side has repeatedly stressed that the current amendment proposal cannot be accepted, and even if it is passed, it will not submit the request for transfer. The SAR Government has promoted the revision on the grounds of the Chen Tongjia case. It has been accused by many parties of using the dead and tragedy to achieve its political goals.
5. If Hong Kong cannot hand over suspects to mainland China, then will Hong Kong not become a criminal paradise?
The SAR has been in existence for nearly 22 years. If the term "criminal paradise" is established, it does not seem to explain why Hong Kong's law and order has not been seriously affected in the past 22 years. Even if the impact exists, it is obviously not an immediate danger, and it is necessary to force the speedy legislation before it is fully discussed by the society.
6. But some Western democracies will also sign a transfer agreement with the Chinese government?
Yes, but the situation in Hong Kong is different.
First, when other countries and the Chinese government sign a transfer agreement, they generally stipulate that they will not be transferred to their nationals. However, under the Hong Kong Ordinance, both Hong Kong residents who are born and raised, or those who only transfer at the Hong Kong airport, can be detained and handed over.
Second, democratic countries have election supervision. If the government misuses the handover procedure, it will be punished by the voters. The chief executive of Hong Kong is appointed by the central government. Even if the transfer procedure is misused, it is difficult to open up the responsibility.
Thirdly, precisely because the Chief Executive of Hong Kong is appointed by the Central Government, the handover arrangements in Hong Kong cannot be compared with other places. Leaders of other countries can independently assess whether a suspect should be handed over to mainland China. The Chief Executive of Hong Kong is responsible to the Central Government in accordance with the Basic Law and cannot make independent decisions. Under the framework of this system, all administrative examinations under the responsibility of the Chief Executive are tantamount to a false statement.
7. Since it is a "fugitive", don't worry if you don't do bad things?
In fact, it is a "suspect", not a "fugitive." Hong Kong has a presumption of innocence. Those who have not been convicted one day are only "suspects". It cannot be assumed that they are all bad people. To become a "suspect", as long as the authorities feel that you have done something bad, the problem is that the "bad thing" in the eyes of the Chinese government is very different from that of Hong Kong people. In Hong Kong, voices for the weak will be regarded as good deeds, but there are many cases in mainland China that help people become defendants. Hong Kong people are afraid that the same issue will extend to Hong Kong after the amendment is passed.
8. Isn't there a limit to handing over certain crimes? Doesn't it mean that political prisoners cannot be handed over?
The regulations say this, but there is something in the world called obituary. In order for the case to be established, the prosecution can sue for murder or rape. After the handover, before the official trial, there may be incidents such as "hiding the cat and dying" and "washing the face". These possibilities, people in mainland China may be more clear than Hong Kong people.
9. Does the regulation mean that the court will check it?
The court can only examine the surface evidence provided by the local prosecution and will not consider whether the case is completely unreasonable.
10. If there is no amendment, is there any other way to deal with the "Chen Tongjia case"?
The Legislative Council can make special legislation to deal with the "Chen Tongjia case". The Democrats have already indicated that they accept this practice. In the long run, the jurisdiction of Hong Kong courts can be expanded. Even if Hong Kong people commit crimes in other places, they can be tried by Hong Kong courts. The laws of the Macao SAR are written like this.
11. Why did this conflict erupt today (June 12)?
On Sunday, millions of people have taken to the streets to protest against the amendments, becoming the largest demonstration since the establishment of the SAR. It is a pity that the Government immediately stated that it would not withdraw the amendment after the procession, which caused public outrage. The Legislative Council originally scheduled the review of the regulations at today's meeting. The demonstrators hope to facilitate the withdrawal before the deliberation.
12. Since the Legislative Council will consider it, why not talk about it in the Legislative Council?
Because the Legislative Council has become a rubber stamp. Due to the malformed electoral system in Hong Kong, although the democrats received more votes from voters, they could not get the corresponding parliamentary seats. If this is the case, although the public opinion poll shows that the people who oppose the amendment are far more than the support, it is expected that the amendment will be passed in the Legislative Council with sufficient votes. In addition, the President of the Legislative Council has drawn down the boundaries. Regardless of whether the questions or amendments raised by Members can be fully processed, they will be scheduled to vote on June 20. When the parliament became a mobile phone, the people had to take to the streets to express their dissatisfaction with direct action.
13. Does the Foreign Chamber of Commerce object to the revision? Is this movement instigated by foreign forces?
Absolutely not. There are tens of thousands of demonstrators on the scene, and it is impossible to be bought and sold. All on-site support materials were brought by enthusiastic citizens. Volunteers from all districts of Hong Kong collected materials for delivery to the scene. Compared with the occupation movement in 2014, this demonstrator has no core organization and is involved spontaneously. If the person is incited, the biggest instigator is probably the Chief Executive, Lin Zhengyue.
14. Is this movement a deliberate arrangement by the opposition to discredit the government?
Even the principal officials who have served the SAR government have jointly requested the government to withdraw the amendment. There are seven former deputy directors and former political assistants who have served in the SAR government. They declare that they are natives of Hong Kong and the country. They think that the amendment bill is extremely controversial. Many rational and pragmatic suggestions have not been fully discussed and responded. It has rarely caused a large number of ordinary citizens to express their deep concern in the procession, so the joint request to withdraw the amendment.
15. Do you not have to block the main roads and affect the daily lives of others?
Any protest action is essentially to break the rhythm of normal life and trigger public opinion. The key here is whether the practice is proportional to the event itself. The controversy caused by this revision is unique in the establishment of the SAR; and the impact of the actor so far has been limited to those in power and has not attacked the targets of any civilian population. As for blocking the main road, the target of the actor is the government headquarters. Since the middle of the road was opened to traffic at the beginning of this year, blocking the passage near the government headquarters will not interrupt the east-west traffic on Hong Kong Island.
16. Someone is breaking the law. Isn’t it possible for the police to enforce the law?
Law enforcement must be proportionate. The government serves the people, and the police force is given by the people. Any means of force should be the last resort. The news clip saw that some people were shot in the face without any shock, leaving the police line of defense far away. In addition, even some citizens of peaceful assembly are driven by tear gas. For the citizens of these peaceful assemblies, if they "break the law", I am afraid that they will have to "cross the road". Even if they are not illegal, they can be controversial. The force of the police is obviously disproportionate, even humanitarian atrocities.
17. But the police always have to perform their duties?
Before the fall of the Berlin Wall, the soldiers of East Germany were ordered to shoot at people fleeing to the West. After the fall of the Berlin Wall, the soldiers were sent to trial, arguing that they only performed their duties. The judge asked, the order you received was a shot, but you couldn't shoot it.
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