(SCMP) March 6, 2018.

The High Court judge who ruled on Tuesday that disgraced former leader Donald Tsang Yam-kuen should bear part of the costs for his misconduct hearings last year also heaped criticism on “undesirable” public relations tactics used during a second trial.

After Mr Justice Andrew Chan Hing-wai explained why Tsang should pay HK$4.6 million (US$590,000) of the HK$13.7 million it cost the prosecution to mount the case, he revealed how he realised that a public relations firm had been getting prominent figures to sit in the public gallery area reserved for Tsang’s family during the retrial for the bribery charge.

The individuals included former Financial Secretary John Tsang Chun-wah, former Secretary for Justice Wong Yan-lung, Vicar General of the Hong Kong Catholic Diocese Reverend Dominic Chan Chi-ming, and radio host and political commentator Chip Tsao.

Tsang and Y Communications, the firm that accompanied him during the trial that ended on November 3 also with a hung jury, would not comment on the matter. When contacted by the Post, Tsao said he turned up to support Tsang as a personal friend, and that this was not a publicity stunt.

HCCC484/2015 HKSAR and Donald Tsang Yam-kuen

30. In the second trial, application was made by the Prosecution to discharge Mr Kiu, a juror from the jury service towards the end of the proceedings. After listening carefully to submissions from both sides, I allowed the application and indicated that I would give my full reasons. These are my reasons.

31. In the course of my summing up, the court was informed by the Prosecution that Mr Kiu during the lunch adjournment, was seen to approach one of the Defendant’s supporters, Mr To Kit (陶傑), a popular columnist and radio presenter for conversation and photograph, who had publicly supported the Defendant in these proceedings. The court was further informed that Mr To Kit expressed on social media antipathy towards the Prosecution and also to a degree to the Judiciary and that he had made clear his views about the merits of the case.

32. On the day in question, Mr To Kit was brought into court by one public relations representative, unlike ordinary citizens who had to queue up for seats. He then sat in an area exclusively reserved for the Defendant’s family and friends. In fact, this was not the first time Mr To Kit had come to court.

33. Following the procedure in the investigation of any alleged misconduct of juror as set out in the English Criminal Practice Direction, Mr Kiu frankly admitted before the court that he was a follower of Mr To Kit’s radio show and that he had been listening to his programme for many years. However, Mr Kiu told us that his conversations with Mr To Kit were confined only to casual matters. Given the late stage of the proceedings, the Prosecution applied to the court to exercise its discretion to discharge Mr Kiu only on the basis that there was a potential bias.

34. The House of Lord in Porter v Magill [2002] 2 AC 357 considered the question of bias in relation to the court generally and approved the test. In the case of potential bias, the court should consider whether a fair minded and informed observer could conclude that there was a real possibility, or real danger (the two being the same), that the tribunal was biased. This test was applied by the Court of Appeal in R v Poole [2002] 1 WLR 1528. In Szeypusz v UK [2010] ECHR 1323, the European Court of Human Rights said that the impartiality of a jury must be subjectively and objectively beyond doubt.

35. Mr To Kit expressed his view on social media regarding the prosecution of the Defendant (which counsel for the Defendant had made no attempt to deny). Mr Kiu sought out a known supporter of the Defendant. As such, Mr Kiu was a supporter of the Defendant’s supporter. In my view, the seeking out of Mr To Kit raised a real possibility that Mr Kiu could not be fair minded in the way that he approached the case.

36. The discharge of Mr Kiu led me at that stage to realise, for the first time, that public relations firm or consultant had been involved in this trial. In fact, they had been present, constantly in and out of court, throughout the first and the second trial but I was not aware of their identities at the time as every citizen was entitled to observe the proceedings.

37. At the outset of the second trial, there was legal argument on whether the Defendant was entitled to adduce good character evidence. Such evidence was elicited in the first trial through the cross‑examination of witnesses called by the Prosecution, for example his former Cabinet Secretaries during their cross‑examination by counsel for the Defendant. They spoke highly of the Defendant and I had no problem with that as that was the Defendant’s entitlement in his first trial. He had a good reputation then and more importantly he was presumed innocent until proven guilty. However, the situation changed. Since the Defendant had been convicted, albeit of one count only, he was no longer entitled to have any good character direction from the court. Had the Defendant decided to introduce good character evidence, the Prosecution would be entitled to introduce evidence in rebuttal. The law on this is clear. Mr Selwyn Yu SC, counsel for the Defendant in the second trial, quite rightly accepted that that was the law and that no such evidence would be adduced on behalf of the Defendant.

38. Family and friends of any defendant in a criminal trial are perfectly entitled to be present in court to observe the proceedings and to show their support. What is not permitted is for family and friends, or for that matter any other person, to try and exert any influence on the jury. Jury tampering is not permitted because it undermines the basic foundation of our criminal justice system as that interferes with the due administration of public justice.

39. Prior to both the first and second trials, the Defendant through his solicitors sought approval from the court to reserve exclusive seats for his family and friends. His request was acceded to by the court. Throughout the second trial, especially towards the end, former colleagues of the Defendant, for example, his former Financial Secretary and former Secretary for Justice, past Legislative Councillors from the Democratic Party, present Legislative Councillors from the Democratic Alliance for the Betterment and Progress of Hong Kong and prominent religious figures, were taken into the court on different days by the public relations firm or consultant sitting at the exclusive area, similar to Mr To Kit’s situation. The objective was undoubtedly to inform and impress upon the jury that the Defendant was a good person and had support from people across the whole spectrum of the society.

40. The Defendant in this case, knowing that good character evidence cannot be introduced from witnesses testifying for the prosecution, had decided to introduce such evidence through the back door. There was of course no direct evidence suggesting the public relations firm or consultant had been engaged by the Defendant himself, the inference however was overwhelming and it would be an affront to common sense to conclude that there was not some consent, acquiescence or involvement by the Defendant. Had the engagement of public relations firm or consultant been brought to my attention earlier, I might consider discharging the entire jury.

41. In England, there are specific provisions in the Criminal Justice Act 2003 which allows judge only trial on indictment where there is a danger of jury tampering. In Hong Kong, no equivalent provisions exist in our statute books, it may be high time for giving serious consideration to that. There is however nothing to prohibit the case from being transferred to the District Court for trial.

42. The present scenario is not much different from any case where a defendant has asked his friends or followers, whom not knowing the underlying reasons, to come to court, wearing black clothing and sitting in the public gallery, with the objective of intimidating either the witness or the jury. In such a situation, the court will have no hesitation in excluding all these people. Having said that, I wish to emphasise that there is no allegation against any persons who were brought into the court by the public relations firm or consultant and for that matter Mr To Kit.

43. It came therefore with no surprise that in recent years, when the wealthy and powerful were charged for criminal offences, they tried all kinds of means and ways to list their cases in the High Court before a jury. The involvement of public relations firm or consultant in our criminal proceedings is not only undesirable but may perceive as seeking to influence the jury. It does nothing good to the rule of law in Hong Kong. This serves as a warning to all public relations firm or consultant.

- This ruling by a pro-Communist judge shows how far away Hong Kong is from true freedom and democracy. In the advanced democratic country of the United States of America, the trials of mafia boss routinely have courtroom seats filled by their henchmen (see, for example, The Untouchables), because the defendants have the right for a fair trial and their henchmen have the right to know that their bosses have a fair trial. Only in backward places like Hong Kong would this be disallowed.

(Ming Pao) Editorial. March 8, 2018.

Sentenced to imprisonment after he was found guilty of "misconduct in public office", former Chief Executive Donald Tsang Yam-kuen has been ordered to pay $5 million in litigation costs. In his judgement, Mr. Justice Andrew Chan Hing-wai reprimanded Tsang's public relations company for lining up famous and prominent figures to sit in the courtroom late into the trial with the intention of persuading the jury "through the back door" that Tsang was a "good person" supported by people across the social spectrum. Though Mr. Justice Chan's judgement has been controversial, what truly merits attention is the fact that the rich and powerful, counting on their connections, wealth and positions, have been trying to influence the jury with PR tactics. Tactics employed by PR firms in litigation are numerous and often fall within the legal grey area. While these practices are not in violation of the law, they are detrimental to how citizens perceive fairness and justice in law, and as such are inevitably the subject of criticism for moral reasons. Society and the jury should beware of such PR tactics employed in litigation.

It is debatable whether some of the wording in Mr. Justice Chan's judgment is justified. For one thing, he compares those prominent figures attending the court with people "wearing black clothing and sitting in the public gallery with the objective of intimidating the jury." Moreover, it is a civil right to attend a court to observe proceedings. However, we should focus on the fact that when the retrial started, the court decided that since Tsang had already been found guilty, the defendant should not summon witnesses again to persuade the jury of Tsang's character. Late into the retrial, a number of prominent figures and former senior government officials attended the court one after another as friends of the defendant. By expressing their trust in and support for Tsang in front of everyone in the court (including the jury), they effectively circumvented the court's order that he "cannot adduce good character evidence".

In a jury system, jurors are supposed to pass a verdict only on the basis of the evidence brought forward in court. However, society nowadays is a victim of information overflow and there are all kinds of PR manipulation tactics. Even if a judge keeps reminding the jury to forget all they have read in news reports and on social media, it is still not easy to ensure that jurors are not influenced by factors aside from evidence brought forward in court.

The jury system is not implemented in Hong Kong's District Courts. Many complicated commercial cases are handled by the District Court instead of the High Court. One of the reasons is that hearing these cases requires more than what the jurors are equipped with. True, it is up to the prosecution to decide whether a case should be heard in the High Court or not, but the defendant may also request that a case be heard in the High Court instead of the District Court. Mr. Justice Chan mentions that the rich and powerful have tried all means to have their cases heard in the High Court before a jury. It calls for concern how common this phenomenon is. The legal sector might want to enlighten the public about this matter.

As claimed by people in charge of some PR firms, how to portray and present a defendant and a court case to the public, both inside and outside the court, by means of various PR tactics, could to a certain extent influence the verdict. For those in the PR industry, this is already an "open secret". Only the ordinary people are kept in the dark. Even if it is not against the law for PR firms and consultancies to intervene in a trial and to attempt to sway the jury openly or stealthily, the practice is not ethical, and it is not good for the rule of law.

(Oriental Daily) March 7, 2018.

When the trial of five men for the Mong Kok riot began in January, Wong Fung-yiu (nickname Grandma Wong) was banned from the courtroom by judge Anthea Pang Po-kam for hollering outside. She was allowed to watch the audiovisual live broadcast on the outside. Yesterday Wong showed up with a backpack with yellow banners saying "Release the political prisoners" and "Oppose the red-ification of Hong Kong." She also wore a scarf with the words "Restore Hong Kong." Wong watched the live broadcast from outside the courtroom. A court security guard informed the judge about the situation. The judge issued an order to bar anyone from displaying any banner inside the courthouse whether inside or outside the courtroom. Violators would be guilty of contempt of court.

This morning, Grandma Wong showed up again. The two yellow banners on her backpack were turned around so that the words are invisible. But she still wore the scarf with the words "Restore Hong Kong." Once again, a security guard informed the judge who asked that Grandma Wong be brought in for questioning.

When the judge saw the scarf, she said that Wong has disobeyed the court ruling and committed contempt of the court. Wong said that she does not understand what the judge was saying. Wong said that she was quite confused. She said that she had no idea what the words on her scarf were. She asked the court to give her a mirror so that she can look at the scarf. The judge said: "You put it on yourself. You ought to know what was written on it!" Wong asked for an opportunity to explain. But the judge said that she has already Wong to be in contempt of the court and the only remaining issue is the penalty. The judge asked whether Wong wishes to hire a lawyer. Wong said: "I have no money. I am a low-end grandma." Wong also said that she does not want to be bailed out.

Finally the judge postponed the issue of penalty until March 29 while Wong is out on bail. She was banned from attending the court trial, including watching the live broadcast from outside the courtroom.

(RTHK Face to Face 2018) Guanxi province Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference delegate and artist Wong Cho Lam.

(YKKZ) By Chris Wat Wing-yin. March 11, 2018.

The Hong Kong entertainer Wong Cho Lam had said: "The political bickering in Hong Kong has reached the stage when you have to fill out 'Yellow' or 'Blue' in all your forms."

He was driven to say this after he was interviewed on the program <Face to Face 2018> by reporter Mak Ka-wai on the government television channel RTHK. The subject was supposed to have been how Hong Kong can keep its unique characteristics and competitivity.

I have always felt that interviews with successful people are intended to let young people and latecomers to appreciate the experience of the trailblazers. Such is the social meaning of interview programs.

Yet, it seemed that Hong Kong has nothing left except the Colors. As Wong Cho Lam said, you must first declare whether you are Yellow or Blue before the interview can begin. For the next half hour, we saw a Yellow Ribbon reporter Mak Ka-wai failing to get anything meaningful out of Blue Ribbon guest Wong Cho Lam. This was a completely negative interview, which was a total waste of airtime.

Here are the twenty questions that were posed to Wong Cho Lam.

Q1. You are very popular in mainland China. You have more than 20 million Weibo fans. Actually why did you decide to develop your career in mainland China?

Q2. Mainland films, television and variety programs have progressed rapidly in recent years. They have plenty of capital, talents and technology. Do Hong Kong artists and creatives have a market in mainland China?

Q3. As soon as Hong Kong artists go north, they lose their Hong Kong flavor and they give up their Hong Kong market. Many of G.E.M. Tang's fans complain that she only cares about the mainland market. Will you keep your Hong Kong flavor?

Q4. Your mother tongue is Cantonese. Do you think that Cantonese is being marginalized? Is this because you must speak putonghua in the mainland market?

Q5. The number of Cantonese speakers is decreasing. Children in Guangzhou are no longer speaking Cantonese. What space is there left for Cantonese?

Q6. The entertainment industry in Hong Kong is going downhill. Do you agree with this assessment?

Q7. Creative space is very important. Are there any forbidden zones in the mainland?

Q8. Your television series <Inbound Troubles> caused controversy over the Hong Kong-mainland China conflicts. Over the past few years, Hong Kong-mainland China conflicts have intensified. Is there any space left? Is pointing out the mainland ugliness banned?

Q9. Back then many people criticized you on the Internet. Today will the official Chinese media outlets such as Global Times and People's Daily chime in as well?

Q10. Are there more forbidden zones in creativity and performance in mainland China? For example, you are now allowed to portray certain people? Are there many borderlines on social and livelihood issues?

Q11. In <Inbound Troubles>, there were many jokes about mainland ugliness. Do you think that it is appropriate to do so in mainland China?

Q12. Entertainments are supposed to entertain the public. But they have more responsibility nowadays, such as making political statements. For example, you have made political posts on your Weibo. In 2015 on the 70th anniversary of the War of Resistance, you posted a photo of yourself making a salute. In 2016 on the South Sea sovereignty, you posted a map of China with the words "Not an inch less." Are there consequences if you don't make a statement?

Q13. Do you remember Hong Kong entertainer Charlene Choi being criticized for posting a work photo because that was supposed to be unpatriotic?

Q14. If you want to develop a career in mainland China, you must state your positions on certain issues of nationality and sovereignty. Is that a form of pressure?

Q15. If your words are not consistent with state policy, you may get into trouble. Thus Hins Cheung was booted off the <Singer> program. More recently Ruby Lin's television serial drama was taken off the air. Does this affect your work?

Q16. In mainland China, is there a sense that the freedom of expression is being further restricted?

Q17. When entertainers or celebrities become Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference delegates, some people think that they are merely sideshows. What you do say?

Q18. As a Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference delegate, you must get involved in national and regional developments. But you do not pay much attention to social or political issues in Hong Kong?

Q19. Nowadays young people in Hong Kong do not believe in One Country Two Systems and they refuse to identify with China or the Chinese people. Where does this resistance come from?

Q20. According to the Hong Kong University Public Opinion Programme, only 0.3% of young people between the ages of 18 and 29 consider themselves as pure Chinese. That is less than 1%. How shall the people of Hong Kong find their own identities? How can the self-confidence of the people of Hong Kong be built up?

In our generation, we had the legend of Li Ka-shing: a 12-year-old Jiaozhou boy who could not speak Cantonese properly came to Hong Kong with his parents. With $7,000 in capital, he established the Cheung Kong Plastics Factory. Today, he is the wealthiest man in Hong Kong.

Today, we have the legend of Wong Cho Lam. This ordinary-looking Hong Kong boy was burdened with supporting his family when his father passed away. He said: "I graduated from the Hong Kong Academy of Performing Arts with first-class honors. I lived two years off welfare when I could not get a job. My income did not become steady until I got into TVB ... In the most difficult moment, my mother worked part-time at a tea restaurant and came home in the afternoon to cook for the family."

Actually, Wong's "steady income" was a measly HK$8,000 per month. His career began in 2002. He did theatrical plays, children's programs and situation comedies; he recorded songs; he got popular as a comedian on TVB. In 2012, he joined a Hunan TV show and became popular by imitating other celebrities. He began by making 50,000 RMB per show. Two years later, he was making 350,000 RMB per show.

In 2014, South Korea television channel SBS licensed Zhejiang TV to run the Chinese version of <Running Man>. Wong became a regular guest on the program. He made 2,000,000 RMB per show. The popularity of this program brought Wong other work opportunities.

In 2016, Wong established the Handicraft Creative Works Company with Shaw Brothers Films.

In 2017, he spent HK$160 million to buy three apartments in Taipo for his wife and sister. Previously, he had bought a HK$30 million home for his mother as a present.

Today Wong is a leading star in mainland China. His fee for a reality show appearance is 1.2 million RMB per episode. In this third season of <Running Man>, he is commanding 6 million RMB per show. His asking price for a movie is 30 million RMB. He has a workshop in Beijing covering artist management, audiovisual production, audiovisual investment, post-production and project planning.

The story of Wong Cho Lam is not just the story of one particular entertainer. It is about how to build a career in the entertainment industry. Unfortunately, the Hong Kong media only want to whine about how the times don't favor Hongkongers anymore. The frog in the well can only see darkness above its head.

Internet comments:

- Q20: It gets back to this survey question: (HKU POP) Would you identify yourself as a Hongkonger/Chinese/Chinese in Hong Kong/Hongkonger in China?

December 4-7 2017 survey results:
38.8%: Hongkonger
29.0%: Hongkonger in China
16.1%: Chinese in Hong Kong
14.5%: Chinese
1.3%: Other
0.3%: Don't know/hard to say

So unless you pick "Chinese", you do not consider yourself to be "Chinese." Even if you say that you are "Chinese in Hong Kong" or "Hongkonger in China," you are not "Chinese."

P.S. Do you know what is the difference between "Chinese in Hong Kong" and "Hongkonger in Chinese"?

This is just bogus science.

(Hong Kong Free Press) February 25, 2018

A group of KMB bus drivers participated in a three-hour strike on Saturday evening over salary reforms pledged by management in the aftermath of the fatal Tai Po crash, which left 19 dead. During the afternoon, the newly-established Alliance of Monthly-Paid Bus Drivers called on drivers to stop their vehicles wherever they were at 8pm sharp for 30 minutes. When management initially failed to respond to demands for dialogue, the group said it would extend the industrial action until 12am.

KMB’s human resources department circulated an internal notice prior to the strike, warning drivers not to participate: “The company will initiate serious disciplinary action against any behaviour contrary to work guidelines.”

Saturday evening’s strike was mostly limited to bus drivers at the Tsim Sha Tsui bus terminus. Alliance spokesperson Yip Wai-lam told reporters she could not estimate how many people took part elsewhere, because the vehicles of drivers who announced their intention to participate had been confiscated by the company beforehand.

At around 8:30pm, Yip’s own vehicle at the Tsim Sha Tsui terminus was confiscated and driven off by other KMB staff with assistance from the police. Pro-democracy activists and lawmakers such as Jeremy Tam and Lau Siu-lai then arrived on the scene to support the drivers. After the confiscation of her vehicle, she said that the Alliance would go and protest at Government House – the residence of the chief executive – if management did not respond by 1am.

But at 11pm, KMB officials arrived in Tsim Sha Tsui, promising that management would meet with the Alliance to discuss their demands on Monday. The Alliance then ended the strike.

(SCMP) February 24, 2018.

At least a dozen Hong Kong passengers experienced a short delay in their journeys on Saturday night after a KMB bus drivers’ union unhappy with a pay restructuring exercise launched a strike that proved less disruptive than planned.

Soon after 8pm, two KMB drivers lined up and parked their buses inside a terminus in Tsim Sha Tsui. One vehicle had about 10 passengers on board, and the two buses blocked the station’s lone exit. About five other buses not part of the strike were caught behind the two vehicles for 15 minutes.

Passengers were mostly calm, and not everyone on board was aware of the situation. One surnamed Chan said he understood the motivations behind the strike. “But passengers should not have been used as bargaining chips,” he said, before exiting the bus to take a train instead.

KMB management and police arrived on site at around 8.15pm to enable the blocked buses to get out by using the terminus entrance.

The two who stopped their buses were Yip Wai-lam, spokeswoman of the “Full-time KMB Driver Alliance” that launched the strike, and an unidentified female driver.

Yip expressed no regrets. “Even if I’m fired after tonight, I will support my colleagues in their fight for better benefits,” she said tearfully.

The “Full-time KMB Driver Alliance” was only set up in recent days and is one of at least five unions representing 8,300 drivers under KMB. Each group holds different views on how their benefits should be improved. The alliance claimed to represent more than 1,000 full-time drivers.

(Hong Kong Free Press) February 26, 2018.

The KMB bus driver alliance behind a strike over the weekend announced on Monday that they will wait at the Kowloon Bay bus depot for the company’s management to respond to their demands. If KMB refuses to respond by 2am Tuesday morning, the alliance said it will take further action. It did not give details as to what the action may entail.

On Monday morning, Alliance spokesperson Yip Wai-lam bowed in apology to the public for any inconvenience caused by the union action.

Yip said that the company’s stance was clear in that they were disregarding the dangers faced by the drivers: “[T]hey’re adopting standard procedures… they aren’t listening to our demands,” Yip said. “I feel – the only way I can describe it is… it’s a cold business.”

“They’re taking us in circles, there’s no sincerity,” Yip added.

Yip initially planned to meet with company representatives on Monday, but decided not to attend after learning that the firm was intending to meet her as an employee in accordance with regular procedures, rather than as an alliance member.

Yip earlier clarified that she had not been suspended – as was rumoured online – but that she was merely asked to not drive and stay in the office on Sunday. She said she did not believe it was an act of revenge, RTHK reported.

“We are very happy that the company’s management has taken positive steps towards our three demands. With these demands, we have already achieved a preliminary success,” Yip said in the early hours of Tuesday morning, announcing that no further labour action will be taken by the alliance.

Yip also said that she had a greeting for the company: “A single spark can start a prairie fire.”

“We succeeded because… people can see your passion, your sincerity,” Yip said, adding that she only hoped bus drivers could drive without being under too much pressure and passengers could be safe.

(Hong Kong Free Press) February 27, 2018.

A group of KMB bus drivers behind a strike over the weekend have said they will take no further action after talks with management resulted in a “preliminary success.”

The alliance were demanding that a bus drivers’ review system be scrapped; that KMB and the government do more to educate passengers on bus etiquette; and for the views of low-level bus drivers to be heard when the company formulates policies.

(HKG Pao) By Chris Wat Wing-yin. February 27, 2018.

Previously small businesses in Kowloon City were upset that their street had been blocked off for MTR construction for over four years. Their income suffered even as the landlords continued to raise their rents. They decided to seek the help from Kowloon West legislative councilor Claudia Mo. Her first question was; "Are you willing to sleep in the street?"

The small businesses only wanted to solve their problem, not to oppose the government or any other organization. So they declined Mo's suggestion. They went to look for a pro-establishment legislative councilor to help them. A press conference was held, and got some short reports in the back pages of newspapers. The landlords kept raising rent, the MTR continued to block off the street and their business did not improve.

This is not to say the pro-establishment legislative councilors are useless. I only want to say: "The crying child will get the candy."

Because you won't roll on the ground in a hissy fit, everybody knows that you will eventually calm down. Therefore they will ignore you and this affair will be forgotten soon. Or perhaps, it should be said that nobody paid any attention all along.

I am bringing this up because of the recently hot KMB bus driver Yip Wai-lam.

This Alliance of Monthly-Paid Bus Drivers was founded five days ago. There are fewer than 10 core members and it is not known whether they are registered yet. The founder Yip Wai-lam instigated a 30-minute strike on Saturday evening. She told bus drivers to stop on the roadside at 8pm and honk for 10 seconds.

This strike is holding the passengers hostage. If the buses stop on expressways, it may be dangerous. If the buses stop in a busy street, it may create traffic congestion. In the end, only five buses took part, including the founder Yip Wai-lam and her husband who is also a bus driver.

There were more politicians present than bus drivers. There was Lee Cheuk-yan, who is always present at strikes. There is Leung "Long Hair" Kwok-hung who has almost been forgotten ever since he lost his Legco seat, there was the disqualified legislative councilor Lau Siu-lai who has moved in on bus drivers after being done with small vendors. There was the Civic Party airline pilot Jeremy Tam. There was Ray Chan Chi-chuen. There was Tam Tak-chi who has yet to make the big time ... There were also other people from People Power, Neighbourhood and Worker's Service Centre, League of Social Democrats, Shopping Revolutionaries, ... Once you saw this cast of characters, you understand immediately just who is stoking the fire.

The next morning, the newspapers focused on female bus driver Yip Wai-lam for the failed strike. This Hong Kong Academy for Performing Arts graduate is a legend already for choosing to drive a bus over singing Cantonese opera. The Yellow Media kept filing stories to promote the strike. RTHK made 9 posts in 10 hours to help promotion. RTHK even invited Yip and her husband to appear live on the television. When you have the Yellow Ribbon Media on your side, it is so easy to be red hot.

First you cry, then you holler, then you roll on the ground. This is the formula for success in Hong Kong. On camera, the female bus driver cried as she said that she is psychologically prepared to be dismissed. Don't worry, because the company won't dare to dismiss you when you have the yellow-colored protective umbrella. Even if you are dismissed, it is just another step up as you become a headline figure who will sweep into the next Legislative Council.

(Headline Daily)  The Goddess Project. By Chris Wat Wing-yin. February 27, 2018.

... The latest God/Goddess Making projection is unbearable to watch because it is built upon the 19 dead people in the KMB (Kowloon Motor Bus) bus disaster. By using Whatsapp groups, the KMB bus driver Yip Wai-lam established an Alliance of Monthly-Paid Bus Drivers in a matter of five days and drew the media limelight. She was able to hijack the opinions of 8,000 fulltime bus drivers. She also held a massive strike of 5 bus drivers. Yesterday she occupied the KMB bus depot while issuing an ultimatum for KMB to respond to her demands by 2am or else she cannot exclude the possibility of escalated actions.

Siege, occupation, ultimatum ... plus Yip Wai Wai-lam's closing to the remark to the press: "We won't forget our original intention." This is a familiar script. Once you add the phrase "Resister bus driver", the Goddess Project can begin.

KMB has almost 9,000 full-time and part-time bus drivers. There are five active labor unions at this time: the Motor Transport Workers General Union's KMB branch (Federation of Trade Unions), the KMB Workers General Union (Hong Kong and Kowloon Trades Union Council), the KMB Employees Union, the Staff Rights Association of KMB and the KMB Staff Union (Confederation of Trade Unions). More than 90% of the KMB workers are members of the first two, so the management has always conferred with these two unions over matters such as salary and benefits.

How should management deal with the demands from the various labor unions? There are already five unions. Today Yip Wai-lam has just established a sixth one: the Alliance of Monthly-Paid Bus Drivers.. Tomorrow someone is going to start a Concern Group For Bus Drivers Born During the 1970's. The day after tomorrow someone else is going to start a Male Bus Drivers' Grand Alliance. If each union issues three demands, that will be 24 demands in total, some possibly in conflict with others. How is management supposed to please everybody?

At the press conference, Yip Wai-lam had Leung "Long Hair" Kwok-hung, Lau Siu-lai, Jeremy Tam, Tam Tak-chi standing behind her ... Yip Wai-lam had graduated from the Hong Kong Academy for Performing Arts in 2014, the year of Occupy Central, and made a decision to become a bus driver instead of an actress. Everything fits. You know what that means. Whether this action succeed or fail is immaterial by now. The important thing is that the Opposition has successfully created another Goddess.

(SCMP) March 6, 2018.

Protesters late on Tuesday night staged a sit-in at a depot of Hong Kong’s largest bus company after KMB sacked a driver who led an impromptu strike last month.

A KMB spokesman said Yip Wai-lam had stopped driving without authorisation during the strike, threatening the safety of passengers and other road users. The company said it had decided to take disciplinary action by terminating her employment. Yip’s husband, also a KMB driver, and two other drivers who took part in the strike, were also fired for “serious violations”.

Yip, the leader of the newly formed Full-time KMB Driver Alliance, which claims to represent 1,000 full-time drivers, was paid compensation of about HK$76,000 in lieu of notice, but she refused to sign the agreement. Yip’s husband also refused to sign a similar agreement.

Late into the evening on Tuesday, about 50 members of the public and a number of pro-democratic political parties went to KMB’s depot on Stonecutters Island to show their support for Yip. They included at least six KMB drivers and two representatives from the Staff Rights Association of KMB and the KMB Staff Union.

They staged a sit-in at the depot and called for other KMB drivers to join in. “If we don’t come out, we will be finished,” Yip said. “Hong Kong bosses will be able to do whatever they like to their employees.” Yip said they were demanding KMB withdraw the decision to fire her, her husband and the other two drivers, and agree not to “crack down on unions”.

One KMB driver at the sit-in said he supported Yip because she was helping others. “I’m not worried about consequences,” said the driver, who had been at the company for two years. “You can find a similar job easily but you can’t find another person brave enough to speak out for us.” Another driver, who had been with KMB for seven years, said: “[Yip] was doing the right thing in fighting for reasonable treatment for us. It’s not about money. It’s about the system and whether it’s fair to everybody.”

Yip said she had not been assigned any shifts since the strike and management had told her to wait at the company premises on Tuesday before informing her she was being fired because of the strike. “I think the public can see clearly [if this is retaliation],” she said.

Yip and her husband had been working at KMB for five years. They turned in their staff cards but refused to sign the agreement or accept the compensation cheque, she said. Her union would discuss with other KMB unions what to do next, and she hoped the Labour Department would intervene, she added. “Although I’ve lost a job and I will miss my colleagues, I have done my duty,” she said. “To be able to have achieved this, I have no ­regrets in my life.” She said she and her husband had expected the consequences of their industrial action, but they were saddened that other drivers had to suffer because of it.

(SCMP) March 7, 2018.

Hong Kong's largest bus company on Wednesday put on hold its decision to sack four drivers for taking part in an impromptu strike last month, hours after the dismissal prompted a sit-in protest at one of its depots. The U-turn was announced in the early hours of Wednesday after KMB management held an emergency meeting with the protesting drivers. The four drivers, who included the leader of the strike, Yip Wai-lam, were told that they would continue to receive their pay and that KMB would launch a review of the dismissal decision as soon as possible. 

Lam Tsz-ho, deputy head of KMB’s communications and public affairs department, said the decision to suspend the dismissal was made after the drivers appealed against the move. He said the appeal would be handled by an independent committee according to the established procedure. 

Announcing the decision to her supporters after the meeting, Yip said: "Justice will last and truth will be supported”.

Internet comments:

- But the Yellow Ribbon media won't tell you this:

(TVB) February 27, 2018.

The Motor Transport Workers General Union's KMB branch with 8,000+ members met with three members of the investigative committee of independent KMB board directors and presented a list of recommendations including pay raise for bus drivers. According to Motor Transport Workers General Union's KMB branch first vice-president Cheung Tin-kei, "$19,000/month is not asking too much. It is fair. It is just that the pay was too low in the past." Cheung said: "We post notices each time after we meet with the management. Our executive committee members are elected by our union members on a one-person-one-vote basis. We have representativeness. We are open. We do not run black box operations." Cheung said that the strike by this Alliance of Monthly-Paid Bus Drivers lacked justification.

The KMB Workers General Union with almost 2,000 members also met with the managemen. They presented demands such as pay raises and scheduling. The KMB Workers General Union chief executive Wong Sing-cheung said that the strike by this Alliance of Monthly-Paid Bus Drivers was illegal and lacked justification.

Nobody cares about the big two unions because they don't have a hysterical spokeswoman whose repertoire includes many moods (from despair to solemnity to jubilation).

- (Facebook video) The screaming woman puts on a show for RTHK. Are you really going let her drive a bus carrying more than 100 passengers?

- She is implying that if you don't give a hefty pay raise to the bus drivers, many more citizens will be killed.

- A bravura performance indeed, but somewhat over the top for my taste.

- Fans of Yip Wai-lam:

Leung Kwok-hung (League of Social Democrats), Jeremy Tam (Civic Party), Tam Tak-chi (People Power), Lau Siu-lai

- (Silent Majority HK) February 27, 2018.

The Alliance of Monthly-Paid Bus Drivers and the KMB Employees Union called for a wildcat strike at 8pm on February 24. The action was: "Drive your bus to the roadside and turn on the emergency signal. Stay put for 30 minutes. Sound your horn for 10 seconds. During this time, you can leave one lane open for emergency and other vehicles." The instigator was intercepted at the bus terminal and her bus was taken away from her. The strike did not take place because the other four labor unions refused to support it.

On the surface, this was a strike by workers to protest against the company. But this is in truth a contest among the various KMB labor unions. At present, there are five labor unions. the larest is the Motor Transport Workers General Union's KMB branch of the pro-establishment Federation of Trade Unions with more than 6,000 members. The third largest is the KMB Staff Union of the non-establishment Confederation of Trade Unions with more than 1,200 members. Together, these two unions account for more than 90% of KMB bus drivers.

The Alliance of Monthly-Paid Bus Drivers claimed to have more than 1,000 members in just two to three days using Whatsapp groups. If true, then they are highly successful because the KMB Staff Union could only manage to get 1,200 members after many years. But this claim is dubious because they are saying that anyone who joins any of the Whatsapp groups are full members of the Alliance of Monthly-Paid Bus Drivers. Their nominal ally, the KMB Employees Union, is a small union whose web page is blank.

The Alliance of Monthly-Paid Bus Drivers said that they are taking action because the KMG management is only talking with the large unions and has not "consulted" every single KMB worker. Well, do you really expect management to talk to every single worker? If this is not feasible, then who can they talk to other than the two large labor unions who account for more than 90% of the workers?

Although there is no evidence that this labor strife was manipulated by political parties, many opposition figures have shown up including Jeremy Tam, Lau Siu-lai, Leung Kwok-hung, etc.

Afterwards, the KMB management arranged for Yip Wai-lam to attend a meeting with the management and the two largest labor unions. Yip declined because KMB has not recognized the Alliance of Monthly-Paid Bus Drivers. Well, the two labor unions are properly established and registered organizations. Do you think that a Whatsapp group should be accorded the same status as them?

- (Silent Majority HK) February 26, 2018.

This KMB affair was populist farce. It is reasonable for workers to strive for higher pay and better working conditions. Negotiations between management and labor over these issues take place every day all over the world.

But this time, some KMB bus drivers exploited the 19 deaths from the Tai Po bus disaster to demand pay raises because "safe driving can only take place if the bus drivers are emotionally stable." They imposed a deadline for management to respond or else they would blockade the bus terminals. This is exactly the same tactic used in Occupy Central wherein you issue a demand that must be completely accepted within a short time frame or else you will "take action."

The demands were issued on Friday afternoon. The bus driver strike began at 8pm on Saturday evening. In the end, about 5 bus drivers joined the strike. If there weren't any traffic police officers around, the Tsim Sha Tsui East bus terminal would have been "occupied" (blockaded) by these five irresponsible people.

It is unseemly, even immoral, to leverage the passengers in order to get a pay raise for yourself. It is reasonable for bus drivers to ask for higher pay and better conditions. But they should not using the citizens of Hong Kong as their pawns in the game. The citizens are sympathetic with their demands, but not if the citizens are going to be used as bargaining chips.

Yip Wai-lam of the Alliance of Monthly-Paid Bus Drivers jumped out and started with: "Bus drivers must be emotionally stable in order to drive safely." Does she imply that if the bus drivers don't get a huge raise, then they won't "drive safely"? It is blackmail? Under any circumstance, the safety of the passengers should be the top priority for bus drivers!

When someone says "Bus drivers must be emotionally stable in order to drive safely," it is actually an insult of the majority of the professional KMB bus drivers. This explained why so few bus drivers heeded the call of the Alliance of Monthly-Paid Bus Drivers to strike.

With respect to emotional stability, Yip Wai-lam ran through the gamut of emotional expressions on television. At various points, her veins were popping up, or tears covered her face, or she hollered uncontrollably. Her emotional instability really makes one question whether she is suitable to drive a bus. When her EQ (Emotional Quotient) is so poor and when she seems to have no control over her own emotions, should the lives of more than a hundred bus passengers be placed in her hands? Shouldn't KMB get a doctor to assess her emotional state first before they let her drive again? Hey, those passengers taking the 234X bus had better pay extra attention.

- (Silent Majority HK) March 1, 2018.

The problem with this production directed by Yip Wai-lam is that there are not enough actors. The principal actor is always herself. The supporting cast consisted of her husband and fewer than ten other faceless bus drivers. This is not enough even for three tables of mahjong. She called themselves the Grand Alliance of Monthly-Paid Bus Drivers. How grand can this be? What percent of the almost 10,000 bus drivers do they represent? This is the first reason why this is a farce.

From the first day, Yip kept releasing to the media in the name of the Alliance of Monthly-Paid Bus Drivers. There would be a strike by bus drivers, the bus terminals would be blockaded, the action will be escalated ... It was the same as Occupy Central, only that the word "occupy" had not been invoked yet. Like Occupy Central, this was hijacking the interests of the citizens for their own purposes. Yip also dressed up to the tilt with face powder, mascara, earrings, nail polish, lipstick, etc to meet the press. This is more an entertainment show than a labor strike. This is the second reason why this is a farce.

The Alliance called on all bus drivers to either blockade the bus terminals if they are there or else stop by the roadside wherever they were at the time. This is not a labor strike. This is hooliganism. They want a pay raise. Fine, but why paralyze the transportation system for the public? This is the third reason why this is a farce.

The list of ever changing demands is also risible. At first, the Alliance demanded the base pay of KMB bus drivers be raised to $15,000. But it was disclosed that the base pay of KMB bus drivers already exceeds this amount. So Yip immediately switched to three brand new demands: (1) cancel the annual review for bus drivers; (2) increase cooperation between KMB and the government to promote respect for bus drivers; (3) KMB must promise to discuss important issues with the bus drivers. Well, this is like asking people to admit that your mother is a woman. This was simply pointless. This is the fourth reason why this is a farce.

The worst part is for Yip to suggest that the "pay raise" is linked to "safe driving by emotionally stable drives." Most KMB bus drivers refuse to play this game, and they will not blackmail citizens with such lack of professionalism and morality. After Occupy Central, the people of Hong Kong are wary of such tactics. So the Alliance of Monthly-Paid Bus Drivers and Yip Wai-lam were doomed to come to a bad end.

- (Ta Kung Pao) February 27, 2018.

Yip Wai-lam was supposed to meet with the KMB management yesterday afternoon. But Yip said that the KMB management is taking the position that the meeting is with individual employees and not with representatives from the Alliance of Paid-Monthly Bus Drivers as such. Therefore she has angrily canceled the meeting.

At around 4pm, about 30 persons who are supposedly bus drivers sat outside the KMB headquarters in Kowloon Bay to demand a meeting with the KMB management. Yip Wai-lam listed three demands and said that they will escalate action if they don't get a response by 2am.

In the evening, it was said that Yip and her husband will meet as individuals with KMB management at 930pm. But before going into the meeting, Yip said that she is attending the meeting as a representative of the Alliance of Monthly-Paid Bus Drivers.

KMB management told us that they will not yield to the Alliance of Monthly-Paid Bus Drivers. The meeting was an occasion for them to re-iterate their position. They said that they will follow the normal procedures by consulting with the two labor unions before finalizing on pay raises, bonuses, etc.

- (Ta Kung Pao) February 27, 2018.

Yesterday a bus driver posted a placard in front of his seat: "Ms. Yip does not represent me. I will drive safely to serve the citizens."

- The Alliance of Monthly-Paid Bus Drivers have 1,000 members by using Whatsapp groups over just five days. But who are these 'members'? Are they really bus drivers? Or reporters?

- (Ming Pao) February 27, 2018.

Motor Transport Workers General Union's KMB branch chief executive Wong Sing-cheung said that KMB management recognizes only two labor unions at this time. If Yip Wai-lam really has 1,000 supporters for the Alliance of Monthly-Paid Bus Drivers, she should really channel her demands through the MTWGU-KMB run to become the chief executive of the Motor Transport Workers General Union's KMB branch.

- Photo taken next to the driver's seat on a KMB bus

The Alliance of Monthly-Paid Bus Drivers does not represent me.
I support the company's proposal to improve salaries.

- (Silent Majority HK) February 27, 2018.

Yesterday Yip Wai-lam had set a deadline of 2am for the KMB management to respond to the three demands made by the Alliance of Monthly-Paid Bus Drivers. She said that she has multiple industrial actions planned. At around 2am, she announced that the KMB management has taken positive steps, so the Alliance will stop all industrial actions.

At around 4am, Yip said that she is "very fatigued" after the actions over the past several days. She needed rest, so she and her bus driver husband Lau Cheuk-hang will take a day off tomorrow to rest. She said that she will not be doing media interviews for now.

Well, what could she do when nobody supports her? Two to three other bus drivers supported her attempt to occupy the Tsim Sha Tsui East bus terminal. A single hand cannot make a clapping sound. So she has unilaterally declared victory and gone back home.

- What industrial actions were being planned? It is said that Yip Wai-lam and friends are going to call in sick! (Oriental Daily) February 26, 2018.

When asked, Yip Wai-lam said that some members of the Whatsapp group has proposed to call in "sick" on March 1. Yip said that she cannot stop Alliance members from thinking whatever they want to think.

- What is the point of escalation? In the Tai Po disaster, it is said that the bus driver came in late and got chewed out by the passengers. So he drove very fast to take out his anger. Now, if some bus drivers call in "sick," it is going to upset some passengers who will take it out on the working bus driver who is going to get upset and then he will step hard on the gas pedal ... whatever happens will be the fault of KMB management!

- (Speakout HK) March 2, 2018.

The previously unknown female bus driver Yip Wai-lam became a labor movement leader overnight. She declared herself to be the convener of an Alliance of Monthly-paid Bus Drivers, which works via Facebook/Whatsapp and which does not have registration procedures or membership numbers. She demanded to speak with KMB and she organized a bus driver strike in order to leverage the passengers to force KMB to come to the table. When the bus drivers gave her the cold treatment, Yip refused to accept defeat and used the media shows to keep rising up.

On RTHK, Yip held a dialogue with KMB Communications and Public Affairs deputy manager Lam Tsz-ho. She became more and more excited and linked the demand for pay raises with the Tai Po incident. She hijacked 19 deaths to coerce KMB. Then she switched the subject and took the side of the bus driver who is suspected of driving dangerously to cause the 19 deaths. She sighed: "He is only 30 years old and he has to go to jail!" Her logic is very confused.

When she found out that KMB was willing to meet with her only as an individual bus driver and not as the representative of the Alliance of Monthly-Paid Bus Drivers, she immediately called off the meeting and threatened to escalate the industrial actions. On the same day, she realized that KMB is not going to budge and she reversed course quickly and went with her husband to meet the KMB management. She said that the only important thing was to have a meeting and their status was unimportant.

Yip Wai-lam is disgusting because she is hijacking the 19 deaths as well as passenger interests to satisfy her own interests.

- (HKG Pao) March 3, 2018.

Alliance of Monthly-Paid Bus Drivers convener Yip Wai-lam went on strike on February 24. On February 27, she and her husband requested three days' leave. Yesterday they went back to work and found out that they were not assigned to drive for the month of March. So they were go to the company office and sit around. Internet users praised KMB, because they felt that persons who are emotional unstable should not be allowed to drive buses.

- (Oriental Daily) March 7, 2018. A bus driver named Yan has been with KMB for almost three years. He said: "We only earn about $15,000 per month. Even female dishwashers at tea restaurants make as much. The company keep repeating that we are professionals, but we make almost the same as tea restaurant female dishwashers! Wow! That's very professional."

- Yet another clueless Yellow Ribbon zombie. Recently singer Hins Cheung spoke about his new restaurant in Wan Chai. His biggest complaint was that he cannot find dishwashers even at an offered salary of $20,000 per month. Why? Because the work is hard, the conditions are terrible and the hours are long. That is why their salaries keep rising. Meanwhile there are plenty of McJobs around that pay $7,000 per month. University graduates starting as interns at the big banks get $10,000, and only $8,000 as cub news reporters.

- Everybody knows that the best job in Hong Kong is Police Inspector: Degree with a pass at “Level 1” or above in 'Use of Chinese' and 'Use of English' in the Common Recruitment Examination, or equivalent HK$43,350 - $80,965.

- The response by KMB to the various actions can only be described as bizarre. They always come out swinging hard (e.g. dismiss Yip Wai-lam and her husband for violation of employee discipline and putting passengers/public in safety risk) and then they immediately retreat upon resistance (e.g. re-instating Yip and her husband because of protests).

The simplest explanation is this: the public face of KMB is Lam Tsz-ho, KMB Communication and Public Affairs Department vice-president. Lam was a TVB reporter who has participated many times in the July 1st protest marches. So every decision by the KMB management was sabotaged by this Yellow Ribbon mole from the inside!

Here are some cases in which the human rights of academic researchers are being violated in Hong Kong.

(Oriental Daily) February 27, 2018.

On August 17, 2017, Joshua Wong, Nathan Law and Alex Chow were re-sentenced by the Court of Appeal to lengthier jail terms. At the time, a number of people turned out to support the three. 40-year-old former Chinese University of Hong Kong Department of Philosophy part-time lecturer Wong Sum-lung was arrested and charged with assaulting a police officer. Today the trial took place in Eastern District court.

Police sergeant Tam Tsz-chung testified that he was in charge of crowd control at the scene. He observed the defendant Wong Sum-lung using his right hand to grab the right arm of a female police officer. Tam asked Wong: "What are you bothering my colleague?" Tam said that Wong turned around and pushed him. Tam felt some pain in his chest upon the contract. He went to get a medical examination at the hospital that same day, but no sign of injury was found.

A number of videos were show in court. The defendant was seen in the crowd. An old lady carrying a yellow umbrella was being jostled by the police. The defendant wanted to get close to the old lady, but the police kept him away. There was physical contract between the defendant and a uniformed male police officer.

During cross examination, the defense claimed that the defendant Wong never pushed Tam who wanted to go and protect the yellow umbrella lady. But Tam kept pushing Wong away. Wong was only struggling. Tam agreed that he was trying to prevent Wong from getting close to the old lady and that there was physical contact. But Tam denied that he pushed Wong. Tam also said that the videos did not show the old lady being pushed away by a male police officer in white uniform. Tam said that he did not see this himself either.

Wong was arrested 18 minutes after the incident. The defense claimed that Tam did not make an arrest immediately because he was not sure whether Wong intentionally assaulted him. Tam denied this to be the case.

The defense said that Wong never grabbed the arm of the female police officer. Wong only wanted the female police officer not to take away the old lady. But Wong was pushed away by Tam and other male police officers. Tam denied this to be the case.

(Oriental Daily) February 27, 2018.

Wong testified on his own behalf in court today. He said that he made contact with the arm of the female police officer when he tried to protect the old lady with the yellow umbrella. And then he pushed the police sergeant as an instinctive reaction in self-defense. He said that he did not intentionally commit any assault and that the police sergeant was being over-sensitive.

Today the court found that the evidence exists in the case of Wong Sum-lung allegedly assaulting a police officer.

Internet comments:

- This is yet another example in which academic dissidents are being persecuted in and out of academia. Wong Sum-lung has been persecuted ceaselessly by the Hong Kong Communist Government Public Security Bureau over the years. Here are some previous incidents:

(Wen Wei Po) May 25, 2015. On October 1, 2009, Radio Free Asia reported that a number of protestors from the China-Uyghur-Tibet Unity Association assembled in front of the Chinese Embassy, with a University of Essex student named Wong from Hong Kong saying that he "felt guilty as a Han person about the treatment of minority groups."

(Wen Wei Po) May 25, 2015. On May 13 in Central, someone wrote "Immoral Evil Police" on the side of a parked police car in Central District. The police checked the surveillance videos and arrested 38-year-old man Wong Sum-lung in his apartment in Central District. The police also found a "Duty Log" used by the police in his apartment. Wong was charged with criminal damage of property and theft. According to information, Wong is a part-time staff member in the Department of Humanities and Creative Writing at Baptist University. Wong has bachelor and master degrees in the United States and a Doctor of Philosophy from the University of Essex in the United Kingdom.

(HK01) August 1, 2016. 39-year-old Wong Sum-lung pleaded guilty to stealing a police duty log. The defense pleaded that Wong committed the crime in order to cause trouble for the police. His parents wrote to the judge that their son is too tense and stubborn, and that they will do their best to make sure that their son does not stray in the future. The magistrate imposed a fine of $3,000. The defendant has a prior criminal record of causing personal injury in year 2000, for which he was fined $4,000.

- Wong Sum-lung is a pro-democracy freedom warrior. Charging him with these crimes is damaging Hong Kong's reputation as an international financial center with rule-of-law.

- In April 2014, Wong Sum-lung held a seminar on "Foucault the Darwinian,or How to Philosophize in the Wake of God’s Death" at Baptist University. This showed that his knowledge spans sociology, philosophy and religion. But Baptist University and the Chinese University of Hong Kong would only hire him as a part-time staff member and then they terminated him.

- Wong Sum-lung is a 40-year-old unemployed adult male who was a part-time lecturer at Baptist University and the Chinese University of Hong Kong. What has his case got to do with freedom of academic research?

- Given his curriculum vitae, Wong Sum-lung probably suffers from some form of socio-psychopathology. He is not unintelligent, because he has a doctorate. But he can't seem to get a job. When he manages to procure a part-time job, the employer won't renew the contract. At this stage in life, he is unemployed and unemployable. How much longer can his parents support him?

- (Oriental Daily) February 27, 2018. At a prayer meeting organized by the Justice and Peace Committee of the Catholic Church, Democratic Party founding chairman Martin Lee said he had visited many social activists in jail including Joshua Wong and Alex Chow. He said that "it was beneficial to them to be in jail."

So what was Wong Sum-lung protesting about? Why did he want to stop a good thing?

- (Ming Pao) February 6, 2018. On the HKBU SU Democracy Wall, a marketing student Yeung Po-san posted a photo of HKBU assistant professor and HKBU Faculty and Staff Union chairman Benson Wong Wai-kwok waving both middle fingers under the subject: "Foul-mouthed university trustees: More than one!?"

When asked about the photo, Wong said that this photo was taken at a private gathering. "I can't see what action the university can take. Unless the university wants to interfere with my private life, there is no reason for them to take any action." Wong said that he will seek legal assistance if he feels that any university action is infringing on his freedom of academic research. With respect to the photo, Wong said: "If anyone feels offended, then I express my deep regrets."

Wong has asked the student Yeung Po-shan where she got the photo and why she posted it on the Democracy Wall. Yeung has not responded yet.

- HKBU should provide legal assistance to student Yeung if she feels that Professor Wong is interfering with her freedom of academic research.

- Wong Wai-kwok is being accused of:
(1) supporting Occupy Language Centre by the foul-mouthed students
(2) supporting the proposed student strike
(3) promoting Occupy Central in classrooms
(4) linking up with pro-Taiwan independence organizations
(5) promoting open discussions of Hong Kong independence on university campus

This is a violation of Wong Wai-kwok's freedom of academic research as well as his personal freedom of expression.

(Ming Pao) February 26, 2018.

Hong Kong Baptist University Department of Government and International Studies assistant professor and Hong Kong Baptist University Faculty and Staff Union chairman Benson Wong Wai-kwok has just been informed that his contract will not be renewed.

In 2016, Wong applied twice to renew his contract as an assistant professor. But the university changed the application to "associate professor" instead and then rejected him on the grounds that his research did not meet the university's requirements. However, Wong was given one-year contract extensions. This year, the university did not bring up his contract renewal as assistant professor. So he applied for "senior lecturer" instead. But yesterday the university informed him that his application was rejected and his current contract will not be renewed. His last day will be August 31.

Wong said that the outcome was "expected." As union chairman, he has dealt with various cases of union members being "bullied." Therefore the university regards him as a thorn in the side. But he said that the university imposed a new requirement this year that anyone who wants to become Senior Lecturer must be rated as "excellent" in student evaluations, thus excluding him. He does not understand why the university terminated his contract directly. He said that his case will make his colleagues fearful to speak out.

(Hong Kong Free Press) February 27, 2018.

The chair of the Hong Kong Baptist University Faculty and Staff Union has to leave his job by end of August as he has not been offered a contract extension.

Benson Wong Wai-kwok, an assistant professor at the Department of Government and International Studies, said he was not surprised by the decision since he was no friend to the management. Wong is also a member of the governing council elected by staff members.

“In the eyes of the university, I am a troublemaker,” he told HKFP. “If my fight for colleague’s benefits as the chair of the union offends the powerful, it is not only suppression, but revenge.”

Wong supported students who were suspended for protesting against a Mandarin language requirement exam at the university, before the suspensions were lifted. Wong also comments regularly on the university’s labour issues on media.

Wong had been teaching in the university since 2010. In 2016, he said that he had asked for an extension of his assistant professor role, but the university “unilaterally” changed his application to a higher-level position of associate professor, which was not approved because he did not fulfil research requirements.

He then applied for the associate professor role, as well as an extension to his assistant professor role at the same time. But Wong said only the promotion request was handled. The extension request was denied again.

Recently, Wong sought to switch roles from assistant professor to senior lecturer – a teaching job without research requirements: “I switched track because I refused to play the game of the academic factory anymore – it measures academic achievement only by English journal articles and research funding,” he told HKFP. “Even though the teaching burden would be higher, I could write in Chinese to create more local impact in society and communities.”

But on Monday, Wong was notified that the request was denied by the Faculty Review Panel. He said superiors told him that a new requirement for the senior lecturer role demanded evidence of outstanding teaching – thus he was denied.

“If the requirements were raised, they could have recommended not offering a senior lecturer role and offered a lecturer role instead. It was not considered at all – they obviously want me to go as soon as possible,” he added. Wong said he will ask for the report to understand the reasons his request was denied.

Internet comments:

- Benson Wong Wai-kwok is the Hong Kong Baptist University Faculty and Staff Union chairman who was elected by the staff members. Therefore not renewing his contract is a slap in the face for the entire academic staff, who should be rising up in anger. It is also an act of intimidation against the entire staff by punishing their elected leader who speaks out for them. Hereafter people will be fearful.

- The Hong Kong trade union movement is pathetic. If we have universal suffrage in Hong Kong, we can have trade unions that are up to American standards. According to National Review, "Timothy Canoll, president of the Air Line Pilots Association, earned more than US$775,000 last year. International Brotherhood of Boilermakers President Newton Jones came close at US$756,973, while Laborers' International Union President Terence O'Sullivan made nearly $718,000 in total compensation." Furthermore American union presidents work for their respective unions, and hence cannot be personally threatened with dismissal by any employer. So the best thing here is for the Hong Kong Baptist University Faculty and Staff Union to hire Benson Wong as their chairman the day after the current contract runs out. After all, they need someone to speak for them and Benson Wong has shown us that he is the best possible person.

- (Hong Kong Free Press) February 27, 2018. A Baptist University spokesperson told HKFP: “The University adheres to its established procedures and policies in the review of academic staff members’ performance and their re-appointment, and the focus of the review includes teaching, research and service of the staff, as well as the manpower needs and financial situation of the faculty/department. The University will not disclose details of individual staff members’ reviews and contracts out of the respect for their privacy.”

- This means that Benson Wong can say anything that he wants about this case without fear of being contradicted by the university.

- (Ming Pao) February 26, 2018. Benson Wong said that there must be a connection between the non-renewal of his contract and the photo of his two middle fingers on the HKBU Democracy Wall. But since the Office of the Privacy Commissioner for Personal Data is handling the case, Wong will not comment at this time.

- What connection is there between his contract and his two middle fingers? Are his research credentials better with or without the two middle fingers?

- Hong Kong Baptist University Department of Government and International Studies

Benson Wong Wai-kwok
Assistant Professor

B.Soc.Sci in Chinese Studies (History) Hong Kong Baptist University (1994)
M.Phil.in Social Science, Hong Kong University of Science and Technology (1996)
Ph.D. in Politics and Public Administration, University of Hong Kong (2007)

Teaching experience:
Teacher Fellow, Hong Kong Institute of Education (2005-2006)
Assistant Professor, Department of Journalism and Communication, Chu Hai College of Higher Education (2007-2008)
Part-time Lecturer, Department of Government and Public Administration, University of Macau
Assistant Professor, Department of Education Policy and Leadership, Hong Kong Institute of Education (2008-2010)

Research experience:
Postdoctoral fellow, Taiwan Foundation for Democracy, Taipei, Taiwan (2007)
Centre Research Fellow, Centre for Governance and Citizenship, Hong Kong Institute of Education

Here are the obvious problems that an evaluation committee will see:

- The normal track for a person entering university is: four year to obtain a bachelor's degree; one year to obtain a master degree; three more years to obtain a doctorate. Wong's record is 2 years to obtain a master degree and then another 11 years to obtain a doctorate. 11 years? Really? Was he dense, or did he take time off?

- To say that his research and teaching experiences before coming to HKBU is "undistinguished" is being too kind. Why did HKBU hire him with these kinds of credentials?  Is the quality in the market really so poor nowadays?

- We can compare Benson Wong's situation to a typical case:

The normal research track for a university scholar is 3-5 years as an assistant professor first. This is a probation period for the person to realize his potential which may not be obvious before as a mere student/fellow/postdoc.

At the end of the period, the person is promoted to associate professor if he/she meets the standards on research and teaching requirement.

If the person fails to meet the standards on research and teaching, the contract will not be renewed. If the person is a good teacher but poor in research, he may be offered an alternate job as lecturer in the teaching track.

As associate professor, the person will be given time to consolidate reputation in research. If the person attains international stature, he/she will be promoted to full professor with tenure (lifetime contract).

Where does Benson Wong stand? His research as assistant professor was undistinguished in his few years at Baptist University. Therefore he could not be promoted to associate professor. If he was forcibly promoted, it will tarnish the reputations of both the department and the university. The ranking of a university factors in the quality of the research of its staff.

Wong realized that his research was not strong. So he said that he wanted to continue being an assistant professor. But that would be blocking the career paths of young people who just got their doctorates. An assistant professorship is not intended for an ambitionless and talentless person to squat for several decades until retirement. If a person is not good enough as a researcher, he/she should make way for others.

Therefore, when Wong applied to become assistant professor again, his application was automatically upgraded to associate professor. This is a matter of policy. And he couldn't make the cut.

Wong said that he is willing to be demoted from assistant professor to senior lecturer for whom research is less important than teaching. A senior lecturer should excel in teaching. Wong received less than "excellent" in rating from his students. Why should Wong be made a Senior Lecturer over better teachers? Just because he is the Hong Kong Baptist University Faculty and Staff Union chairman?

- What can Benson Wong do? If he thinks that he has enough support, he can mobilize to "Occupy" the office of the HKBU president Roland Chin Tai-hong to renew Wong's contract. But that would truly be an example of rule-of-man overriding the freedom of academic studies and institutional autonomy.

Previous: The Martyrs of the Fishball Revolution - Part 13A

(Oriental Daily) February 20, 2018.

The High Court formed a jury pool of 105 citizens. About 77 of them were interviewed before a nine-person jury of 4 men and 5 women was formed.

Before the process began, Judge Anthea Pang instructed the jury that this case has been widely reported in the media with plenty of online discussion. Jury members may have heard about these matters or otherwise formed their personal opinions. But as jury members, they cannot decide on the case based upon their personal views or media reports which may be inaccurate. Instead, they must decide on this case based solely upon the evidence presented during the trial.

The judge said that the case is expected to last about 60 working days, ending around mid-May.

A number of potential jury members asked to be excused. The successful reasons included:

- a man said that he is a university professor who is scheduled to teach and the class cannot be canceled or rescheduled for the students who are all set to graduate.
- a woman said that she is the witness in another ongoing case.
- a woman said that a family member is a police officer and therefore she may not be fair in spite of the judge's instructions.
- a man said that he is a loyal supporter of Hong Kong Indigenous since 2016 and he has donated money to the organization. He said that he cannot look at this case in an unbiased manner.

Some rejected reasons included:

- a woman said that her Japan electronics company requires her to be in mainland China next month to conduct job appraisals. As the human resources manager, she is the only person qualified to do so. The judge said that he believes that the company can find someone else to perform those duties.
- a woman said that she is the secretary for a company that is about to be listed in the stock market. The judge said that her company must be large enough in order to get listed.

However, the defense lawyers exercised their right to recuse these two persons.

(Oriental Daily) February 21, 2018.

The prosecutor Eric Kwok Tung-ming SC said that at about 8pm on February 8, 2016, a Food and Environment Hygiene team of inspectors was enforcing the law on Portland Street, Mong Kok district. They did not expel anyone or issue any summons. At the time, there were vendors in the backlane behind the Shui Hing Mahjong School and people were gathering on Portland Street and Shantung Street. Vehicular traffic continued to flow.

At some time after 8pm, the man Ray Wong Toi-yeung wearing a blue Hong Kong Indigenous windbreaker spoke to the vendors, as recorded on video. At around 9pm, vendors began to push their carts out from Nelson Street with persons in the blue Hong Kong Indigenous following them. There was some pushing. At around 10pm, traffic was blocked on Portland Street near Nelson Street.

The prosecutor showed the video segments of traffic situation taken by the Food and Environmental Hygiene Department from high above. At first, there were no carts on the street. Then a cart carrying stinking tofu appeared, followed by another. When the FEHD inspectors tried to enforce the law, the men in blue windbreakers appeared and surrounded the inspectors. A taxi surrounded by people and unable to move.

The prosecutor said that police PTU officers attempted to persuade the people to let the taxi pass. But Ray Wong stood on the top of the van and issued calls to the people with a megaphone. The situation began to go out of control, with some people charging at the police.

At around 10pm, some people heeded Ray Wong's orders and let the taxi reverse itself out of the site. Ray Wong continued to tell the crowd to impede the progress of the police. People began to move objects onto the roadway in Shantung Street and Nelson Street.

Another video showed the situation outside the SaSa shop outside Langham Place at 9pm. People wearing the blue Hong Kong Indigenous windbreakers raced towards the FEHD inspectors. A vendor pushed his stinky tofu cart at the FEHD inspectors who tried to avoid him.

(Oriental Daily) February 21, 2018.

The prosecutor showed a video taken at around 1020pm. Ray Wong was standing on top of an electricity box. He used his megaphone to tell the crowd to let the taxi leave, but he also called on the crowd to surround the police. Some people chanted "Evil cops!" But there was also a man who was telling the crowd to leave: "You leave, because business will be great if you leave" and "Leave, because you are not Andy Lau."

After the taxi left, the police moved a platform in to tell the crowd to disperse. People began to throw objects at the police. It was about midnight.

The prosecutor retreated in the direction of Shantung Street. The crowd continued to throw objects at them. The police used pepper spray. The police stood off against the crowd at Portland Street and Shantung Street. Ray Wong repeatedly used his megaphone to persuade the crowd to charge at the police. He encouraged them to throw objects at the police.

The prosecutor played the relevant video. At around 1147pm, the police attempted to bring a platform in, but the crowd blocked them. A female police officer called out: "Do not charge at the police line!" Ray Wong climbed on the roof of a parked van and used his megaphone to accuse the police of pushing citizens down on the ground. The crowd continued to push forwad.

The prosecutor pointed out that someone stuck his head out from the inside of the parked van. That person is defendant #1 Edward Leung Tin-kei. At around 1152pm, the police began to retreat. Ray Wong told the police to retreat and "to stop charging at the citizens." The video showed that at around midnight, people were throwing plastic bottles and other objects at the police at the corner of Portland Street and Shantung Street.

The prosecutor said that at around 1am on February 9, someone began to move shields and helmets into the van on top of which Ray Wong was standing. The police sent someone to talk to Wong in order to restore order. But Wong refused to cooperate. Ray Wong and Edward Leung used megaphones to provoke the crowd. The video shown in court has Edward Leung saying: "If you are going to be chased away by these public security/city management people, then  you are not Hongkongers. If you are Hongkongers, you will stay here to defend our culture and our city ... their salaries are paid with taxes from the people of Hong Kong. They should be serving us. If you don't want to obey the public security/city management, you stay around. We the Hong Kong Indigenous will stay here."

(Oriental Daily) February 21, 2018.

The prosecutor said that the crowd was not merely pushing and shoving the police. Instead they were holding shields and rods and cursing out the police with foul language. Ray Wong and Edward Leung used their megaphones to incite the crowd to charge at the police. On the order of Ray Wong, people stabbed at the police with their rods and threw objects. The police took action and pushed the crowd back up Portland Street towards Argyle. The time was almost 2am.

The prosecutor showed video segments taken by the police. At around 130am, people holding shields and rods showed up. Some people were throwing objects at the police. The police issued the so-called "334" order, wherein they issued an order to disperse, then another order three minutes later to disperse or else action will be taken in 4 minutes' time. They also told a man wearing glasses, blue Hong Kong Indigenous windbreaker and surgical mask to stop inciting the crowd. The man said: "We are holding an election campaign rally." The police asked him not to incite the crowd. The man used his megaphone to respond: "We are not inciting anything. We are holding an election rally. The Public Safety Ordinance permits us to do this. Fuck your mother!" The prosecutor said that the man was defendant #1 Edward Leung Tin-kei.

Another man then said: "If you want to play games, then we Hongkongers and Hong Kong Indigenous will play alone with you." The prosecutor said that this man was Ray Wong Toi-yeung. This man also said that if the police have the ability, they can arrest everybody.

The prosecutor asked the jury: "You can all see that if Leung and Wong were holding an election rally, would they be telling the police to arrest everybody if they can." The prosecutor asked the jury to consider whether the words of the two were matched by their actions.

(SCMP) February 23, 2018.

As Hong Kong prosecutors wrapped up their opening statement for a high-profile riot trial on Thursday, their allegations against five men – including one well-known pro-independence activist – gave a vivid picture of the violent unrest that unfolded in Mong Kok two years ago.

While the city celebrated the Lunar New Year, a crowd clashed with police on February 8, 2016, and the mayhem stretched into the night, only ending the next morning and obstructing Argyle Street, Fa Yuen Street, Portland Street, and Shan Tung Street in the process.

Prosecutors accused Edward Leung Tin-kei, formerly of the pro-independence Hong Kong Indigenous group, together with his colleague Ray Wong Toi-yeung, of inciting a sizeable crowd at Portland Street. Wong is not a defendant in this case.

Instead, Leung and four others are facing a host of charges related to the incident, which spilled over to other streets, with bricks, rubbish bins and glass bottles being launched as missiles to target police officers. 

Some streets were also set on fire, the prosecutors said. 

Here are their detailed allegations against each defendant:

Edward Leung Tin-kei

Charges: Leung denied two counts of rioting and one of inciting others to riot. He admitted to one count of assaulting a police officer.

Allegations: In the early hours of the stand-off at Portland Street, Leung allegedly incited the crowd using a megaphone. As police intended to clear the street, he told the large crowd that they were not Hongkongers if they found it acceptable that officers from “public security” and the “urban management force” – two security departments from the mainland – could remove them from the streets whenever they wanted to. “If you are a Hongkonger, let’s protect our city and our culture,” Leung told them.

Prosecutor Eric Kwok Tung-ming SC argued that Leung committed the incitement charge in a joint enterprise with Wong, the men “complementing each other” when they provoked the crowd that night. The prosecutor also played a video that he said showed Leung being part of a group to hurl a rubbish bin in the direction of police officers on Argyle Street. He then assaulted a police officer. Another officer had to fire a warning shot into the sky.

Lee Nok-man

Charges: Lee denied one count of rioting.

Allegations: Lee, clad in black hoodie and a surgical mask, hurled verbal abuse at police officers during the stand-off at Portland Street. Kwok described his speeches as “outlandish”. When Wong incited the crowd, the prosecutor added, Lee responded positively. Lee was arrested during the incident.

Lo Kin-man

Charges: Lo denied one count of rioting.

Allegations: Nicknamed “Bright”, Lo wore a black cap on the night and wrapped a piece of black cloth around his mouth. During the stand-off at Portland Street, he threw objects in the direction of police on more than 10 occasions, the prosecutor said. As he returned to the same street later that night, he was captured on news footage picking up objects from the floor to throw at police officers.

Lam Ngo-hin

Charges: Lam denied one count of rioting and one count of taking part in an unlawful assembly.

Allegations: The prosecutor said police officers recognised Lam because of the “outstanding” outfit he wore on the night – a pair of grey pants that had a pattern of sea waves. During the stand-off at Portland Street, Kwok said, Lam tried to obstruct police officers when they attempted to bring in a movable stand to broadcast their messages more effectively and urge the crowd to leave. The man was also seen talking to people from Wong and Leung’s group, Hong Kong Indigenous, as he stood at the front of the crowd, Kwok said.

Lam was arrested on March 4, a month after the riot. A search of his home turned up the pants and cap he wore on the night, the prosecutor said.

Lam Lun-hing

Charges: Lam denied three counts of rioting.

Allegations: Lam’s first appearance was during the stand-off at Portland Street as caught on camera, according to Kwok. He was later captured throwing objects on Argyle Street, and later, bricks at Shan Tung Street, the prosecutor said. During a later stand-off at Fa Yuen Street after sunrise, Lam was spotted hitting a road sign pole with a brick, Kwok said.

He was not immediately taken into custody but was arrested a month later on the same day when Lam Ngo-hin was arrested. A staff member from the government's Office for Film, Newspaper and Article Administration identified him from the news and called the police. Kwok said he had made certain admissions during interviews with the police.

(SCMP) February 22, 2018.

Chaotic scenes of hurled bricks, unarmed policemen being attacked and a warning gun shot fired into the sky were relived on Thursday, as prosecutors recounted the mayhem of the Mong Kok riot two years ago.

At first,rioters punched and kicked police officers and threw rubbish bins and large crates at them, Eric Kwok Tung-ming SC told the High Court on the second day of his opening remarks. But the situation deteriorated further in the early hours of February 9, 2016, according to videos played in court, as rioters who had dispersed down a side street wielded bamboo sticks and hurled bricks at the officers.

Another video showed streets on fire, while a third, shot from the perspective of police, captured someone saying “defeat these rioters”. “I would call it a frantic attack against unequipped officers,” Kwok said.

Prosecutors alleged the riot began on the night of February 8 and carried on into the next day, covering Portland Street, Shantung Street, Argyle Street and Fa Yuen Street.

Kwok continued to lay down allegations on Thursday, a day after he accused Leung and fellow activist Ray Wong Toi-yeung – who is not a defendant in this trial – of inciting the crowd at Portland Street just before 2am on February 9. He told a panel of nine jurors that they would be presented with injury reports on 13 police officers.

While unequipped officers battled rioters on Argyle Street, others with helmets and shields tackled violence on the neighbouring Portland Street, Kwok said.

A news clip from the scene at 2am showed about six traffic officers being attacked by a crowd on Argyle Street. One officer fell on the ground while the attack on him continued. Leung was captured launching a rubbish bin into the air before he went on to attack a police officer with a wooden board. He did not dispute his presence on the night, Kwok said. Another officer was shown firing a shot into the sky before pointing his gun at the crowd on Argyle Street.

The crowd moved to Nathan Road, a major thoroughfare, while police officers tried to force them onto the smaller Shantung Street nearby, Kwok said. From there, the crowd gathered further weaponry in the form of bamboo sticks and bricks as the riot continued.

The flying bricks and jabbing with sticks took place at 4am, as captured in other videos. Kwok said one of the clips was shaky, as the officer who filmed the incident had to dodge about for his safety. The unrest was still continuing at 6am as the protesters and police officers were locked in a stand-off on Soy Street, and were separated by a burning rubbish bin. The noise of the protesters hitting metal fences with bricks was caught on camera. The protesters hurled bricks at the police again when the officers rushed towards them.

Kwok told the jury that after viewing all the evidence, it would “not be difficult” for them to conclude that riots and an illegal assembly took place that night.

(SCMP) February 23, 2018.

A high-profile riot trial involving a prominent Hong Kong pro-independence activist was temporarily disrupted on Friday, after someone claiming to be a mainland tourist took photos from the public gallery while court was in session. Photography is prohibited in all Hong Kong court buildings and so is publication of such photos. There are signs saying so in the court rooms. Any breach will result in a fine of HK$250 according to the Summary Offences Ordinance. But the man took seven or eight photos, and a short video, with his phone camera pointed in the direction of the jury. He then circulated at least one photo on popular Chinese social media app, WeChat, the High Court heard.

During the proceedings on the fifth floor of the court building, a witness named Miss Chan saw a man in a red windbreaker sitting next to her take out his phone to photograph the courtroom. “He was talking to others on WeChat and has sent the photo,” she said, when the judge invited her to recount what she saw.

The court bailiffs were approached for help and when they questioned the man, they did not take a clear look at the contents of the photos. Neither did they ask him for further details when he claimed he was a tourist from the mainland.

The situation brought proceedings to a stop as the court convened a special session to decide what to do to avoid any possible prejudicial effects on the case.

The bailiff officers, when called to give their account, said they only knew the man had taken about seven or eight pictures and a short video, and these were subsequently deleted. The officers said they had warned him not to take pictures again, but did not verify his tourist status before letting him go.

Madam Justice Anthea Pang Po-kam said it appeared to be an incident caused by curiosity. But she raised concerns that the photos might later resurface on social media. She decided to inform the nine jurors, and allowed the media to report the incident. “It should be someone who is not familiar with the Hong Kong judiciary to have made [this] careless mistake.” Pang said the man also took a picture of the court before the jury entered the room. “I do not think it is targeting the jury,” she told them, asking them not to be worried

In response to queries from the Post, a judiciary spokesman said the courts had referred the matter to the police. He did not say if there was a protocol for bailiff officers to follow, and refused to comment on whether the protocol – if it existed – had been fully followed.

When the trial resumed after the drama, hawker control officers recalled how people teamed up with street vendors to clash with them during the incident. Lai Yau-yu said it was his day off on February 8, but he went to the scene after receiving messages from police officers telling him that members of Hong Kong Indigenous – a localist group that Leung was then part of – would be there. Assistant hawker control officer Chan Cheuk-bun said that shortly after 9pm, he saw four or five people wearing blue T-shirts bearing the words “Hong Kong Indigenous”. They put on masks at a back alley around Portland Street. He then heard someone urge street hawkers to move to the main road, before onlookers began to hurl verbal abuse at his colleagues. As the crowd later swelled, Cheung Man-ngai, chief hawker control officer, said he saw his colleagues being surrounded by people. A vendor, accompanied by others in blue t-shirts, charged at him with the mobile hawker stall. Cheung later clarified that the street cart did not hit him.

(Oriental Daily) February 23, 2018.

Food and Environmental Hygiene Department senior inspector Lai Yau-yu was the first witness for the prosecution. Lai testified that he was off duty that night. But at around 8pm, he went down to Portland Street/Shantung Street to visit his colleagues who were on duty. In the backlane behind Shui Hing Mahjong School, a number of cooked food vendors were set up. Due to lack of manpower, the Department tolerated these vendors as long as they did not obstruct vehicular traffic on the main streets.

Lai said that there were no vendors on Portland Street at first. At around 940pm, he noticed 8 to 10 men wearing the blue Hong Kong Indigenous jackets going into the backlane behind the Shui Hing Mahjong School. Shortly afterwards, several vendors pushed their carts out onto Portland Street, accompanied by the Hong Kong Indigenous men. The surveillance video in the backlane showed Ray Wong and other persons in the blue Hong Kong Indigenous windbreakers enter the backlane and then the vendors came out on the main street with their carts.

Lai followed the vendors down Portland Street to the corner with Nelson Street. There were more than 100 people gathered there. Some of them were cursing out the FEHD workers. One FEHD was injured and had to be taken away by an ambulance. Lai was concerned about his colleagues, so he called the command center to ask for the FEHD workers to be withdrawn.

During cross-examination, Lai said that the FEDH workers were harassed during the Lunar New Year of 2015. In 2015, the FEDH met with the Hong Kong Police who told them that Hong Kong Indigenous people may be making trouble in Sham Shui Po and Mong Kok districts on Lunar New Year's Day. So even though Lai was off duty, he went down to Portland Street to see what was going on.

Lai admitted that the FEHD did not announced its policy on cooked food vending in the back lanes. He said that the FEHD has an order that unlicensed vendors who block the main streets will be issued summons.

(Oriental Daily) February 23, 2018.

FEHD chief hawker control officer Cheung Man-ngai testified that he saw about 200 people on Portland Street between Nelson Street and Shantung Street at around 925pm. He called two teams of FEHD workers to stand by. At 942pm, several masked Hong Kong Indigenous members in blue jackets accompanied the vendors to the space outside SaSa on Nelson Street. One vendor selling stinky tofu pushed his cart which has boiling hot oil against the uniformed FEHD workers. The action lasted about 20 seconds.

At 945pm, he received news that FEHD workers have been shoved, pushed and had their uniform caps seized. A FEHD worker reported an injury on his left hand. Cheung called 999 for police held. At 952pm, he received orders to gather the FEHD workers outside the MTR station exit on Nelson Street to get ready to leave. At 10pm, the injured FEHD worker was taken to Kwong Wah Hospital by ambulance. Cheung returned to his office. Cheung said that no FEHD workers issued any verbal warnings or written summons or arrested anybody that night. The FEHD did not chase away the vendors. The stinky tofu vendor who rammed the cart against the FEHD workers was later arrested by the police.

A video taken by FEHD was shown in court. The vendor carts were pushed down Portland Street in the direction of Nelson Street, with the Hong Kong Indigenous members in tow. Some people told the FEHD workers to leave and "Let them make a living on Lunar New Year's day!"

FEHD assistant hawker control officer Chan Cheuk-bun testified that he was ordered at 9pm to patrol Portland Street-Shantung Street in plainclothes. He saw about 15 vendors carts in the backland off Portland Street. About 15 minutes later, the man in the blue Hong Kong Indigenous jacket went into the backlane with more than 10 other persons. He heard people yell: "Let's go! Move them out!" Then the vendors pushed their carts in the direction of Nelson Street down Portland Street. Chan notified his colleagues.

The superiors ordered the FEHD workers to retreat. Chan was asked to stay to continue to observe. Chan said people cursing out the uniformed FEHD workers still at the scene. By that time, the cooked food vendors were all over Portland Street. Traffic policemen came to help a taxi which was trapped, but the Hong Kong Indigenous people cursed them out. About 15 minutes later, the taxi backed up and left.

(Oriental Daily) February 28, 2018.

Food and Environmental Hygiene Department hawker management chief Lau Hong-ying testified that he was on duty in Mong Kok on the day of the incident. He said that he did not chase away, issue tickets to or arrest any hawker that day.

At 943pm, Lau heard on walkie-talkie from colleagues seeking help at the SaSa shop. When he got there, he saw this colleagues being surrounded by about 20 people who were cursing in foul language. Some of these people wore blue hooded jackets. He went up to ask these people to calm down. But these people were out of control and pushed him up against the wall. Someone swiped his uniform cap and grabbed his surgical mask. Someone even hit him by hand and kicked him on the right foot. It was chaotic. Lau used his hands to fend off the blows. His left index finger was snapped back and injured. Eventually he got help to leave. He went back to Exit E1 of the Mong Kok MTR station and reported to his superior Cheung Man-ai. Cheung decided to summon an ambulance to take Lau to the hospital.

During cross-examination, Lau added that he went into the crowd because he wanted to help his colleagues to leave. But he was not successful. He said that he had no idea what happened and he did not hear anyone say "Not letting people make a living on the first three days of the Lunar New Year" and "Go away." He remembered that someone grabbed his surgical mask.

The defense played a video that showed Lau still wearing a surgical mask after he got away from the crowd. "Do you wear two surgical masks?" Lau said that someone grabbed his mask but did not remove it. He sustained injuries on his face. The defense said that the video did not show Lau being in a state of anxiety. Lau demurred and said that he was actually very "worried."

(Oriental Daily) February 28, 2018.

Food and Environmental Hygiene Department hawker management senior director Hau Ying-cheung testified in the afternoon. Hau said that there were no hawkers on Portland Street around 7pm. At 943pm, about 60 to 70 people gathered at the intersection of Portland Street and Nelson Street, and the hawkers began to come out. He told his colleague Lam Tsz-leung to record the situation with a video-camera. There were five men wearing blue jackets and surgical masks in the crowd.

Hau recalled that one hawker pushed a cart carrying boiling hot oil down the street, saying "Make way! Make way!" in accented Cantonese. This person shoved the cart at Lam Tsz-leung and himself. They were forced to retreat. When the person saw them retreat, he continued to push the cart at them. A female FEHD colleague Bao Kwun-yin took over Lam's video-camera and continued to film.

Eventually the three of them took shelter behind a street sign post. The hawker stopped. At 953pm, the three received the order to retreat.

Hau said that they did not chase away or issue summons to any hawker.

- (SocREC video) FEHD inspectors forced to leave.

(Oriental Daily) March 1, 2018.

Former FEHD hawker management director Yuen Shu-tong testified that he received an order from his superior at 910pm to go in plainclothes with a video-camera to take film at the intersection of Portland Street and Nelson Street. Later his superior to go to the third floor of Langham Place and film Portland Street from above. When the taxi got blocked, he went back downstairs to film until 11pm.

A number of videos taken by Yuen were shown in court. At first, traffic was smooth. After 940pm, hawkers began to appear on the roadway.

When the video reached 950pm, the prosecutor asked Yuen if traffic was not as smooth because people were present on the roadway. Yuen said: "There is a red traffic light, so the cars stopped! When people walk against the light, the cars will obviously be slowed down." He counter-questioned the prosecutor: "Do you have a driver's license? Do you drive a car?" He said: "Someone was walking against the light. Do you think everybody obeys the rule?" The prosecutor showed more videos, and Yuen confirmed that the cars could not move forward unless they got help. Eventually there were so many people on the roadway that one taxi was trapped and could not proceed.

The video showed that the taxi had to reverse itself in order to leave. The prosecutor said that the taxi had to go against traffic. Yuen disagreed and said that this was not going against traffic. However, Yuen also confirmed that this was a one-way street and that the taxi existed using a reverse gear.

Yuen said that he continued to film the hawkers until 11pm and then he returned to his office to work. Yuen said that he is sometimes asked to carry out his duties in plainclothes. He normally filmed in the street. He has no idea why his superior wanted him to film from above.

(Wen Wei Po) March 1, 2018.

Mong Kong district deputy commander senior superintendent Steven Tait testified that he was on duty in plainclothes at 915pm at the intersection of Portland Street and Nelson Street. About 100 persons were represent, including 10 persons in blue jackets.

About half an hour later, eight to nine young men led the vendors to push their carts on the roadway. Some people surrounded the FEHD inspectors. About 50 of them yelled and screened. A police chief inspector and a senior superintendent tried to protect the FEHD workers.

After the FEDH workers left, about 200 demonstrators got on Portland Street and obstructed traffic. A taxi came by and the crowd blocked its path. A senior superintendent told Tait that someone had called the police already. Traffic police officers and Police Tactical Unit (PTU) members arrived. The traffic police tried to get in, but the crowd yelled at them. Three PTU officers tried to talk to the crowd who yelled back at them.

Another superintendent Mok Hing-wing arrived with more than a dozen PTU officers. Tait debriefed Mok about the situation. Mok instructed a female police officer to use a megaphone to ask the crowd to help the trapped taxi. After about 10 minutes, the crowd led the police approach. A traffic police sergeant helped the taxi to back up and leave.

Tait said that the PTU officers set up a line along Argyle Street near Langham Place. Tait and Mok discussed the presence of a large group of people. Since there was no scheduled mass assembly, the police decided to use megaphones to ask the crowd to move back onto the sidewalks. The police brought out a tall platform so that the crowd can see who was speaking with the megaphone.

The prosecutor asked Tait about Ray Wong's speech. Tait said that he had see Wong many times before. Tait said that he did not understand what Wong was saying, but he felt that the crowd became more excited and violent after Wong's speech.

(Oriental Daily) March 2, 2018.

Steven Tait continued to testify today. At around 1145pm, the PTU moved a platform into Portland Street. The crowd got angry and began to holler. They threw bottles at the police and they charged at the police line. Ray Wong used a megaphone to yell. The police used pepper spray and batons. Tait walked in between them and said "Stop! Stop!" in Cantonese. The crowd backed up and became more calm.

Since the PTU were not equipped at the time, Tait directed the commander to bring helmets and shields to the scene. Tait walked towards Shantung Street where the police line also retreated to. Two more PTU squads arrived. But since the police also had to cope with other Lunar New Year activities elsewhere, there were not many officers available. The newly arrived PTU officers had helmets and round shields. The sight of them infuriated the crowd which threw more bottles at them.

Tait said that about 500 people were gathered before the police line. Tait and the commander conferred and concluded that the crowd was obviously violent. So they decided to continue issuing warnings. Tait saw that there were another 70 to 100 people gathered behind the police line on Shantung Street, so that might be another front. At 1pm, that other crowd dispersed. But there were 600 in front of the police line. The crowd threw objects (including ceramic flower pots and plastic bottles) at the police.

At 130pm, Tait was standing three meters behind the platform. There was a television cameraman in front of him and a citizen next to him. A piece of cement 18 inches long, 6 inches deep and 2 inches wide flew over from the crowd and hit the citizen next to him. The victim fell down motionless on the ground. Tait thought that the man had been killed. When the police came to take the man away, Tait saw his legs still moving. So the man was still alive. Then Tait heard someone say "3! 2! 1!" and he saw the crowd charge at the police line, hitting the police with rods and throwing bottles. At the time, the PTU team were issued long shields. The commander ordered the police to push towards Argyle Street.

(Oriental Daily) March 2, 2018.

At the time, the crowd was gathered on Portland Street. Based upon Tait's experience, pushing the crowd towards Argyle Street would make them less confident and hence disperse. The police began to advance at 130pm, and the crowd began to disperse.

At 205pm, Tai heart two POP sounds which sounded like gunfire. He learned later that a traffic policeman had fired twice into the air after being attacked. Tait said that this was a serious development and the PTU supervisor asked his team to find out what was going on. The crowd was also curious and they went to Argyle Street too.

When Tait got there, he saw the ambulance take away the injured traffic policeman. Tait ordered his officers to investigate and search for the bullets. Tait saw that there were barriers constructed with wooden pallets and garbage cans on Argyle Street near Shanghai Street. So he and other police officers removed. Later he saw wooden pallets and garbage bins on fire near Fife Street. There were about 15 masked young persons near the fire, but he did not see the person(s) who set off the fire.

At 230pm, Tait returned to Argyle Street. He learned that a crowd was pushing south from Citibank to block the vehicular traffic lanes on Nathan Road. So he and the other police officers pushed south along Nathan Road towards Dundas Street. Some demonstrators threw red bricks at them from about 30 meters away. There were about 40 to 50 bricks on the ground. Tait arrived at Dundas Street at 330pm, and spoke to the PTU commander about their plans.

30 minutes later, Tait received a call for help from police officers at the intersection of Nathan Road and Shantung Street. He rushed over and found 30 to 40 demonstrators throwing bricks from 40 meters away at police officers near Shantung Street and Sai Yeung Choi Street South. About 6 to 7 bricks came flying and hit the police officers on the feet. He led his police officers north while the demonstrators. The PTU commander was hit on the shoulder.

Tait saw several police officers form a defense line but they were facing the wrong direction. Therefore they were not aware of the approaching demonstrators. Tait was concerned about them and so he led his police officers back. One young man threw a brick at a policeman next to him. Fortunately this policeman tripped and fell down. The brick missed. Tait tried to apprehend the young man but failed. But Tait arrested another demonstrator. Shortly afterwards the Special Tactical Squad arrived and took over. Tait was back at the police station at 930am.

(Oriental Daily) February 2, 2018.

During cross-examination, Steven Tai said that he had met with FEHD workers before Lunar New Year's Day. He said that the police would support the FEHD in enforcing law and order. But he said that the hawkers have cooking utensils (such as stoves) which will pose danger to the police as well as the public. So he was not inclined to enforcing the law. But he did not tell FEHD to withdraw if harassed.

On that day, Tait deployed 16 uniformed officers to patrol the streets, with another 16 PTU officers roaming. They were not all on Portland Street. Tait said that the crowd was noisy but peaceful on Portland Street between 9pm and 10pm, and he did not ask for reinforcement when FEHD workers were surrounded. Some people blocked a taxi from leaving and another 200 people were gathered outside the cinema in Langham Place. But peace returned. He did not consider the crowd to be violent. There was no urgency to force the crowd to get back on the sidewalk. Tait said that he had about 50 police officers under his command at the time.

Tait said that the crowd got excited after Ray Wong addressed them with a megaphone at around 11pm. But peace returned against. At 1145pm, Tait thought that it was time to tell the people to get back on the sidewalk. So he ordered the platform brought into Portland Street. The defense asked Tait whether he considered this action might provoke the crowd. Tait said that there was a chance, but the police cannot decide how people respond. Police training requires them to take risks.

Tait said that the police is obliged to inform the crowd about the decision. In the past, certain people could not be prosecuted because the police did not inform them about what was going to happen next. So Tait had no intention of removing the platform even if the crowd became more violent. Tait said that he needed six to seven squads of PTU officers to deal with this number of demonstrators.

Tait admitted that he did not realize that his initial judgment that the crowd was "noisy but peaceful" was wrong until the crowd started to charge at the platform. He said that it was unusual for people to throw glass bottles. The defense said that Tait is characterizing the crowd as demonstrators or protestors. Does Tait know what they were protesting about? Tait said that he guessed that they were protecting the law enforcement by the FEHD workers. Later on he found out that they were protesting against the police and the government.

(Oriental Daily) March 5, 2018.

Did Steven Tait think that forcing the crowd towards Argyle Street would cause a traffic jam? Tait explained that he considered it, but he thought that the crowd would lose confidence and disperse. Tait said that he did not send a squad of police officers to Argyle Street because he did not want to herd the crowd in the direction of a small group of police officers. He was not aware that there was a small group of traffic police officers there. He was surprised afterwards. Tait said that he did not think that the crowd would attack anyone. He admitted that he was wrong and he underestimated the level of violence of the crowd.

The defense asked Tait whether the police had sufficient resources to deal with the crowd after they split up. Tait said that he thought he had it, but what happened afterwards was very different from what just took place on Portland Street. Tait never imagined that it would happen.

Tait said that the police received information from the Internet that hawkers and their supporters will show up in Mong Kok or Sham Shui Po. Tait defined that there was pre-arrangement. He knew that there were plainclothes police officers posted on building roofs. His primary concern was that more than 50 people were gathered and that a taxi was trapped. He thought that this was where he should be enforcing the law. He said that nobody told him that more than 50 people were gathered for a common purpose, which would make it an unlawful gathering.

Did Tait consider withdrawing the police after the taxi was freed? Tait said no. By 130am, the crowd had increased to 600 who were charging the police line and throwing objects. Therefore he decided on clearance. The police had the power to arrest these lawbreakers. He did not tell the police officers what the charges were, but he confirmed that it was an unlawful gathering.

Tait said that he never imagined that the level of violence would be so severe. In his entire career with the Hong Kong Police, he had never seen anything as violent as this.

(Oriental Daily) March 5, 2018.

In the afternoon, Police Tactical Unit Division B commander Mok Hing-wing testified in court. Mok said that he had dinner with this family that night. At about 1010pm, he went down to Portand Street in civilian clothes. At the time, a taxi was surrounded by about 80 people. His uniformed colleagues informed Mok that there was a traffic accident and the traffic police were being obstructed. Mok sent the PTU members to assist but they were booed.

Mok said that he recognized Ray Wong who made calls to the crowd which increased to 200 people. Mok reckoned that the crowd was obstructing traffic and participating in an unlawful gathering. After conferring with other senior police offices at the scene, they decided to ask the crowd to leave.

The prosecutor showed videos taken between 1020pm and 1035pm when the taxi was still there. Mok identified Ray Wong as speaking to the crowd and defendant Leung Tin-kei also appeared.

Mok said that the police made repeated appeals for the crowd to leave without success. Meanwhile Ray Wong appeared to be able to command the crowd. When Wong told the crowd let the taxi leave, the crowd spread to both sides to make way. Apart from hollering in excitement, the crowd also tossed obscene invectives at the police.

(Oriental Daily) March 6, 2018.

The prosecution played videos that showed that at around 10pm, Ray Wong called the crowd to let the trapped taxi leave. He told people that about 20 police officers are coming down Shantung street. He said: "Put your masks back on!" But someone else said: "Shut up! Exploiter! There is no command post here. Are you the big boss? Who let you be the big boss? Who let you do the talking?"

Mok said that at around 11pm, he ordered his colleagues to push the platform from Shantung Street into Portland Street so that the police can call on people to get back on the sidewalks. But when the platform entered Portland Street, the crowd reacted strongly. Some people clashed with the police while others threw objects at the police. The police showed warning banners, applied pepper spray and swung batons. Mok said that the police only had handcuffs, pepper spray and batons on them. They did not have shields or helmets.

The video showed at 1147pm, the police moved the platform outside the cinema in Langham Place. At the time, defendant Edward Leung Tin-kei used his back to impede the progress. There were clashes. Ray Wong climbed on the roof of his van and condemned the police for charging in and pushing citizens onto the ground. At the time, Leung was close to the van.

Mok said that the situation was chaotic. The crowd threw filled water bottles and trash bins at the police. At around 12 midnight, Mok stood on the platform and called the crowd not to charge the police line. At the same time, he ordered his colleagues to retreat to the intersection of Shantung Street and Portland Street to regroup. Shortly afterwards, the police line pushed in the direction of Argyle Street. He said that the police had to take action to stop the violent action.

At around 12 midnight, Mok ordered the PTU squad A and the Kowloon East Emergency Unit to take over. These were equipped with helmets and round shields. He also ordered 1.7-meter-tall long shields to be brought in from the Shek Kip Mei police headquarters.

At 1230am, he ordered his colleagues to push the crowds back onto the sidewalks. He told his colleagues to record what was happening for use in future investigations and prosecutions.

(Oriental Daily) March 6, 2018.

PTU commander Mok Hing-wing continued to testify. He said that the videos showed that someone was transporting helmets and other materials to Ray Wong's van between 12:50am and 1:00am. Some people immediately put on the helmets. Ray Wong used his megaphone to tell the crowd to stay behind and he called the FEHD and Police as "city managers" and "public security."

In the video, Wong said: "Tonight, we cannot back off. If we don't show the power of the people of Hong Kong, the Hong Kong Communist government will continue to oppress our lieves" and "If you want to play, we the Hong Kong Indigenous will give you a good game."

Mok said that at 130am, he ordered superintendent Mak Ning-fung to issue the 334-style warning to tell the crowd to leave. The first two warnings were issued every 3 minutes and the last one after 4 minutes. The crowd booed and then tossed water bottles and even glass bottles at the police. Hong Kong Indigenous supporters warned the police to leave. At the time, these people wore blue jackets, surgical masks and goggles. At 145pm, Ray Wong called "3! 2! 1! Go!" and the crowd charged at the police line.

Mok said that when the police pushed towards Argyle Street, someone poured unidentified liquid from a metal can onto the roadway in front of the police line. He had reason to think that this was inflammable liquid, possibly kerosene. He stood on the platform and warn his colleagues to be careful. At 155pm, the police advanced down Portland Street and reached Nelson Street. Some members of the crowd charged onto Argyle Street. At 205pm, a police fired two shots into the air. Mok said that the police originally wanted to drive the crowd back onto the sidewalks. But the action has failed, and the police can only drive the crowd off in the direction of Sham Shui Po.

(Oriental Daily) March 7, 2018.

Yesterday (March 6) after the hearing ended, a juror wrote a notice to the judge about another person taking photos of the jury members. The judge immediately ordered all those who were still in the courtroom to stay. The judge also ordered the bailiffs to make sure that no one was using their mobile phones or other electronic equipment.

The juror indicated that the suspected photographer was still in the courtroom. A map was drawn showing the location of the person. The judge asked the police to enter and take the suspect away for investigation.

The prosecutor disclosed today that the police have obtained a statement from the suspect. The police checked the two mobile phones of the suspect and found no photos or videos of the courtroom. There were no records of deletions or transmissions.

Today this suspect appeared in court again. The judge ordered him to stay outside the courtroom and watched the live broadcast on the fifth floor instead.

After the lunch recess, the prosecutor said that the police have stopped their investigation due to lack of evidence. Nevertheless the judge refused to let the man return inside the courtroom.

(Wen Wei Po) March 8, 2018.

Senior Superintendent Mok Hing-wing testified that he received news that a police officer had fired shots. So he and his colleagues pushed down Portland Street towards Argyle Street to see what was going on. "Once shots were fired, it became chaotic."

To stop the riot from spreading to Yau Ma Ti, Mok and a PTU team set up a defense line on Dundas Street. The demonstrators gathered once more at Wei Fung Plaza at the intersection of Argyle Street and Nathan Road. The police pushed in the direction Wei Fung Plaza, looking to form a "sandwich" to drive the demonstrators down Sai Yeung Street South.

At around 230am, there were large numbers of people at the intersection of Argyle Street and Nathan Road. Cars on Nathan Road could not move freely. Mok said that PTU officers pushed the demonstrators back onto the sidewalks and also removed the debris on the roadway. There were more than 700 demonstrators at the scene.

The crowd came back to occupy Nathan Road again, putting trash cans and bus stop barriers onto the southbound lane on Nathan Road. They also threw hard objects at the police.

At around 330am, Mok conferred with the commander office and reached the decision to push towards Shantung Street in order to stop the rioters from heading down to Yau Ma Ti.

At around 400am, the police set up a defensive line on Shantung Street to face off the demonstrators. Suddenly the demonstrators threw a barrage of bricks against the police. The police retreated.

Mok said: "The rioters did not stop. They continued to threw bricks at the police. They threw a large number of bricks." Mok said that he was hit twice by bricks on the back of his right shoulder.

The video showed that Mok ordered the police officer to "take down the rioters." Yesterday he explained that he "wanted to disperse the crowd as quickly as possible" and that he "wanted to disperse them."

At around 600am, the police's Special Tactical Unit and other trained PTU officers finally arrived in Mong Kok to put an end to the riot.

Internet comments:

- (Ta Kung Pao) February 21, 2018.

On Valentine's Day, our reporter went to visit the Hong Kong Indigenous office in Fotan district. The letters in the mailbox (including those addressed to Ray Wong Toi-yeung have been removed and there the "Localist Foxconn" sign has been removed. The space consisting of three rooms and one hall has nothing left except for one vacuum clear. One of the rooms smelled strongly of cat odor, and was where the Localist Cat Slaves Front kept the two dozen or so stray cats. Three months ago, the Localist Cat Slaves Front asked people to adopt their stray cats.

In November, Ray Wong and Edward Leung applied to cancel the corporation registration for their Channel-i (HK) company. There is still one black cardboard paper with the words "Hard Times create Strong Men." There was also a receipt for a bank transfer of $3,780 to a HSBC account.

The office is currently offered for rent at an asking price of $18,000 per month. The real estate agent said that the previous tenant paid on time: "The renter was Ray Wong. You know, the one who skipped bail."

Hong Kong Indigenous wanted to nurture the youth organization StudentLocalism, so their online broadcast program was taken over by StudentLocalism in December. But StudentLocalism announced that they no longer have the resources of Channel-i (HK) to support them, so they are asking for donations via paypal in order to rent their own space.

- (Ta Kung Po) February 21, 2018.

In 2016, Hong Kong Indigenous explained that the riot was the result of police suppression of their election rally. Alternately, they said that they were out there to defend the rights of itinerant vendors to sell cooked food on the roadway. This year, Hong Kong Indigenous no long exists, with two leaders skipping bail and the third one jailed for assaulting a police officer and standing trial for rioting/incitement to riot charges. Out in the streets, the vendors continued to sell cooked food. This year, it was noted that they left piles of garbage around Langham Place afterwards.

The Yellow Ribbon Facebook Front Line Science/Technology Workers posted an old photo of Hong Kong Indigenous members picking up garbage and commented: "Someone wondered why Langham Place was littered this year. Why? That's because the dedicated people have been sent off to jail," implying that the streets were garbage-free in the past thanks to Hong Kong Indigenous.

Immediately, the backlash came. Sent to jail? Where the fuck is Ray Wong now? Wherever he is vacationing, it is certainly not in a Hong Kong jail. Garbage? The biggest piece of trash around is Hong Kong Indigenous, who tore up the pavement to throw bricks at the police and set fire to cars and stalls.

- (Oriental Daily) February 23, 2018.

Prior to the court session, the judge informed the lawyers on both sides that some other business has to be taken first. The judge said that the secretary has informed her that some people were screaming slogans inside the courtroom after the session on the day before yesterday. Therefore she intends to post warning notices in the lobby and wallboard. The prosecutor said that police officers had heard some men using offensive language against them.

The judge said that the courtroom is a solemn place in which people should not be screaming slogans. If this were to recur, the judge can dealt with the offenders through the Summary Offence Ordinance with instant incarceration for contempt of court. She instructed the court bailiffs to detain anyone who does the same thing again.

- In the next NGO report, Hong Kong will drop even further in the standings on human rights and rule of law because of what this judge did. On one hand, she is punishing people for exercising their freedom of speech as guaranteed under Hong Kong Basic Law Article 27. On the other hand, other people have done the same by chanting "Dog judges" and so on without being punished. So this judge is breaking precedent under common law.

Yes, this city is dying.

- In the name of FREEDOM DEMOCRACY HUMAN RIGHTS RULE OF LAW, we will march at 3pm on Sunday from Civic Plaza in Government Headquarters to the High Court. P.S. If you can't make it (and most of you can't due to other priorities), you can send money to my paypal account. The future of Hong Kong depends on your doing so!

- The large number of death threats to Hong Kong judges has given me an idea of writing an app named Death Postcard. All you have to do is to enter the name of your target, and the app will attach appropriate text such as: "Impotent dog judge"

The app will automatically retrieve a photo of the target person from the official court system or government department websites. Photos, names and other particulars (such as work/school) of the target's family will be retrieved from a Facebook search. A photo of a razor will be added into the composition. Once you give approval, a postcard will be mailed from Taiwan to your target person.

Why Taiwan? Because they have freedom of speech there and no extradition treaty with Hong Kong.

- (Oriental Daily) February 23, 2018

Yesterday at 715pm, someone found that the Goddess of Democracy statue at the Chinese University of Hong Kong had the words "Hong Kong hero Leung Tin-kei" spray-painted at the base. At the same time, similar graffiti were found at the Tai Po train station. Across the public restroom in Tai Po train station, someone had spray-painted "Hong Kong hero Leung Tin-kei: Wisdom, bravery and benevolent."

One passerby said: "I don't want to comment on what young people are thinking about." Another passerby said: "Who is Leung Tin-kei?"

- The childish calligraphy reminds me of the "King of Kowloon" Tsang Tsou Choi. But, as Karl Marx noted, "Hegel remarks somewhere that all great world-historic facts and personages appear, so to speak twice. He forgot to add: the first time as tragedy, the second time as farce."

(Hong Kong Building Departments) What are Unauthorised Building Works

What are Unauthorised Building Works (UBWs)?

(SCMP) January 22, 2018.

Buildings Department figures from the past 18 years suggest at least one in four properties has unsanctioned features. From 2000, the earliest records available, to October last year, it received 520,000 complaints about unauthorised building works in all properties (excluding village homes), or about 29,000 complaints each year. From January 2000 to October last year, the Buildings Department issued some 183,000 advisory letters asking owners to return their properties to their original state, but only 7 per cent complied. It was not until the department issued statutory orders with warnings of punishment for non-compliance – totalling 388,000 notices – that 80 per cent of owners acted.

The Buildings Department usually responds to complaints and does not conduct proactive investigations. It only follows up on the case intensively if the illegal structures are found to be a safety risk. But upon issuing a statutory order, it would also register the order with the city’s Land Registry, which is expected to lower the value of the property. Prosecution can happen if the owners fail to take action within two months of receiving a statutory order. But these do not happen often, with 40,000 cases taken to court out of 388,000 orders, and only 28,000 convictions.

Public anger over illegal structures flares up every so often, especially when famous, rich or powerful owners are involved.

The latest scandal erupted earlier this month when the department found 10 illegal extensions in adjoining houses belonging to newly-appointed justice minister Teresa Cheng Yeuk-wah and her engineer-husband Otto Poon Lok-to. Cheng said she had overlooked the structures and had not made any alterations to the three-storey house in Villa de Mer, Tuen Mun, after she bought it in 2008. But after a copy of her mortgage deed surfaced and showed no mention of any additions, critics alleged a cover-up, questioning how Cheng, a barrister and chartered engineer, could have overlooked the structures. Cheng has issued multiple apologies, most recently on Sunday, where she also admitted that “authorised persons” were examining her other properties for illegal structures and she was “following up on what needs to be done.” In Teresa Cheng’s case, the 10 structures in both houses add up to 1,800 sq ft of space and would be worth HK$35 million, based on the value of her husband’s home when he bought it in 2012.

Cheng’s fate remains to be seen but a similar scandal put an end to former number 2 official Henry Tang Ying-yen’s bid in the 2012 chief executive race, even though he was then the front-runner. The discovery of an illegal 2,300 sq ft basement – reportedly replete with a wine cellar and a Japanese bath – in his home in Kowloon Tong was believed to be the main reason for his eventual defeat in the election. Tang’s popularity nosedived after he blamed his wife Lisa Kuo Yu-chin for constructing the basement during the “low ebb” of their marriage, while a teary-eyed Kuo admitted she was guilty. Kuo was fined HK$110,000 by a court in 2013 for starting construction without permission.

Other guilty parties include lawmakers, businessmen, entertainers and two former chief executives – Donald Tsang Yam-kuen and Leung Chun-ying. Like Tang, the public scrutiny meant Tsang and Leung had to remove their illegal home additions.

(SCMP) February 11, 2018.

Hundreds of protesters took to the streets in Hong Kong on Sunday demanding that justice minister Teresa Cheng Yeuk-wah step down. The demonstrators accused Cheng of “lying” about illegal structures at her properties.

Civil Human Rights Front, which organised the march, estimated 1,000 people took part. Police put the turnout at 700. Front convenor Sammy Ip Chi-hin said the number was satisfactory as the Lunar New Year holiday was nearing. “So many people have come out to tell [Chief Executive] Carrie Lam that they do not want Teresa Cheng to be the justice secretary. Lam should fire her,” Ip said.

Cheng has been mired in controversy since assuming office early last month. She said she had been too busy so she overlooked the illegal extensions at her properties.

Internet comments:

- Before the demonstration march, Civil Human Rights Front convener Sammy Ip Chi-hin declined to provide an estimate for the number of marchers. After the demonstration march, Sammy Ip claimed that 1,000 people took part which was what he estimated. Duh!

- The Civil Human Rights Front is never ever wrong and never ever disappointed.

- I am completely for the criminalization of UBWs. I think that these rich and lawless people should be punished, especially those who hold public positions. Here are some names in addition to Teresa Cheng:

Paul Zimmerman

- (Oriental Daily with video/photos) January 30, 2018. A reader told us that Paul Zimmerman began to dismantle UBWs at his home at Ng Fai Tin, Sai Kung district right after he became the pan-democrats' candidate in the 2018 legco by-election. This reader provided many aerial photos.

According to the public records, Paul Zimmerman bought the house for $9.2 million in 2006. In 2008, the Land Registry recorded a statutory order from the Buildings Department. The owner was asked to remove or correct the UBWs within 28 days, or else further action will be taken. Nothing happened in the next ten years.

Zimmerman told us that when he purchased the house in 2006, he built a glass roof top to enhance insulation and keep the rainwater off. In 2008, he received the removal order. He considered his needs in life, and decided that he would continue this way. He did not care about the statutory order recorded at the Land Registry because he did not intend to sell his house.

Zimmerman said that he understands that the public expects more of politicians, so he decided to remove the glass roof top once he decided to enter the Legco by-election. He is arranging for a contractor to remove the other four UBWs. He apologized sincerely to the public over these UBWs.

- (Oriental Daily) February 2, 2018. Previously, Mr. Zimmerman had declared five UBWs on his roof, namely a stone bench, a kitchen cabinet, a storage shelf, glass balustrades and glass roof top. Today Building Departments inspectors came to the site and found four more UBWs.

- (Wikipedia) Paul Zimmerman is the District Councilor for Pokfulam district, Southern District Council. He lives in Sai Kung, which is far away from Pokfulam. Therefore what he does in Sai Kung does not affect Pokfulam apart from the image of a scofflaw district councilor.

- (Wikipedia) Paul Zimmerman is running in the March 11, 2018 Legislative Council by-election in the Architectural, Surveying, Planning and Landscape sector. The first strike against him is that he does not have any professional qualifications in any of architecture, surveying, planning or landscape. The second strike against him is that he has willfully and persistently shown over the past 10 years that he has no use for the building laws, so he would not be a good lawmaker representing that particular sector. The third strike (Oriental Daily January 31, 2018) against him is that his wife Janine Leung is a city planner with the Planning Department, and she must know what the relevant building laws are.

- (Oriental Daily) January 31, 2018. Pan-democrats rose up to defend Paul Zimmerman. Accountancy sector legislative councilor Kenneth Leung Kai-cheong said that people who live in standalone houses will inevitably and necessarily have UBWs on their properties. New Territories West legislator Lam Cheuk-ting admitted that his office sign was an UBW, but it was okay as long as he apologized sincerely. Information technology sector legislative councilor Charles Mok said that while he does not know how Zimmerman explained it, but he knows that Zimmerman has explained and apologized and therefore this is good enough for Mok.

- (HKG Pao) February 14, 2018. According to Headline Daily, Zimmerman admitted that he is renting a government lot on which there is a massive UWB in the form of a 7-meter high semicircular platform on which he walks the dogs. He said that the previous owner had rented the land from the government and built a concrete platform. When he moved in, he continued the lease and laid down new stone bricks. This UBW is a violation of the terms of the lease as well as being dangerous. Zimmerman said that he is willing to apologize if it turned out that he is wrong. In other words, he denies any wrongdoing at this time.

- (Oriental Daily) February 20, 2018. The Lands Department has confirmed that the 24-square-meter platform with lighting facility on the ground is constructed on government land. A letter has been sent to the owner to demand the removal of the lights within 14 days. Paul Zimmerman said that the lights have been removed. He said that he did not realize that installation of the lights constitutes illegal occupancy of public land.

- (SCMP) Paul Zimmerman is not without appeal. By Alex Lo. February 12, 2018.

Loyalists in the legislature supposedly gave the opposition a taste of their own medicine over Teresa Cheng Yeuk-wah. Using filibustering and other manoeuvres, the pro-establishment lawmakers last week scuppered an opposition plan to summon the justice secretary to Legco for another grilling over illegal structures at her luxury homes.

In reality, pan-democrats are more worried about the by-election next month, in which one of their candidates has a few long-standing issues over illegal structures at home. Dragging out the public relations disaster for Cheng and the government would only invite retaliation from the rival camp. So, in a way, rather than risking mutually assured destruction, a détente has been reached between the two camps.

Running on the opposition ticket for a functional constituency seat, urban development activist Paul Zimmerman has confessed to having the structures at his home in Sai Kung for a decade. While Cheng claimed she knew nothing about the structures because she had been too busy at work, he knew about it all along but preferred to keep them anyway. It’s a bit ironic that he is running for the Architectural, Surveying, Planning and Landscape sector, which has a lot to do with building construction, legal or otherwise.

But it’s pointless to debate which one of the two has done worse. It’s estimated one in four private homes have some illegal structures, so most of us are throwing stones in glass houses. Cheng has already survived two no-confidence motions, thanks to help from the loyalist camp. It’s a bit rich for the pan-dems to complain about “filibustering and dragging out” – their own Legco specialities – when the whole saga has become a sideshow.

The opposition pretty much has a sure-win next month with its geographical constituency candidates Edward Yiu Chung-yim for the Kowloon West seat and Au Nok-hin for Hong Kong Island. But Zimmerman is running against Tony Tse Wai-chuen, an independent former lawmaker who is trying to stage a comeback and has strong support from within the professional sector.

Zimmerman, though, is not without appeal. He is politically moderate, and is primarily focused on environmentally and people-friendly urban developments. He and his associates have often come up with sensible ideas about controversial government developments such as the Central Market and harbourfront developments. But they are usually ignored. A Legco platform will give them a stronger voice.

It would also be good to have a more racially diverse Legco.

- Paul Zimmerman is my man! He is the embodiment of the Hong Kong core value of rule-of-law.

The law prohibits UBWs. But Paul Zimmerman knows from his wife that the government won't do anything except to record the statutory order at the Land Registry. If he wants to sell the house, he will need to remove the statutory order first. But he intends to continue to live there and enjoy the pleasures of the UBWs. Therefore he ignores the statutory order. When Paul Zimmerman passes away 40 years later, his heir can remove the UBWs and sell the house. In the meantime, he will have enjoyed the UBWs for those 40 years. Everything that Paul Zimmerman does is in accordance with the law.

Life is good in Hong Kong, where we have freedom, democracy and rule-of-law.

- (Bastille Post)

In 2006, Paul Zimmerman ran for election in the Tourism subsector of the Legislative Council. He did not deal with the UBWs.

In 2007, Paul Zimmerman ran for election in the Stubbs Road Constituency of the Wan Chai District Council. He did not deal with the UBWs.

In 2008, Paul Zimmerman ran for election in the Tourism subsector of the Legislative Council. He did not deal with the UBWs.

In 2010, Paul Zimmerman ran for election in the Pokfulam Constituency of the Southern District Council. He did not deal with the UBWs.

In 2011, Paul Zimmerman ran for election in the Pokfulam Constituency of the Southern District Council. He did not deal with the UBWs.

In 2012, Paul Zimmerman ran for election in the District Council (Second) functional constituency of the Legislative Council. He did not deal with the UBWs.

In 2012, Paul Zimmerman ran for election as a National People's Congress delegate for Hong Kong. He did not deal with the UBWs.

In 2015, Paul Zimmerman ran for election in the Pokfulam Constituency of the Southern District Council. He did not deal with the UBWs.

In 2016, Paul Zimmerman ran for election in the Hong Kong Island Constituency of the Legislative Council. He did not deal with the UBWs.

In 2017, Paul Zimmerman ran for election on the Election Committee for the Chief Executive. He did not deal with the UBWs.

In 2018, Paul Zimmerman runs for election in the Architectural, Surveying, Planning & Landscape subsector of the Legislative Council. He comes out and declares that he has multiple UBW problems.

- I guess that Mr. Zimmerman thinks that the UBWs should not affect his performance as a district councilor or even as Tourism-subsector legislator. But it would seem brazen for a legislator for the Architectural, Surveying, Planning & Landscape subsector to have multiple UBWs on his site. So he is not stonewalling anymore.

The more interesting question is that if Paul Zimmerman loses this election, then will the UBWs go back up immediately so that he can enjoy his lifestyle?

- The only way to stop this kind of warped logic is to impose a daily fine of $5,000 until all the UBWs are removed  at every single home where they occur. That will put a full stop to the whole practice. Does  Legislator Zimmerman have the courage to advocate this?

- (Bastille Post)

First, the media reported that he began to dismantle the UBWs after he entered the election. Furthermore, a statutory order was entered at the Lands Department 10 years ago already. He distracted the media by volunteering that he had reported the existence of 5 UBWs to the authorities.

Next, the Buildings Department sent inspectors to his home and found that there were actually 9 UBWs. So he had underreported the number before.

Next, the media asked him about his backyard. He said that he was renting public land. A surveyor checked the database and found out that his rented land extends only 2.5 meters out and that his platform sits on public land outside that rented area. The platform used to have a balustrade surrounding it, but that was dismantled when he entered the election. So he knew that he had a problem already.

He explained that the semicircular platform was already present when he bought the house. He applied to the government for a short-term lease and then he laid down new bricks and floor lights. He said that the Lands Department came to inspect and they reached a "consensus" that the semicircular area would not be included in the short-term lease.

Anyone with commonsense would know that the Lands Department will never reach a "consensus" over UBWs. The Lands Department acknowledged that the owner had applied to rent but the application was turned down. This proves that it was public land that he did not have a lease for and that he was illegally squatting on.

Yesterday the Lands Department sent a letter to order the owner to cease and desist the unlawful occupation of public land, and to remove all the facilities within 14 days. This proves that there was never any "consensus."

He also told Apple Daily: "After receiving the letter from the Lands Department, I removed the floor lights on the platform. I have also notified the Lands Department that since I did not erect the platform, I will not dismantle it. The Lands Department has not asked him to do so."

What kind of logic is it for an owner to disavow responsibility for a UBW just because he did not personally erect it. If the UBW poses risks to public safety, then the owner has the responsibility to rectify the problem ASAP.

What kind of logic is it that when the Lands Department issues an order to cease and desist unlawful occupation of public land, it means that he does not have to dismantle his UBWs on that public land?

- (Bastille Post) Headline Daily interviewed Paul Zimmerman's neighbor Shoni who said: "Of course, the 7-meter platform would be dangerous. Paul Zimmerman can enjoy his lifestyle but he should consider the safety of others too." A domestic helper Noleal said she is concerned that the platform may collapse in heavy rains.

Claudia Mo Man-ching, Kowloon West legislative councilor

(Oriental Daily) February 2, 2018. At Mo's Repulse Bay apartment, the open garage was turned into an enclosed apartment. Eight years ago, the Building Departments inspectors came and determined that the change was inconsistent with the original plan. They advised the owner to remove the UBWs. But since the change did not involve structural modifications or pose immediate danger, they did not issue a statutory order or prosecute. The Land Registry noted that the land deed did not limit the floor area or number of car parking space, so the modification does not violate the land deed. Today the space is still an apartment and not a garage.

Mo said that the Buildings Department has affirmed that there were no UBWs there. She said that UBWs are not exactly arson or murder. She pointed out that Secretary for Justice Teresa Cheng is under fire not for UBWs, but for concealing the truth from the public.

Cheung Tat-ming, Senior Lecturer, Faculty of Law, Hong Kong University

- (Wen Wei Po with photos) January 16, 2018. Yesterday Cheung Tat-ming criticized Secretary for Justice Teresa Teng over her UBWs.

In June 2010, Cheung Tat-ming bought an apartment in Crowfields Court, Lomond Road, Kowloon City district for $4.87 million. Cheung is listed as the sole owner. In 2011, Cheung received a Buildings Department removal order for the protruding ornamental decorations over two flower beds, but has done nothing so far. In addition, Cheung's verandah was sealed by glass windows that did not appear in the architectural plan.

At first, Cheung responded to our inquiry by claiming that the removal order was carried out to the satisfaction of the Buildings Department. When asked why the Buildings Department had not canceled the statutory order at the Land Registry, Cheung stuttered that he knew that the engineering company had asked the Buildings Department to inspect the work, and Cheung did not concern himself with what happened afterwards. He did not check whether the Buildings Department canceled the statutory order or not.

As for the verandah, he said that he did not purchase the architectural plan when he bought the apartment so he is not aware of any problems. Furthermore he has not received any Buildings Department removal order, so he does not have to do anything.

Jimmy Lai, Next Media principal owner

- (Oriental Daily with photos) January 31, 2018. In 2011, it was reported that the three verandahs were enclosed by glass walls in violation of regulations. At the time, the Buildings Department said that they have sent letters to the relevant party to remove those UBWs. In 2012, the glass walls were removed and the original look was restored. In 2013, new glass walls and new glass roofs were installed. This time around, the UBWs were bigger and better.

- In the United States, when someone has to decide whether to run for elective office, they usually ask themselves whether they have an illegal alien worker problem first. In Hong Kong, when someone is or wants to be a public figure, they should ask themselves whether they have a UBW problem. The cases of Henry Tang and CY Leung showed clearly that somebody with access to the Buildings Department and Land Registry databases is funneling such information out to the media outlets to inflict maximum damage. As Claudia Mo says, UBWs are not arson or murder. So why can't these people clean up their UBWs right from the beginning? Their inability to see this and take action really casts doubts about their abilities in doing anything.

(SCMP) February 10, 2018.

At about 6.15pm on Saturday, a KMB bus, route 872, was travelling from Sha Tin racecourse towards Tai Po. The driver reportedly lost control of the vehicle as he was pulling into a turn near Tai Po Mei, causing the bus to flip over onto its side.

Police said they had received multiple calls reporting the accident at around 6pm and it was 9.30pm by the time they managed to pull survivors and bodies out of the wreckage. Many passengers, injured and in shock, were sitting by the road as paramedics provided first aid. Many had bandages wrapped around their heads and several were bleeding as they were stretchered onto waiting ambulances. The bodies of the victims were covered and laid by the roadside, waiting to be taken to the morgue.

Fifteen men and three women were confirmed dead at the scene, while 63 injured passengers were rushed to a dozen hospitals across the city. A sixteenth man was confirmed dead at a hospital later at night, taking the death toll to 19. It was Hong Kong’s deadliest bus accident in nearly 15 years, sparking a full-scale emergency operation.

As of 10.30am on Sunday, 10 men and one woman were in critical condition at Kwong Wah, Prince of Wales, Princess Margaret and Queen Elizabeth hospitals. At least 21 men were also hospitalised in serious condition and at least one woman was now in stable condition.

Some survivors claimed the bus driver was “throwing a tantrum” after being criticised by passengers for being late. “He was late for 10 minutes,” a passenger recalled of the driver. “He was grumpy because some people criticised him for being late. He then started to drive the bus like he was flying a plane.” Another passenger said: “He was driving very fast, extremely fast, even if he was driving down a slope.” “It was much faster than I normally feel on a bus,” he said. “And then it was like the tyres skidded, and the bus overturned. It was really chaotic on the bus. People fell on top of one another and got tossed around from side to side.”

One of the victims, who sat by the side of the road with his right leg bandaged, also suggested the driver had been speeding.

The driver was arrested for dangerous driving causing death and dangerous driving causing grievous bodily harm and is being detained for further enquiries.

(SCMP) February 10, 2018.

Victims of the gruesome Tai Po bus crash recalled seeing people with broken limbs inside the bus after the vehicle flipped on its side, while onlookers stood by taking videos. Amid the chaotic scenes, survivors said they crawled out through the emergency exits after they were unable to find a hammer to break through the vehicle’s windows.

“More than 15 people had died at the scene, there were broken heads, hands and legs afterwards and I heard screams,” said Lee Ho-sang, 16, the youngest passenger. “There were many people injured, but only me and my father were helping people. A lot of passengers were laying on the ground but no one was willing to help. Those who were less injured only stood by the sidewalk, taking videos of the situation.”

Internet comments:

- The case of Liu Cheuk-yi (TVB news reporter)

- (YouTube) (YouTube) (Apple Daily) Video from NOW TV live broadcast. A rescuer tells the media that the firemen needed room to work to pull people out of the bus and requested the media to move to a spot further up the slope. The firemen were about to use equipment raise the bus, so it is dangerous to be too close. The media said that they wanted a few more minutes because they are on live broadcast. The rescuer said: "I think that it is more important to save lives. Is that okay?"

But the reporters did not leave immediately. Then a female voice was heard: "Sir, our signal is on and going out live. Can you give us three and a half minutes? We are going out live. Three and a half minutes." The rescuer said: "I ... so I ... I will coordinate with the Fire Department. I understand the importance ... do you understand? ... that is, it is hard for me to come up with a balance. Freedom of press is important, but there are human lives inside." A man said: "Two minutes!"

The rescuer then came back to say that the Fire Department insists that the media evacuate immediately. The female reporter said: "We will leave." But three minutes later, the video showed a male reporter donned in TVB uniform still there.

Another copy: (Facebook Video) Face of female TVB reporter appears at 0:50. The rescuer added: "The Fire Department colleagues are waiting for you to leave before they can begin." Man: "Half a minute! Half a minute!"

TVB news reporter Liu Cheuk-yi was captured in the NOW TV live broadcast and credited on TVB

- Three and a half more minutes only? Why don't you let me put a bus on top of you for three and a half minutes?

- You want three and a half more minutes? Why? For you to climax?

- If Liu Cheuk-yi has a family member on the bus, would she still ask for three and a half more minutes? Most likely not. She would be screaming at the firemen not to stand around anymore.

- For the purpose of damage control, TVB must immediately notify YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, InstaGram, SnapChat, Whatsapp, Apple Daily, Ming Pao, etc that this video is a violation of their copyright and must be removed immediately, or else TVB cannot exclude the possibility of seeking legal redress.

- (Ming Pao) Our reporter called TVB Assistant General Manager Yuen Chi-wai. As soon our reporter identified himself and before any question was posed, Yuen said "I'm busy" and hung up.

- Buddy, you are mixing things up. The video showing the two TVB reporters was from the live broadcast of NOW TV. TVB has no copyright claims. Do you think that NOW TV should antagonize Google, YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, InstaGram, SnapChat, Whatsapp, Apple Daily, Ming Pao, Golden Forum, Galden Forum, LIHK, Hong Kong Discussion Forum, etc with cease-and-desist orders just to make nice with rival TVB?

- When I heard that a reporter refused to cooperate, I immediately thought that this was an Apple Daily reporter. But the reporter turned out to be from TVB. Apple Daily may have missed first place, but they have jumped in with a fervor to condemn the behavior that they are in fact best known for.

- I was there as a witness in this incident (February 20, 2015) that the Apple Daily reporter told the ambulance workers to move aside for him to take the photos.

- (Silent Majority HK) The NOW TV video went viral. Angry Internet users scoured for information about the reporters involved. The female reporter was identified as TVB news reporter Liu Cheuk-yi. From there, the Internet users dug out her personal history. She is a journalism graduate from Shue Yan University (see 135073 Liu Cheuk-yi). Around the Occupy Central period, her journalism exercises were in praise of Benny Tai and associates. During the Copyright (Amendment) Act, she sent a letter under the titled "Oppose Internet Article 23" to the government. She accused TVB of "self-censorship" and ATV of becoming a "government mouthpiece."

- Why kind of journalism does the Department of Journalism and Communication at the Hong Kong Shue Yan University teach?

According to their Programme Objective (sic) section, the programme

4. increases students' awareness of ethical issues in mass communication;

but somehow the Programme Learning Outcome lists no impact on ethics and morality!  So the students were made to take classes on media ethics to be promptly forgotten!

- The male TVB reporter Sin Chi also seen the NOW TV live broadcast. After being asked repeatedly to leave, he said: "I'm leaving. Real soon."

- (TVB) October 25, 2014. TVB reporter Sin Chi was beaten by the Blue Ribbons (police supporters) during the pro-police rally yesterday in Tsim Sha Tsui because he was asking deliberately provocative questions such as "Were you paid to come here today?".

- At a time when certain persons with ulterior motives are fanning anger at the media, it is very important for the Hong Kong Journalists Association to come out and defend TVB news reporter Liu Cheuk-yi against the unwarranted criticisms. They must remind everyone that the people of Hong Kong have the right to know the truth, and the Fire Department must not be allowed to get in the way of the media.

- When the police coordinator told the media to move, it means that the government is curtailing the freedom of press even further. An inch of encroachment at a time adds up to a lot over time. We must stand firm and not yield an inch.

- When the authorities ask reporters to leave, it means that they have something to hide from the public. The media should never leave their posts. Freedom and democracy depends on the presence of the Fourth Estate.

- The silence of the Hong Kong Journalists Association is disturbing, just like the previous occasion on which reporters blocked the emergency workers from moving an injured man on a stretcher onto an ambulance. That was also a clear case that the people's right to know must supersede everything else. The fact that the man was screaming in pain did not cause the media to move aside.

- According to the thoughts of the Tai Mo Shan woman, Liu Cheuk-yi is saying that it is her life and she could choose to stand next to the bus as it is raised up. But if the bus should fall on top of her, then it is the responsibility of the rescuers to save her. And if some rescuer should be injured in the process, then that is something that comes with the high-paying job.

- (YouTube) On November 19, 2012, a major traffic accident on Chai Wan Road led to 3 deaths and 57 injuries. The firemen raised a red-colored barrier to block of the view of the rescue efforts. Afterwards, the Hong Kong Journalists Association criticized the firemen for infringing upon the public's right to know.

This time, the HKJA must come out and stand firmly behind the reporters against the firemen.

- (Ming Pao) Tonight TVB issued a formal response. The bus accident took place at around 6pm. By 745pm, the Fire Department had removed all the injured and deceased persons in the bus. Afterwards, the police told the media that the firemen will raise the bus to see if there are persons trapped underneath. They asked the media to evacuate. The female reporter asked the police if they can have three and a half minutes for a live broadcast. She emphasized that they will leave after three and a half minutes. About a minute later, the police said that the firemen wanted the reporters to leave, because there may be dangers when the bus is being raised. The female reporter said "Fine" and said that they will move elsewhere. The firemen actually began raising the bus several hours later. "Therefore the TVB reporters did not impede the rescue work of the Fire Department at any point in time."

- (HKG Pao) The discussion about media behavior is distracting from the main issue, which has been identified by pro-democracy legislator Cheng Chung-tai. The seventh day of the incident falls on the second day of the Lunar New Year. On that day, the government is holding its traditional fireworks display. In memory of the victims, we demand that the fireworks display be canceled forthwith. P.S. Chief Executive Carrie Lam must apologize for her mistakes in this case too.

- Pro-democracy activist Wan Chin has declared that this incident showed that Hong Kong has been abandoned by the Heavens.

- I agree. In addition, we must cancel the holidays and go back to school/work. We must not say wish each other a happy new year. We must not hand out red envelops. We must not post any red banners. We must not wear red clothes.

- If we the people forego our fireworks show, then it is only fair that the pan-democrats donate all the money that they raise at the Lunar Year market to the families of the victims. On this, we stand in solidarity.

- Jacob Siu's Facebook

When Tung Chee-hwa became Chief Executive, there was the bus disaster in Tuen Mun with several dozen casualties.
When CY Leung became Chief Executive, there was the Lamma Island ferry disaster with several dozen casualties.
When Carrie Lam became Chief Executive, there was the Tai Po bus disaster with several dozen casualties.
When Donald Tsang became Chief Executive, there was no large-scale disaster.

Can the various fortune-tellers see why all those Chief Executives picked by the Communist Party have been disastrous for Hong Kong? If the Chinese Communists would only stay away, there will be peace in Hong Kong and everybody will make a lot of money!

- (Sing Tao Daily) February 11, 2018. The KMB Union held a press conference. They said that the KMB company and the Department of Transportation are to be fully blamed. In recent years, KMB has been cutting costs by hiring part-time bus drivers who are amateur bus fans lacking driving skills. "They are recklessly endangering the lives of the passengers!"

- Yes, I am not only worried about inexperienced bus drivers, but more so the mentally unstable ones (see #310 The Case of Cheung Ray).

Previously: #437 The Case of Gui Minhai (2016/01/18)

(SCMP) January 22, 2018.

Hong Kong-based publisher Gui Minhai, one of the Causeway Bay booksellers whose disappearance two years ago caused an international storm, was snatched again by mainland Chinese authorities from a train heading for Beijing over the weekend, his daughter reported on Monday.

Angela Gui told the Post that her father, accompanied by two Swedish diplomats, was travelling from Ningbo city in Zhejiang province on Saturday when around 10 police officers in plain clothes boarded their train near the capital and grabbed him. She did not go into details, but confirmed a New York Times report saying her father, a naturalised Swedish national, was visiting Sweden’s embassy in Beijing for a medical examination.

In a statement to the Post, Sweden’s foreign ministry quoted its minister, Margot Wallström, as saying: ”The Swedish government has detailed knowledge of what has happened and I have summoned China’s ambassador. I have also been promised information about Mr. Gui’s situation.” The minister added: ”The situation has worsened since Saturday morning and the Ministry for Foreign Affairs has been working around the clock on this matter ever since.”

“I just know that things have taken a very drastic turn for the worse,” the Times quoted Angela as saying. “This group of about 10 men in plain clothes just came in and grabbed him from the train and took him away.”

Gui was reportedly seeking a medical examination after showing symptoms of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, which attacks the brain and spinal cord.

(SCMP) February 6, 2018.

Beijing confirmed on Tuesday that it had detained Swedish citizen and Hong Kong-based bookseller Gui Minhai, after his daughter said Chinese police had seized him from a train last month.

“Gui Minhai broke Chinese law and has already been subjected to criminal coercive measures in accordance with the law by relevant Chinese authorities,” foreign ministry spokesman Geng Shuang said. The term “coercive measures” generally refers to detention in China.

Swedish Foreign Minister Margot Wallström said in a statement on Monday that Gui’s continued detention was a “very serious matter” and that China’s “brutal” intervention in Sweden’s attempts to help Gui, who Chinese authorities had said was free, represented a contravention of international rules on consular support. “We demand that our citizen be given the opportunity to meet Swedish diplomatic and medical staff, and that he be released so that he can be reunited with his daughter and family.”

Asked about Wallström’s demands, Geng said China could not accept such “irresponsible” statements from Sweden. “Although Gui Minhai is a Swedish citizen, the case he is suspected of must be handled in accordance with Chinese law,” he said. Sweden should understand the serious nature of the case and the “disgraceful” role played by certain Swedish people, Geng said, without giving details.

(Global Times) China's law not under thumb of West. February 8, 2018.

Sweden's foreign ministry harshly condemned China's detention of Gui Minhai, a Hong Kong bookseller of Swedish citizenship, as "brutal intervention" and claimed "China's actions were in contravention of basic international rules on consular support." The EU and some Western countries chimed in, with German Ambassador to China Michael Clauss saying, "That China's authorities treat an EU citizen this way is without precedence."

China's judicial authorities have the right to investigate persons of any citizenship who violate laws on China's soil. All EU countries have jailed foreign citizens before. Except for diplomats, ordinary people should be handled by the country where they committed crimes. This is a basic principle of international law.

Consular support has its boundaries. According to Western reports, the Chinese side has long since notified Sweden of Gui's detention. China has fulfilled its diplomatic obligations. At present, Chinese authorities are taking criminal compulsory measures against Gui, with which Sweden's consular support should coordinate.

Despite disputes on details, China and Sweden should reach a solution through consultations. Sweden's expectation to strengthen consular assistance to Gui cannot transcend China's legal procedures.

Demanding China immediately release Gui, Germany is rudely provoking China's judicial sovereignty. This is driven by the extraterritorial mentality that was commonly seen in imperialist powers, of which Swedish and German diplomats should be ashamed.

The West is still arrogant toward China. Western elites obstinately view China's legal differences with their own countries as political differences, with the West representing the world's only source of political correctness.

Gui committed a crime in China and China is handling his case according to its law. Now Western public opinion defined the case as political persecution of people with foreign citizenship, arbitrarily demanding China act according to their will. With such contempt toward Chinese law, is there any room for communication?

Gui came back to China often even after he changed citizenship. There are many other "foreigners" like Gui working and living in China. A few of them take advantage of their double identity as both Chinese and foreigner to seek profits and wish to shield themselves from penalties if they breach the law.

European countries and the US should educate their newly naturalized citizens that the new passport cannot be their amulet in China. If they conduct activities in China, they must obey Chinese law.

As China's opening-up deepens, the country will see more foreigners. It would be irresponsible of Western countries if they instilled in their citizens an extraterritorial mentality. China's rule of law is not under the thumb of the West. Anyone who violates Chinese law must face the consequences.

- (Wikipedia) Extraterritoriality

Extraterritoriality is the state of being exempted from the jurisdiction of local law, usually as the result of diplomatic negotiations.

Extraterritoriality (without reciprocity) was first imposed upon China by the British in the Treaty of Nanking, resulting from the First Opium War. It was subsequently imposed upon China by the Americans under the Treaty of Wanghia and the Treaty of Tientsin.

For relinquishment of extraterritoriality in China by the United States and United Kingdom, see the Sino-American Treaty for Relinquishment of Extraterritorial Rights in China and Sino-British Treaty for the Relinquishment of Extra-Territorial Rights in China respectively.

But Sweden thinks that it extraterritoriality rights in China.

- The Swedes are white-skinned blondes gods whereas the Chinese are yellow-skinned slant-eyed gooks. That is why they have to be treated differently.

- Eh, Gui Minhai does not look anything like a white-skinned blonde god. In fact, he looks like a yellow-skinned slant-eyed gook.

(Oriental Daily) February 9, 2018.

Gui Minhai's eldest sister was interviewed by Oriental Daily today. She recalled that her brother skipped bail after the 2004 traffic incident, after which they had not seen him for more than a decade. The civil compensation of 480,000 RMB to the victim's family had to be paid by the other members of the Gui family. Gui was released and allowed to unite with the family. The 80-year-old family matriarch was very pleased. Gui rented an apartment in Ningbo city and planned to live there. He promised that he would have Lunar New Year dinner with them.

With the consent of the Chinese government, Gui went to the Swedish consulate to obtain a Swedish passport. Afterwards, Gui's sister said that the Swedish consulate people came daily to meet with Gui. Because she does not understand Swedish, she did not know what they were saying. On the day of the incident, Gui left home without a word. Her family thought that he was visiting the doctor. Later the authorities informed Gui's three sisters that their brother has been placed under criminal detention again. They are very sad now, but so far they have only told their mother and young brother that Gui has returned to Sweden temporarily so as not to upset them.

Gui's sister said that the Swedish authorities knew full well that Gui Minhai is not supposed to leave China, but they kept pestering him to leave. She said that they were very worried when the Swedish authorities announced that Gui Min-hai was suffering from amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). However, the possibility of ALS has now been ruled out. She said that her brother was dense in the head and failed to honor his promise to the Chinese government, even not informing his own family.

(SCMP) February 9, 2018.

Detained book publisher Gui Minhai on Friday accused the Swedish government of using him as a “chess piece” to make trouble for Beijing, claiming in an interview arranged by Chinese authorities that he did not want to leave the country.

Speaking at a detention facility in Ningbo, Zhejiang province, he said: “The year 2018 is election year in Sweden … some politicians might be using me for political gains. I can’t rule out that some are trying to use me to create trouble for the Chinese government.”

The 53-year-old, mainland-born but a naturalised Swedish citizen, went on: “I have seen through the Swedish government. If they continue to create troubles, I may consider giving up my Swedish citizenship.”

Gui made the accusations in a 20-minute interview with several Hong Kong, Taiwanese and mainland media groups arranged by the Ministry of Public Security.

The Post agreed to the interview with strictly no conditions attached after it was approached by the ministry on Wednesday.

After the interview, the ministry issued a statement saying the authorities had imposed criminal coercive measures – a euphemism for detention – on Gui for leaking state secrets abroad.

Gui had been at the centre of the missing Hong Kong booksellers controversy of 2015 and was in detention in China until last October for a drink-driving offence. Little was known of his movements since then except that he was living in Ningbo.

But last month, reports emerged of his dramatic arrest by 10 plain-clothes policemen while he was on a train from Shanghai to Beijing, accompanied by two Swedish diplomats. The Swedish government said it was providing consular assistance to Gui as he needed medical help, and denounced his detention as a “brutal” act.

However, during the Friday interview, Gui gave a different account of his decision to seek the Swedish government’s help, claiming that its officials had worked on him unrelentingly to persuade him to leave China. The Post was unable to independently verify his claims.

Throughout, Gui, who had been reported by his daughter Angela Gui as showing symptoms of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, or ALS, sought to project a picture of calm, breaking into smiles frequently.

He was in a plainly furnished room when reporters were brought in to meet him. Two security guards appeared at the end of the interview, before reporters were ushered out.

Asked by the Post if the Chinese authorities had forced him to face the media, he insisted he had requested the meeting to tell the public the “truth” because the Swedish government had “sensationalised” what had happened to him.

He said that after he finished serving a two-year term for his drink-driving offence, he rented a flat in Ningbo. He could then regularly meet his three sisters and elderly mother, who was in poor health, he said.

He complained that the Swedish diplomats had been contacting him on a daily basis to persuade him to leave China for Sweden.

He claimed they did so despite knowing that the case against him for running an illegal business – publishing gossipy books about the Chinese leadership and having them delivered to the mainland – had yet to be concluded.

“Swedish diplomats secretly came to Ningbo and told me several proposals to get me to Sweden. They told me that I was just a step away from succeeding. I just needed to take this one step and I could make it to Sweden successfully. I had declined a few times. But because they were instigating me non-stop, I fell for it,” he said.

Gui, who occasionally spoke slowly, went on: “Sweden offered me a plan, and that was to use my medical appointment as an excuse to get to the Swedish embassy in Beijing. And then they would wait for an opportunity to get me to Sweden.”

Earlier this week, China’s foreign ministry confirmed Gui’s arrest, saying he had been detained for breaking the law, without specifying which laws.

On Friday, Gui said he regretted buying into Sweden’s plans and that he felt like he was becoming its “chess piece”. He said Sweden had not told him details of his visit to the embassy, but only that he would meet a Swedish person who was a Chinese expert, as well as someone from an unnamed US foundation.

“My wonderful life has been ruined and I would never trust the Swedish ever again,” he said.

He said he was currently being detained at the Ningbo detention facility and could not leave China, as his illegal business case had not been concluded.

Asked if he wanted to leave China, he replied: “I hope I can live in China.”

On his health, he said he started to feel muscular atrophy in his left hand seven months ago. The same happened to his right hand and left leg one to two months ago. But no doctors had diagnosed him with ALS, he said.

Medical examinations had found that he had problems with his spine which led to the muscular atrophy, he said. If he indeed has ALS, he said, it could not be cured anyway even if he went back to Sweden.

The Post has contacted the Swedish foreign ministry for comment but has not received a response.

Asked if he had a message for his daughter Angela, who lives in the UK, Gui said: “I feel ashamed about myself. I have made mistakes. I have promised my old mother that I would spend Lunar New Year with her. My message to my family is that I hope they will live a good life. Don’t worry about me. I will solve my own problems myself.”

Last month Gui wrote to the Swedish ambassador to China, Anna Lindstedt, asking the Swedish authorities to stop interfering in his business.

(Oriental Daily) February 9, 2018. Gui Min-hai's letter to the Swedish ambassador Anne Lindstedt.

(SCMP) Transcript of Gui Minhai’s government-arranged interview: ‘Swedish government used me’ February 10, 2018.

In a 20-minute media conference arranged by the Chinese government, Gui Minhai, the detained former Hong Kong publisher, warned the Swedish government that if it continued to use him to cause problems for Beijing, he would consider renouncing his Swedish citizenship.

Gui, a naturalised Swedish citizen who was born in mainland China, spoke with media outlets from Hong Kong, the mainland and Taiwan in a session arranged by China’s Ministry of Public Security. 

The South China Morning Post agreed to take part, provided no conditions were put on the questions it could ask, after being approached by the ministry on Wednesday. 

Did you request this meeting, or did the Ministry of Public Security order you to do it because they wanted you to say certain things to the media?

Thank you everyone for coming here to interview me. I’m Gui Minhai. I know that Sweden has recently sensationalised things about me. I have already written a letter to Sweden’s ambassador to China, Anna Lindstedt. I have stated that I do not want Sweden to continue to sensationalise what has happened to me. But obviously, Sweden has not stopped doing so. I felt that it was necessary for me to come out and say something. I asked the public security authorities for a chance to meet the media in order to tell the public what has happened, and to tell the truth.

Last October, after I finished serving the sentence for my traffic offence, I rented a place to live in Ningbo for a while mainly to be with my old mother who has not been healthy. … My three sisters could also all get together. We could even play mahjong. My mother was so happy when we all played mahjong with her. I felt like I was back in my childhood times. I felt so happy. My wife had also come to Ningbo for more than a month.

Since 2004, after I ran away from my drink-driving offence sentence, I had not returned to China. For a long time, I have not had the chance to show filial piety to my mother. I did not even come back for my father’s funeral. I have felt so painful about this for such a long time. This time, I have told my sisters that I planned to spend a happy Chinese New Year with my mother. But everything has since changed. That was because, after I was released [from prison in October 2017], the Swedish side has been contacting me persistently. They contacted me on a daily basis. They knew that I have an illegal business-operation case, which has not concluded yet and so the law does not allow me to leave the country. They knew this but they kept instigating me to return to Sweden. They kept telling me how much the Swedish government cared about me and the government wanted me to be back in Sweden. 

Swedish diplomats secretly came to Ningbo and told me several proposals to get me to Sweden. They told me that I was just a step away from succeeding. I just needed to take this one step and I could make it to Sweden successfully. I have declined a few times. But because they were instigating me non-stop, I fell for it. 

Sweden offered me a plan, and that was to use my medical appointment as an excuse to get to the Swedish embassy in Beijing. And then they could wait for an opportunity to get me to Sweden. On 20 January, two Swedish diplomats drove the consulate’s car to Ningbo and took me to Shanghai. We took a train to Beijing. During the journey, they asked me not to get off the train, for fear it would catch other people’s attention. In other words, I was to be taken to Beijing secretly. I was then taken away by the Ningbo public security authorities in accordance with the law when I was on the train. 

I regret this very much now. The Swedish side has not told me in detail about the medical appointment in Beijing. For example, who were the doctors to see me? They told me that I would meet a Swedish person who was a Chinese expert, and another person from a US foundation. 

Looking back, I might have become Sweden’s chess piece. I broke the law again under their instigation. My wonderful life has been ruined and I would never trust the Swedish ever again.

Some reports have suggested that you have ALS (amyotrophic lateral sclerosis). Is that so?

So far, no doctors and experts have diagnosed me with ALS and I think Sweden has exaggerated this and manipulated [me]. About seven months ago, I discovered muscular atrophy on my left hand. In the past one to two months, that happened to my right hand and my left leg. Last October, I was accompanied by my family members to meet experts. [Medical examinations] have shown that I have big problems with my cervical vertebrae. My muscular atrophy could very likely be a result of my problems with my cervical vertebrae. The Swedish said that I have ALS, just because they were exaggerating and used this as an excuse to take me to Sweden as soon as possible. I know that ALS is incurable. If I really have ALS, it would still be incurable even if I get to Sweden. If the Swedish side really cared about me, then they can send doctors to see me in China. The public security authorities here have been paying much attention to my illness.

They have arranged experts from Shanghai and Ningbo to see and treat me. 

Has the China side told you if they would let you leave China?

The case of my illegal business has not yet been concluded. Thus, before that case has been concluded, I am not allowed to leave the country, according to the law. 

Why has the Swedish side wanted so much to take you to Sweden? Do you want to seek treatment there?

When I was in Sweden, the Swedish government never paid me special attention. I have never felt that I was truly recognised as a Swedish [citizen]. When I was living in Sweden, when a Swedish friend introduced me to another person, the person would say, “let me introduce a Chinese friend to you”. The sense of recognition is one matter. The other matter is that, for a very long time, about 10 years, I did not live in Sweden. I lived in Germany. 

After I turned myself in and subsequently served my sentence, the Swedish government started to pay me special attention. I don’t know if they were paying me attention or just manipulating me. The year 2018 is election year in Sweden … some politicians might be using me for political gains. I can’t rule out that some are trying to use me to create trouble for the Chinese government. … I have seen through the Swedish government. If they continue to create troubles, I may consider giving up my Swedish citizenship.

What’s your plan for the future?

I want to live a down-to-earth life. My family said I was silly to be manipulated so easily. They hoped that I would live in China. I am willing to live a peaceful life in China.

So you do not want to leave China?

Yes. I hope I can live in China. 

Are you being detained in this detention facility? Can you make contact with your family members? 

I am staying inside the detention facility.

Some reports have suggested that Chinese officials told Swedish officials that you met them illegally and have given them secret information. What was the nature of that information?

I am sorry. I do not want to answer this question.

The International Publishers Association recently gave you the Prix Voltaire award (honouring a person or organisation adjudged to have made a significant contribution to the defense and promotion of freedom to publish in the world). Do you want to go to personally accept the award?

Has it been announced? I didn’t know about this. In 2017, I was nominated for this. But I did not win. It was strange that I was given this Prix Voltaire now … I do not want to receive, and will not receive, this award. Otherwise, I would be so silly to be manipulated. I hope the International Publishers Association can respect my will.

In October 2017, the Chinese foreign ministry said you had been released and had walked free after serving your two-year [drink driving] sentence. Why is it that, a few months later, you have been detained?

That was because I have violated Chinese laws and have made mistakes. I don’t want to get to the specifics. Thank you very much for coming here to interview me, and I have said all I have wanted to say.

Do you have a message for your daughter? She cared about you very much.

I feel ashamed about myself. I have made mistakes. I have promised my old mother that I would spend Lunar New Year with her. My message to my family is that I hope that [they] will live a good life. Don’t worry about me. I will solve my own problems. Secondly, I hope they will not be manipulated by anyone. 

What are you feeling right now after going through so much these past two years?

OK, I will say a few more words. After I turned myself in and served the two-year sentence, it was a good thing for me. [Having] served my term, I am feeling down-to-earth now. I feel that I have redeemed my sin. I feel relieved.

(Global Times) February 10, 2018.

After the Hong Kong-based Swedish bookseller Gui Minhai was again detained by Chinese police in front of two diplomats, the Swedish foreign ministry fell silent at first and then accused China of "brutal intervention" and "contravening international rules of consular support."

Taking Gui from Ningbo, Zhejiang Province to Beijing was not supposed to happen. The Swedish Embassy in China played a dishonorable role in the event.

Gui was released from custody in October last year for a traffic offense. He is suspected of being involved in illegal business and the investigation is ongoing. By Chinese law, Gui is not allowed to leave the Chinese mainland and he had earlier promised the police he would not leave Ningbo or at least report his whereabouts if he traveled elsewhere.

But on January 20, two Swedish diplomats took Gui from Ningbo to Beijing. Gui had violated the requirement of Chinese law enforcement authorities and broke his promise. Western media reported that Gui was taken to Beijing to see a Swedish specialist for a medical checkup but that was a lie. No Swedish specialist has recently visited China. Gui also confessed to police that the Swedish government had been plotting to take him back to Sweden.

The Swedish Embassy in China knew very well that Gui was prohibited from leaving the Chinese mainland, but plotted to do so any way. They tricked Gui into cooperating with their plan. What they did is far beyond the scope of consular support. They wanted to arrange Gui's "escape" by breaking Chinese law.

The Global Times has learned that two Swedish diplomats secretly picked up Gui with a consulate car and took him to Shanghai. From there, they took a Beijing-bound high-speed train.

Gui was interviewed by media on Friday. Hong Kong media released the content of his interview, including that he said the diplomats asked him to not leave the car to avoid attention. After learning about Gui's trip, police contacted Gui many times and asked him to return but the diplomats accompanying him demanded Gui not oblige. Had they arrived in Beijing, they would have been in the Swedish Embassy. The plot made us wonder whether the Swedish foreign ministry was making a Hollywood movie.

Sweden is a relatively small country in Northern Europe. The Swedish foreign ministry appeared to be craving the limelight in the EU and the West. The Hong Kong booksellers' case was hyped by Western media and the Swedish foreign ministry seems to want to demonstrate its diplomatic heroism by "saving the bookseller Gui Minhai." While other Western countries are merely talking, Sweden took actions and ignored Chinese law. Its role as the "special task forces" of Western human rights diplomacy is presumptuous.

Swedish Embassy's show was interrupted halfway. Gui was intercepted by police at a train station in Jinan, Shandong Province en route to Beijing. China's judicial sovereignty remains intact and the Swedish foreign ministry has ended up a laughingstock. Stockholm remained silent for a few days. They probably began to cry out loud after feeling they had lost face.

We must point out that the Chinese government protects the lawful rights of all foreigners in China but will not tolerate their illegal activities. Foreigners will be subject to punishment according to the law if they commit a crime. The Swedish foreign ministry wanted to muddy the waters of Gui's case by using so-called human rights logic. Some Western countries and media want to hype the case. They are obsessed with this game, but the game won't have any impact on China's governance.

(Xinhua net) February 10, 2018.

Gui Minhai, a Swedish national and Hong Kong bookseller, was detained again recently by Chinese police over suspected violations of Chinese law, about three months after his release from a Chinese prison.

Gui was freed on Oct. 17, 2017 after completing a two-year term over his drunken driving which killed a person more than a decade ago. He turned himself in to police in the Chinese mainland in 2015.

As Chinese authorities continued investigation into Gui's suspected illegal business operation, he was not allowed to leave the country according to law.

"When I was released, my illegal business operation case has not been put to an end. I resume an inmate's life, for which to a large extent, my thanks should be given to the Swedish government and you," said Gui in a letter he wrote on Jan. 27 to the Swedish ambassador to Beijing.

After his release, Gui said in a letter of commitment to police in Ningbo, east China's Zhejiang Province, that he would continue cooperation with authorities on the investigation into the illegal business case and would inform authorities if he leaves the city.

However, on Jan. 20, accompanied by two Swedish diplomats, Gui suddenly arrived in Shanghai riding a car with a diplomatic plate, and then boarded a high-speed train bound for Beijing.

According to Chinese police, Gui took with him many information materials concerning state secrets and was suspected of illegally providing state secrets and intelligence overseas and endangering state security.

Police contacted him many times and demanded he return and receive investigation, but the accompanying Swedish diplomats asked Gui to refuse cooperation. When the high-speed train stopped at Jinan West Railway Station in Shandong Province, police took Gui away and put him under custody according to law.

Some overseas media and Western countries such as Sweden pointed fingers at China over Gui's case, accusing China of violating international norms and interfering with consular affairs.

On Feb. 9, Gui applied to authorities and asked to speak the truth before media. Xinhua reporters interviewed him at his detention place in Ningbo.

"When I was in Sweden, they paid little attention to me. I felt I was not recognized by local Swedes," said Gui. "The Swedish have done this just out of their political purposes and to meet the need of some political figures for the 2018 elections in Sweden."

Gui said he had a Swedish nationality, but he did not live in Sweden almost in the past decade. Instead, he lived in Germany. It was just after he surrendered to Chinese police and especially his release that the Swedish government began to pay special attention to him, according to Gui.

"I do not want the Swedish side to continue hyping up my case. I have seen through the Swedish government. I may consider giving up my Swedish nationality if it continues to do so," said Gui.

"Under Sweden's continual instigation, I broke the law again. My happy life was destroyed," said Gui. "I just simply hope that my family will not be taken advantage of and I can stay in China to live a peaceful life."

During the three months after his release, Gui lived in a rented house in Ningbo and attended to his aged mother with his three sisters. "I feel like returning to my childhood and the life is really happy."

To accompany his mother, Gui applied for a residence permit to local police and the permit was approved.

Shortly afterwards, the Swedish side contacted Gui frequently and attempted to help him leave China, dispatching consulate staff to Ningbo to persuade him and offering him plans to go with them to Sweden.

"They told me I was just one step away from success. As long as I take the step, I will succeed in returning to Sweden," said Gui.

Gui suffered muscle atrophy in the hands. But the Swedish side claimed he suffered amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), asking him not to receive treatment in China and promising to send him back to Sweden for treatment.

In November 2017, Gui's family contacted a local key hospital in Ningbo to carry out a checkup of Gui. The doctors said his muscle atrophy was caused by cervical spondylosis.

Recently, five senior orthopedics and neurology doctors from Ningbo and Shanghai also ruled out the ALS disease for Gui, giving a diagnosis similar to that of the Ningbo hospital.

"Helping me treat my illness is just an excuse. Their purpose is to bring me back to Sweden as soon as possible," said Gui.

"I have lost trust in the Swedish government. I hope I handle my issue on my own," he said.

On Jan. 20, China's public security authorities informed the Embassy of Sweden of Gui's case through the Ministry of Foreign Affairs shortly after Gui's arrest. China's foreign affairs authorities also informed their Swedish counterparts about Gui's case.

On Jan. 30, the Public Security Bureau of Ningbo visited the Consulate General of Sweden in Shanghai to inform Gui's case and his recent condition, and delivered Gui's letter to the ambassador.

Internet comments:

- (Hong Kong Free Press) February 11, 2018.

Sophie Richardson, China director for NGO Human Rights Watch said that the video is solid evidence for the prosecution of Chinese official: “The cruelty and coercion here are just breathtaking,” she said on Twitter.

China researcher at NGO Amnesty International, Patrick Poon, said: “This kind of video has become the China’s attempt to divert attention about arbitrary detention. If the person is free to speak, why can’t he have access to a lawyer of his own choice and proper consular access? Can only trust what people say when they’re free and outside China.”

Gui’s friend, dissident poet Bei Ling, told AFP that he was very shocked and saddened by the claims: “How can we believe whether the words of someone who is oppressed — like a prisoner — are real?”

Bill Birtles, China correspondent at the Australian Broadcasting Corporation, tweeted: “Credibility of @SCMP_News, which has been fading under Alibaba ownership, takes another hit. Had some good scoops during 19th Congress, but this reminiscent of ‘interview’ it published w/ then-detained legal assistant Zhao Wei in 2016.”

Swedish human rights activist Peter Dahlin, who was paraded on state TV in 2016 before being released from Chinese custody, tweeted: “[A]mazing what kind of rights detainees have these days in China… @SCMP_News disappoints. Again.”

Senior SCMP reporter Phila Siu, who reported on the Gui media event, defended the decision to publish, saying the newspaper had sought to be as open as possible about the circumstances: “What if the person suddenly screams for help?… If we were not there, u’d nt even kw how this meeting was arranged. There’s no perfect solution to this and I did my best.”

- The greatest failure of SCMP/Oriental Daily is that they did not ask the questions that everybody wanted to know: "Have the Communist secret police stopped torturing you? Just say YES or NO!"

If the answer is YES, then it means that they had been torturing him but has just stopped. If the answer is NO, then it means that they are still torturing him even now.

- So the Swedes want to ferry Gui Minhai from Ningbo to Beijing in order to meet with a Swedish sinologist and someone from an American foundation under the cover of medical treatment for an incurable disease at the Swedish embassy. The big X factor is this "unnamed person from an unnamed American foundation." What is Sweden's explanation? Their cover is that Gui Minhai is suffering from ALS. What, if anything, can a Swedish sinologist and an American foundation person do for him?

- When Julian Assange wiki-leaked national security secrets, Sweden demanded that he be handed over to them to stand trial for "rape." Here and then, it is clear that Sweden is the poodle dog of the United States of America.

- Allow me to hazard a guess: the "unnamed American foundation" must be the National Endowment for Democracy (NED), a CIA-front founded by an act of US Congress and funded through an annual allocation from the US Congress in the form of a grant awarded through the United States Information Agency.

Congressman Ron Paul stated that NED has "very little to do with democracy. It is an organization that uses US tax money to actually subvert democracy, by showering funding on favored political parties or movements overseas. It underwrites color-coded ‘people’s revolutions’ overseas that look more like pages out of Lenin’s writings on stealing power than genuine indigenous democratic movements."

Gui Minhai would be a good fit for the color revolution plans for Hong Kong.

- When the second "kidnapping" of Gui Minhai became known, Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesperson Hua Chunying said tersely about the Swedish diplomats: "They know what they did." It can be easily inferred even then that Gui Minhai was under residential detention and the Swedes were trying to move him to the Swedish embassy in Beijing.

How did the Chinese police find out? I don't even think that they were watching Gui, because they would have taken action immediately. I think that when the Swedes bought the train tickets, Gui had to produce his ID under the real-name registration system and his ID was flagged on a watch list. [In a political thriller, the Swedes would have arranged a fake ID for Gui!] The alert went out after the train left Ningbo, and the police in Jinan city were alerted to board the train to arrest Gui for violating his parole.

Even if Gui Minhai made it to the Swedish embassy in Beijing, how was he going to get out of China? He cannot take an airplane using a Swedish passport, because a wanted fugitive of any nationality will be arrested. The Swedes cannot just give him a diplomatic passport, because the Chinese government won't accredit a fugitive. Gui is going to spend a long time in the Swedish embassy until his usefulness runs out.

- Well, you don't understand this at all. The goal of the Swedes was not to get Gui Minhai out of China. In fact, they don't give a rat's ass about whether he lives or dies. They just want Gui cooped up in the embassy so that he can keep giving interviews while Sweden, USA, EU, UK, Germany, etc can make urgent appeals for his release all the time. This is his value to them.

- It will be even better for them if Gui Minhai has some serious illness. And if he is not ill, they will even fabricate an illness for him which will disappear miraculously once he arrives Sweden.

- Gui Minhai was not arrested in Shanghai, where he could still argue that he took a day trip with friends and planned to return to Ningbo later that day. Gui was actually arrested when his train stopped in Jinan city, Shandong province. Jinan is 970 kilometers from Ningbo. So it was clear that he was in flight.

- It is reported that, at the time of his arrest, Gui Minhai was carrying a number of documents that contained sensitive national security information. Well, that is bizarre. Gui Minhai was released a few months ago from prison into residential detention at a rented apartment. How did he lay his hands on documents with "sensitive national security information"?

Why didn't the two Swedish diplomats hold the documents on themselves? As diplomats, they have immunity from arrest and searching. Why did they let Gui Minhai hold the documents?

- I am willing bet that the "sensitive national security information" is a statement from the Swedish government stating the conditions offered to Gui Minhai if he goes with the two Swedish diplomats to Beijing: money, house in the Swedish countryside, protection, etc.

- Being a publisher, Gui Minhai must know the life stages of Chinese dissidents. Take the famous example of Wei Jinsheng.

Stage 1: Wei Jingsheng was a worker who came to fame with his essay The Fifth Modernization in 1978. He was in and out of prison between 1979-1997. Many western governments and organizations demanded the release of this most famous of Chinese dissidents.

Stage 2: Wei was deported to the United States in November 1997 on medical parole under western pressure, especially at the request of then US President Bill Clinton.

Stage 3: Wei received numerous human rights and democracy awards from the west, such as the Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought, the National Endowment for Democracy Aware, the Robert F. Kenney Human Rights Award, the Olog Palme Memorial Prize, etc.

Stage 4: In New York City, Wei established the Wei Jingsheng Foundation with the aim to improve human rights and democratization in China. But once he got going, people ignored him and treated him like a leper. To the political establishment, Wei was useful as a weapon against Communist China, but they were not interested in writing new Chinese constitutions or codes of law with an uneducated and stubborn exile with no power base in China. To the Chinese diaspora, Wei Jingsheng was competition for the limited handouts from the National Endowment for Democracy.

As Gui Minhai himself noted, he was a nobody in Sweden until he got arrested. He is now suddenly a person of interest to powers both great (USA, EU, Germany, UK) and small (Sweden). If he ever makes it back to Sweden, he is going to have to keep saying what they want to hear or else be dropped back into obscurity.

- Gui Minhai must surely know what his biggest problem is -- he is a 'fake.' In the west, the case of the Hong Kong booksellers represents Chinese interference with freedom of speech by pro-democracy activists who wanted to bring the truth out to the people. Gui and all those in that industry know that they are actually fabricating lies in order to make lots of money. It is not easy to get up every day and pretend to be a fighter for freedom and democracy when he is nothing of the sort.

- It is as if someone working at the National Enquirer has to tell everyone all the time that he is really in the truth business. How does he keep a straight face about those UFO abduction reports?

- (RTHK) February 10, 2018. Alliance To Support Patriotic Democratic Movements In China chairman Albert Ho Chun-yan said that Gui Minhai was merely following a script in his interview. He said that Gui performed like a robot and Ho thought that this was pitiable.

- Is this the same Albert Ho Chun-yan who "wholeheartedly" believed in Lam ("Staple King") Tsz-kin (#775)?

- (Oriental Daily) February 10, 2018. In response to Gui Minhai's SCMP/Oriental Daily interview, Sweden's foreign ministry said that whatever Gui Minhai said will not stop Sweden from continuing to demand his release. They emphasize that the United States, the European Union, Germany and others are also demanding his release. Sweden will continue to demand Gui be allowed to see Swedish diplomats and doctors, and reunite with his family.

- In the CCTV interview, Gui Minhai said, "Although I am a Swedish citizen, I still feel that I am Chinese. My roots are still in China. Therefore I hope Sweden can respect my personal choice, my rights and my privacy, and let me deal with my problems."

Sorry, but that is not going to happen because the Swedish government knows what citizen Gui really really wants -- to be permitted to go home to Sweden, to receive the 2018 IPA Prix Voltaire and to continue to deliver numerous speeches with his daughter Angela all over the world to advocate freedom of speech in China/Hong Kong. That is what citizen Gui really wants PERIOD.

- If citizen Gui demurs, then it is just that he doesn't know what he really wants yet.  The Swedish government will make him see the light, one way or the other.

- Dear Gui Minhai, you and your daughter Angela have been railroaded by Sweden. The only way that you can stop them is to renounce your Swedish citizenship.

- But the Swedish government will say that you were coerced into renouncing your Swedish citizenship and therefore you will always be a Swedish citizen for them. Thus, they will continue to demand your release for medical treatment of incurable diseases.

- Yes, this is just like the male who won't take no for an answer.

- (Ministry of Foreign Affairs, People's Republic of China) February 12, 2018.

Q: The Swedish citizen Gui Minhai was interviewed by some Chinese media at the end of last week. Can you tell us whether he was forced to accept it or freely? After this interview, the Swedish government again reiterated its request for the Chinese government to release Gui Minhai. What is China's position?

A: I believe that you have all seen Gui Minhai's interview with the media. During the interview, Gui Minhai's attitude and will was unequivocal. With regard to the reaction of the Swedish side, I want to point out that as Gui Minhai violated the Chinese law, his case must be dealt with in accordance with the Chinese law. The Swedish side has repeatedly requested the Chinese side to release him, which grossly intervenes China's judicial sovereignty. The Chinese side has on many occasions lodged stern representations with the Swedish side on this.

(Oriental Daily) January 31, 2018.

In response to an inquiry from legislative councilor Gary Chan Hak-kan, the Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Department said that they have spent a total of $462,000 during 2015-2016 to remove banners that were illegally displayed in the country parks.

In 2015, 2016 and 2017, there were 3, 4 and 3 cases respectively. On January 4, 2015, there was a 1-meter-wide 5-meter-long "I want genuine universal suffrage" vertical banner on Sharp Peak, Sai Kung. The Government Flying Service helicopter made three trips over 3.3 hours for a cost of $105,546 without accounting for salaries.

On December 30, 2017, there was a 3-meter-wide, 25-meter-long "Defend Hong Kong" vertical banner on Lion Rock. The Government Flying Service helicopter made 2 trips over 1.8 hours for a cost of $81,000, in addition to four fire department vehicles, mountain-climbing gear and altitude rescue equipment.

The Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Department said that the Cap 208 Country Parks Ordinance prohibits the behavior with a maximum penalty of a $2,000 fine and/or three months in jail. However, the perpetrators of these 10 cases have not been identified so far.

(Oriental Daily) February 5, 2018.

There were three black vertical banners hanging down the outside of the Foo Tak Building in Wanchai, Hong Kong Island. The middle one has the words: "Don't want DQ, give me back my election right."

Hong Kong Demosisto said on Facebook that this action is to remind citizens that the election is still going on but many political figures were disqualified because of the government's political screening and thought censorship. The signatures (?) showed that the people clearly opposed the government from taking away their will for freedom. According to information, Hong Kong Demosisto office is in the Foo Tak Building.

Internet comments:

- They said that they want their 選舉權 (right to election) back. That is ambiguous because it could mean the right to vote or the right to be elected. They don't seem to realize this. So they should be using 參選權 (right to run in election). But what do you expect from a bunch of university undergraduates at third-rate schools.

- No no no, you are wrong. They meant their right to vote for whosoever they want. But their choice is being restricted by the politically motivated Returning Officers. They are saying that they can vote for Adolf Hitler if they want and you shouldn't deny them of their inalienable right to do so.

- Eh, that writing on the wall is just plain awful. The proportions of the parts within the words are wrong. Who do they hire to write it? Kindergarten children?

- When you take an action, you should assess its effectiveness. Have you achieved total or even partial victory by hanging out these banners?

- Has the foundation of the Chinese Communist Party been shaken up after hanging so many banners over the years? Do you sense that they are worried?

- Hanging out a vertical banner from your office window. I hope that you have reached agreement with the tenants downstairs beforehand. It is very bad luck to have your windows covered in black during the Lunar New Year, because it does not augur well.

- Of course, everybody is waiting for the unplanned accident to happen. And it will happen sooner of later. For example, a fireman may fall off the cliff during the removal process. Or a helicopters. Or a banner falls down on the street to obscure the vision of a bus driver.

If and when that happens, here is how they will respond: "This banner would not be there if the regime did not take the action that is being protested against. Therefore the regime bears full responsibility for the accident. Carrie Lam must resign! The Chinese Communist Party must apologize!"

- Selfishness and irresponsibility. The hallmarks of Demosisto and League of Social Democrats.

- And who gets to pay the bill? The people of Hong Kong.

- It's only $500,000 or so, which works out to be only 7 cents per person. This is a very small price to pay for our FREEDOM, DEMOCRACY, HUMAN RIGHTS and UNIVERSAL VALUES.

- The vertical banner outside an office building is a form of vertical structure. But prosecution by the Buildings Department is reserved solely for government officials such as Teresa Cheng. Pro-democracy activists (such as Paul Zimmerman, Jimmy Lai, Claudia Mo, Demosisto etc) can do the same with impunity because of FREEDOM, DEMOCRACY, HUMAN RIGHTS and UNIVERSAL VALUES.

- If the Buildings Department issues a summons to Demosisto, they will go to the US Senate Committee on Foreign Relations and complain about a violation of Article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights of the United Nations: Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers.

- Actually, Demosisto is the renter. Does the landlord know? This is important because it is the landlord who will be penalized for illegal structures that pose an immediate danger to the public.

- The Demosisto banner talks about the right to be elected. The disqualification was based upon the Demosisto policy platform for advocating Hong Kong independence in contravention of the Basic Law. Why won't Demosisto talk about the right of the people of Hong Kong to choose independence for themselves? Do they still harbor any illusions? They should really come out with a categorical affirmation or denial. Instead they are still wriggling around.

- It warms my heart on this coldest day of the year to see Demosisto finally take up the fight on behalf of Frederick Fung who was disqualified for politically motivated reasons (see #858).

(Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the People's Republic of China) January 29, 2018.

Q: British Prime Minister Theresa May is about to visit China. Can you give us more information regarding her schedule and China's expectation?

A: We announced Prime Minister Theresa May's visit last week. The year of 2017 marked the 45th anniversary of the establishment of China-UK ambassadorial diplomatic ties. During their successful meeting at the sidelines of the G20 Hamburg Summit, President Xi Jinping and Prime Minister Theresa May reached important consensus on developing the China-UK relations in the next stage. Premier Li Keqiang and Prime Minister Theresa May also exchanged congratulatory letters with each other on the 45th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic ties at ambassadorial level, reaffirming their shared aspiration to develop bilateral relations.

This visit marks the first annual China-UK Prime Ministers' meeting following President Xi Jinping's historic state visit to the UK in 2015. It is also Prime Minister May's first official visit to China after she took office. China attaches great importance to it. During the visit, Chinese leaders will meet and hold talks with Prime Minister May on separate occasions and exchange in-depth views on bilateral relations and regional and international issues of mutual concern. Prime Minister May will also visit Shanghai and Wuhan, Hubei Province.

As the visit draws near, the two sides are in close communication on its schedule and outcomes. We look forward to achieving fruitful outcomes, including stepping up political mutual trust, expanding practical cooperation in trade and all other fields, and enhancing communication and coordination on major international and regional issues. We stand ready to work with the British side to take this visit as an opportunity to achieve new development of the China-UK global comprehensive strategic partnership for the 21st century.

Q: Do you think the UK has achieved its goal of becoming China's closest partner in the West now? Second, does China welcome a dialogue with Prime Minister Theresa May on human rights issues during her visit to China?

A: Cooperation can always be bettered. As to whether China and Britain have become the closest partners, we may need to wait and see how Prime Minister May's visit this time plays out. The position of the Chinese side is very clear. We are willing to develop increasingly closer and friendly cooperative relations with all countries in the world, including the United Kingdom.

On the human rights issue, China is willing to conduct exchanges and dialogues with other countries around the world. However, such exchanges and dialogues must be based on equality and mutual respect. No country in the world can claim to be perfect on human rights. We hope that countries could learn from each other and make progress together through equal-footed and mutually respectful exchanges, dialogues and cooperation.

(SCMP) January 30, 2018.

The last British governor of Hong Kong Chris Patten on Monday urged his prime minister to speak up for the city during her first state visit to China, saying the former colony faced increasing threats to “basic freedoms, human rights and autonomy”.

In a letter sent to Theresa May, Patten and his fellow British peer Paddy Ashdown encouraged her to insist on “the continued validity of the Sino-British Joint Declaration and the principles of ‘one country, two systems’” during her meetings with President Xi Jinping and other Chinese leaders.

“In the past five years Hong Kong has seen increasing threats to the basic freedoms, human rights and autonomy which the people were promised at the handover just over 20 years ago,” Patten and Ashdown wrote.

They said the UK should not shirk its responsibility to Hong Kong while building ties with China, which May will visit from January 31 to February 2.

“We hope that ... you will be able to provide the people of Hong Kong with some assurance that our developing relationship with China, vital though it is, will not come at the cost of our obligation to them,” the letter read.

(Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the People's Republic of China) January 30, 2018.

Q: Yesterday, Chris Patten, former British Governor of Hong Kong, had sent a letter to British Prime Minister Theresa May in which he expressed concern that Hong Kong is facing increasing threats to the basic freedoms, human rights and autonomy that its people were promised during the 1997 handover. He urged Prime Minister Theresa May to address this sort of concerns during her visit here. Does China have any comment on that?

A: Since the return of Hong Kong, "one country, two systems", "Hong Kong people governing Hong Kong" and a high degree of autonomy have been effectively implemented. The Chinese government exercises overall jurisdiction over Hong Kong as mandated by China's Constitution and the Hong Kong Basic Law. Hong Kong is a special administrative region of China. Hong Kong affairs belong to China's internal affairs. China firmly opposes the interference of any foreign government, institution and individual in the affairs of Hong Kong. This position cannot be clearer.

(The Guardian) The UK promised us Hong Kong would never walk alone – Theresa May has to keep that promise. By Joshua Wong. January 31, 2018.

In 1996, on the eve of handover, the British prime minister, John Major, vowed: “Hong Kong will never have to walk alone”.

With Xi Jinping refusing to respect the autonomy and freedoms Hong Kong was guaranteed after its return to Chinese control, it now falls to Major’s Conservative party heir, Theresa May, to make good on that pledge.

Let me explain why.

Two years ago, we founded our political party, Demosisto, hoping to strengthen Hong Kong’s youth democracy force that came together during 2014’s “umbrella movement” protests. The peaceful, 79-day demonstrations failed to win any major concessions from Beijing but they did show us the potential our generation had to make a meaningful difference.

To build on that momentum, we thought it was worth trying to enter the political establishment. And that was precisely what we did when our friend and chairperson, Nathan Law, was elected in September 2016 aged 23.

But two months later came Beijing’s use of its controversial power to “interpret” Hong Kong’s mini-constitution, the Basic Law. Two “localist” legislators accused of having separatist tendencies were barred from office for using vulgar language and waving “Hong Kong is not China” banners during the swearing-in ceremony.

The following year, four progressive legislators were also removed on the same grounds. Nathan was one of them: he had quoted Gandhi and declared his refusal to obey “a regime that murders its own people” before reading his oath.

The byelections, set to take place on 11 March, are supposed to fill the seats vacated by Beijing’s relentless crackdown. Nathan is unable to stand because of his recent sentencing on political charges related to the umbrella movement so Demosisto instead decided to field Agnes Chow, a fellow student activist leader.

Agnes met every requirement to stand in the election and looked set to break Nathan’s record as Hong Kong’s youngest legislator. But then, last Saturday, her candidacy was declared invalid due to her support for the idea of Hong Kong’s right to self-determination.

The decision was a textbook example of how unfair, uncompetitive elections – where only candidates pre-screened the government appears on the ballot – work. Advertisement

What’s more, Demosisto does not even advocate separatism and has repeatedly emphasised the true meaning of “self-determination”: an opportunity for Hong Kongers to decide and determine, through democratic means, the territory’s political status and its future.

There’s no doubt that the Chinese government is waging a full-fledged crackdown on Demosisto. Our chairperson was already unreasonably removed from the legislature, while several of our most prominent figures have been imprisoned over the past year for participating in civil disobedience. Saturday’s decision gives us good reason to believe that no member of our party can take part in future elections.

With Beijing’s ever-tightening grip, the opposition camp in Hong Kong is left with less and less space to survive: the exact same stance deemed acceptable in 2016 is unacceptable in 2018. Agnes is hardly the first victim – and she will not be the last. As the remaining voices for civil disobedience are suppressed, the political spectrum narrows even further.

Theresa May must use her time with “Emperor Xi” this week to stand up for Hong Kong’s rights, before it is too late.

(Global Times) February 1, 2018.

British Prime Minister Theresa May is visiting China, seeking to expand pragmatic collaboration with the country so as to pave the way for future trade and investment deals.

However, some Western media outlets keep pestering May to criticize Beijing in an attempt to showcase that the UK has withstood pressure from China and the West has consolidated its commanding position over the country in politics.

Certain democracy activists in Hong Kong also intervened. In an open letter published Wednesday, Joshua Wong urged May to "stand up for Hong Kong's rights," claiming that London vowed "Hong Kong will never have to walk alone" in 1996. Taking advantage of Western forces to confront the central government is a long-term illusion of the radical Hong Kong opposition.

Some Western media outlets eagerly hoped that French President Emmanuel Macron would denounce China during his Beijing trip last month, but Macron disappointed them.

May will definitely not make any comment contrary to the goals of her China trip either. For the prime minister, the losses outweigh the gains if she appeases the British media at the cost of the visit's friendly atmosphere.

Europe's rational upgrade of comprehensive cooperation with China is an irreversible trend. Europeans must overcome prejudices and negative sentiments toward China. Radical voices are often heard in European public opinion on China-related issues, but they do not represent Sino-European relations and will gradually die down in the face of realistic needs. European governments have become increasingly clear-minded, and should guide public opinion in this regard.

Developing friendly cooperation with China has become the mainstream in Europe, and major European countries are actually competing to collaborate with Beijing. A large trade volume with China is widely regarded as a political achievement, and meanwhile tensions with China have increasingly become a political burden. Some media's radical advocacy has already lost its appeal.

The UK government has done work to shape public opinion for May's China trip. British Ambassador to China Barbara Woodward said ahead of May's visit that Britain has kept a steadfast and steady commitment to the "Golden Era" partnership with China, stressing that the country is a "natural partner" for China's Belt and Road initiative. May's enthusiastic and positive remarks about China have led European media's coverage of the trip in a positive direction.

Like its participation in the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB), Britain's joining the Belt and Road initiative conforms to its national interests. While the government is responsible for public well-being, the media tends to whip up sensations while disregarding sound international relations.

Some European media pressed May and Macron on human rights, but the two leaders sidestepped the topic on their China trip. This shows that the Sino-European relationship has, to a large degree, extricated itself from the impact of radical public opinion.

China's robust development has instilled impetus for Europe to overcome its prejudices against Beijing. David Cameron's government gained Britain strategic initiative by joining the AIIB. In May's era, Sino-British relations have the conditions for strategic breakthroughs. We hope May's visit this time can function as a key to future Beijing-London cooperation.

(The Guardian) January 31, 2018.

Theresa May has insisted she will raise human rights and Hong Kong’s political situation with China’s leaders this week, amid criticism of Britain’s “pusillanimous” response to Beijing’s increasingly hard line.

Addressing reporters as she flew out to start a three-city tour of China, the British prime minister, who will dine with President Xi Jinping on Thursday, vowed to broach both politically sensitive issues.

“We believe that the future of Hong Kong should be a ‘one country, two systems’ future and we are committed to that,” said May, referring to the formula that guaranteed the former colony’s political freedoms after handover in 1997.

Despite her pledge to raise Hong Kong and human rights, few expect May to publicly challenge Xi on either issue. British officials are dismissive of the value of “megaphone diplomacy” and argue raising individual cases behind closed doors is more effective.

Beijing will also give short shrift to any criticism, public or private. On Monday, a foreign ministry spokeswoman indicated the shape of future UK-China relations depended on May’s adherence to the party line. “As to whether China and Britain have become the closest partners, we may need to wait and see how prime minister May’s visit this time plays out,” Hua Chunying told a press briefing.

Steve Tsang, the head of the School of Oriental and African Studies’ China Institute, predicted human rights and Hong Kong would rank low on May’s agenda. “[Beijing] would not tolerate that … The Chinese government’s position is very clear. It’s very hard to see the prime minister and her advisers advising her to pay the price and stand up against that.”

(Reuters) February 2, 2018.

British Prime Minister Theresa May landed in China earlier this week fending off questions about her future amid mounting accusations of poor leadership, boring policies, and weakness over Brexit.

By Friday the 61-year old leader was basking in a warm reception from the leaders of world’s second-largest economy, while concerned Chinese citizens affectionately nicknamed her ‘Aunty May’ and worried if her legs were warm enough in the Beijing cold.

May brought up awkward issues like democracy in Hong Kong, human rights and ethical concerns about Xi’s Belt and Road initiative, but was praised as “pragmatic” by the Global Times for not pressing the issue in public. “For the prime minister, the losses outweigh the gains if she appeases the British media at the cost of the visit’s friendly atmosphere,” the paper wrote in an editorial on Friday.

Internet comments:

- After all the hubbub from Joshua Wong, Paddy Ashdown and Chris Patten, nothing came out of Theresa May's mouth in public about freedom and democracy in Hong Kong. If she had brought it up with Xi Jinping in front of the media, she will find Xi being suddenly called away from the State Dinner due to emergency and she would be hosted instead by a Mongolian-speaking deputy undersecretary of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

- (China Culture Corner) Face or Mianzi.

In China and much of Asia, Face represents a person’s reputation and feelings of prestige within multiple spheres, including the workplace, the family, personal friends, and society at large. The concept of Face can be understood more easily by breaking it down into three separate components: the individual view, the community view, and actions.

The “individual view” pertains to the amount of prestige individuals feel based on their accomplishments, and the amount of respect they feel they are due based on their position and status, such as in a company or the home. For example, in the modern Chinese economy there are many opportunities to buy status symbols, which help a person gain prestige. And in China’s hierarchy-focused society, the respect a person is due is determined first by status relative to another person’s, not necessarily by personal achievements.

The “community view” pertains to the amount of respect individuals feel necessary to give to someone else based upon that person’s position or status, such as in a business, the family unit or within a group or friends. For example, status in a Chinese family is divided by very distinct roles; there are even separate terms used to address older and younger cousins, aunts, and uncles. Giving the same amount of respect to older and younger aunts or uncles might be viewed as a serious breach of etiquette.

“Actions” pertain to the various activities that can cause an individual to gain or lose Face. Based upon one’s position relative to someone else, several different actions can be employed to either cause a loss or gain of Face. In some cases these actions might occur unintentionally, or instead be used as tactic to achieve a specific result. For example, giving someone Face (e.g. more than they might deserve) can be used to build relationships and influence decisions. Also, causing someone to lose Face can reinforce one’s own authority and status, or pressure someone toward a desired action, such as quitting their job or fulfilling a promise.

- (SCMP) February 2, 2018.

May told Xi when they met in Beijing on Thursday that the world had a collective responsibility to do more to tackle plastic waste “on behalf of future generations”. China is the world’s biggest producer of plastic, and plastic waste.

Big bad China, then. But there is also this:

China meanwhile banned imports of foreign waste from the start of the year because of environmental and health concerns. That has caused a crisis for waste disposal and recycling around the world, including the United Kingdom, which used to send two-thirds of its plastic waste – or approximately 500,000 tonnes a year – to China for recycling.

- At this point, we don't know and we will never know for sure what, if anything, Theresa May said behind closed doors. My bet is that they went through the ritualized game of each side stating its position and agreeing to disagree.

Thus, Theresa May said that the United Kingdom has an obligation under the Joint Sino-British Declaration to continue to pay attention to One Country Two Systems and A High Degree of Autonomy in Hong Kong. Xi Jinping replied that the matters of Hong Kong are strictly internal matters for China and that China rejects all foreign intervention. And then they sat down and have tea while discussing the fortunes of Manchester United.

- Auntie May could not say more than certain generalities. She can't tell Xi Jinping that she thinks Agnes Chow Ting must not be disqualified, or that Lau Siu-lai's oath of office must be accepted, or that HK SAR Chief Executive Carrie Lam must not to criticize "foreign meddling," or that the people of Hong Kong must hold a referendum to decide their own future. If Auntie May said these things, she would really be micro-managing and meddling in Hong Kong.

On the flip side, China has expressed concern about Brexit. But China will not tell the United Kingdom whether they should have done it, or how they should go about doing it, because that is an internal matter for the United Kingdom.

(Marco Rubio, US Senator for Florida) February 1, 2018.

Senator Marco Rubio and Representative Chris Smith, the chair and cochair respectively of the bipartisan Congressional-Executive Commission on China (CECC), led a bipartisan, bicameral group of lawmakers in nominating Joshua Wong, Nathan Law, Alex Chow and the entire pro-democracy Umbrella Movement in Hong Kong for the 2018 Nobel Peace Prize. In addition to the Chairs, the letter to the Nobel Prize Committee was signed by Senators Gary Peters (D-MI), Steve Daines (R-MT), and Cory Gardner (R-CO) and Representatives Elliot Engel (D-NY), Dana Rohrabacher (R-CA), Brad Sherman (D-CA), Mark Meadows (R-NC), Marcy Kaptur (D-OH), Randy Hultgren (R-IL), and Ann Wagner (R-MO). The entire letter can be found here and below.

“This nomination could not be more timely as Hong Kong’s long-cherished autonomy continues to erode, and Umbrella Movement leaders face reprisals simply for espousing basic human rights and freedoms,” said Senator Rubio. “Joshua Wong and his fellow pro-democracy advocates have been unflinching in their peaceful and principled commitment to a free and prosperous Hong Kong. They are an inspiration and their cause has reverberations far beyond their city.”

“We all owe Hong Kong’s Umbrella Movement a debt of gratitude,” said Representative Smith. “In the tradition of all great Nobel Peace Prize laureates, they continue to hold up a mirror to the ugly face of authoritarianism and show us again that the desire for democracy and human rights are universal ideals, shared by all people, everywhere. How fitting would it be for Hong Kong’s champions of freedom to receive the peace prize a year after the death of Nobel Laureate Liu Xiaobo. It would be both a fitting tribute and a reminder that the struggle for democracy and rights are not alien to the people of mainland China, but an indelible part of their great history and culture—and an important part of their future.”


January 31, 2018

Berit Reiss-Anderson Chair Nobel Peace Prize Committee NO-0255 Oslo Norway

Dear Chair Reiss-Anderson and Members of the Nobel Peace Prize Committee:

We, the undersigned members of the United States Congress, respectfully nominate Joshua Wong Chi-fung, Nathan Law Kwun-chung, Alex Chow Yong-kang, and the entire pro-democracy movement in Hong Kong, collectively known as the “Umbrella Movement,” to receive the 2018 Nobel Peace Prize in recognition of their peaceful efforts to bring political reform and self-determination to Hong Kong and protect the autonomy and freedom guaranteed Hong Kong in the Sino-British Joint Declaration.

Hong Kong’s pro-democracy leaders, politicians and young people took to the streets in the fall of 2014 in response to a decision issued by the National People’s Congress Standing Committee (NPCSC) which ruled that only candidates endorsed by a pro-Beijing nominating committee could run as a candidate for the Chief Executive position in Hong Kong’s government. Article 45 of the Basic Law—Hong Kong’s constitutional document—provides that “the ultimate aim is the selection of the Chief Executive by universal suffrage upon nomination by a broadly representative nominating committee.” The United Nations Human Rights Committee has repeatedly urged Hong Kong to enact reforms to implement elections by universal suffrage, in accordance with article 25 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), which applies to Hong Kong under Article 39 of the Basic Law.

Through their respective leadership roles, Wong, Law, Chow, along with other pro-democracy politicians and supporters who took part in the largest pro-democracy protests in Hong Kong’s history, demonstrated civic courage, extraordinary leadership, and an unwavering commitment to a free and prosperous Hong Kong that upholds the rule of law, political freedoms and human rights.

Hong Kong’s pro-democracy advocates have made significant contributions to peace by actively seeking to safeguard the future of Hong Kong at precisely the time that Beijing has taken steps to undermine Hong Kong’s long-cherished autonomy. They have shown great courage in the face of harassment, threats, detention, and legal and financial repercussions. In their writings, speeches and political activism they have boldly challenged the central government’s steady erosion of the “one country, two systems” model prescribed in the Basic Law, which stipulates that the political system practiced in China would not be extended to Hong Kong and that its economic system and way of life would be protected.

Wong, 21, founded the student activist group Scholarism in 2011 at the age of 15, and successfully organized protests in 2012 against the controversial pro-Beijing “moral and national education” school curriculum and later spearheaded efforts to garner support for universal suffrage. His efforts, buoyed by his charismatic leadership and unflinching pursuit of peaceful change landed him on TIME Magazine and Fortune lists of the most influential leaders in the world. Just this month he was awarded the prestigious Lantos Human Rights Prize by the Lantos Foundation for Human Rights and Justice.

Law, 24, promoted universal suffrage as a student activist at Lingnan University where he served as student union chief. He was elected Secretary General of the Hong Kong Federation of Students (HKFS), the city’s oldest and largest student body, in March 2015. In 2016, Law, Wong, and other Umbrella Movement leaders formed a new political party, Demosisto. He successfully campaigned and won election to Hong Kong’s Legislative Council (LegCo) at age 23, making him the youngest lawmaker in the history of Hong Kong’s legislature.

Chow, 27, mobilized students to peaceful protest as a leader at the University of Hong Kong and served as Secretary General of the HKFS.

Hong Kong’s pro-democracy Umbrella Movement is a multi-generational effort, drawing on decades of struggle to preserve and advance democratic freedoms in Hong Kong before and after the handover from Britain to China. Such leaders include Martin Lee, Emily Lau, Albert Ho, Alan Leong, Leung Kwok-hung, Christine Loh, Benny Tai, Chu Yiu-ming, Lester Shum, Johannes Chan, Anson Chan and many others.

The Umbrella Movement leaders face increasing pressure, detention, and financial penalties for their advocacy for democracy and human rights. By July 2017, Law and five other democratically elected legislators were disqualified from their LegCo seats after the Chinese central government issued an interpretation of the Basic Law deeming certain previously acceptable oath-taking behaviors undertaken by legislators as punishable by disqualification. Wong, Law, and Chow were convicted on trumped-up charges of “unlawful assembly” for their activities during the Umbrella Movement and were given sentences of community service. After Wong and Law completed these sentences, the Hong Kong government sought tougher punishments against the three, resulting in sentences of six to eight months in jail, which makes the three ineligible for running for public office for five years. The three were released on bail on appeal currently before the Court of Final Appeal and they face additional charges and tremendous legal costs that threaten to bankrupt them. Just this month, Joshua was sentenced to an additional three months in prison for his role in the Umbrella Movement. Continued harsh measures against pro-democracy advocates will no doubt have a chilling effect.

While the democracy movement in Hong Kong faces tremendous opposition from the Chinese Communist Party and the Hong Kong government, these young leaders have continued their fight to improve the welfare of Hong Kong. Since their release from prison, the trio started working with LegCo members on prison reform legislation.

Wong, Law, and Chow and the entire Umbrella Movement embody the peaceful aspirations of the people of Hong Kong who yearn to see their autonomies and way of life protected and their democratic aspirations fulfilled. Such yearnings are not unique to the citizens of Hong Kong. Countless others around the world, including in mainland China, aspire to the same ideals but their voices are silenced and their protests forbidden. The Umbrella Movement and its leadership are acting in the long tradition of previous Nobel Peace Prize Laureates who captured the imagination of their fellow countrymen and sought principled and peaceful change from within. Joshua Wong’s sentiments on Twitter immediately after the announcement of his prison sentence capture well the optimistic and persistent spirit that animates their efforts: “The government can lock up our bodies but they cannot lock up our minds! We want democracy in Hong Kong. And we will not give up.”

We deeply appreciated the Nobel Committee’s past willingness to brave the displeasure, and outright retribution, of the Chinese Communist Party and government in awarding the prize to Chinese political prisoner Liu Xiaobo, who last year became the first Peace Prize recipient to die in state custody since Carl von Ossietzky, the German pacifist and opponent of Nazism who won the prize in 1935 and died under guard in 1938. Liu Xiaobo’s unjust imprisonment, and ultimately his death, serve as a stark reminder of China’s authoritarianism and deep disregard for universally-recognized human rights—realities that Wong, Law, and Chow seek to preserve for the city they love.

We can think of no one more deserving of the Committee’s recognition in 2018 than these champions of peace and freedom and Hong Kong’s entire pro-democracy movement.


Internet comments:

- Nobel Peace Prize Process of Nomination and Selection:

According to the statutes of the Nobel Foundation, a nomination is considered valid if it is submitted by a person who falls within one of the following categories:

Members of national assemblies and national governments (cabinet members/ministers) of sovereign states as well as current heads of states
Members of The International Court of Justice in The Hague and The Permanent Court of Arbitration in The Hague
Members of Institut de Droit International
University professors, professors emeriti and associate professors of history, social sciences, law, philosophy, theology, and religion; university rectors and university directors (or their equivalents); directors of peace research institutes and foreign policy institutes
Persons who have been awarded the Nobel Peace Prize
Members of the main board of directors or its equivalent for organizations that have been awarded the Nobel Peace Prize
Current and former members of the Norwegian Nobel Committee (proposals by current members of the Committee to be submitted no later than at the first meeting of the Committee after 1 February)
Former advisers to the Norwegian Nobel Committee

The candidates eligible for the Nobel Peace Prize are those persons or organizations nominated by qualified individuals, see above. A nomination for yourself will not be taken into consideration.

The statutes of the Nobel Foundation restrict disclosure of information about the nominations, whether publicly or privately, for 50 years. The restriction concerns the nominees and nominators, as well as investigators and opinions related to the award of a prize.

In recent years, the Norwegian Nobel Committee has received close to 200 different nominations for the Nobel Peace Prize.

The Norwegian Nobel Committee is responsible for the selection of eligible candidates and the choice of the Nobel Peace Prize Laureates. The Committee is composed of five members appointed by the Storting (Norwegian parliament).

- The threshold for getting a nomination is pretty low. In the United States, the national assembly consists of 100 members of the Senate and 435 members of the Congress. They only need one to sign, but they actually got 12 (=2%) out of 535 to sign this letter. So this is a terrific response. It shows that the people of the United States of America are totally behind the Umbrella Revolution in Hong Kong.

- There are many more than the cited 200 submissions each year. They screen the nominations and eliminate those who are either ineligible (Adolf Hitler is dead) or fictional (Hannibal Lecter) or prankish (Stephen Chow Sing-chi). The committee then reduces the 200 submissions to the shortlist for further consideration. What are their criteria? We don't know, because confidentiality requires this to be a black box operation.

- Unfortunately, Hong Kong is not a nation or else any Hong Kong legislative councilor can nominate anyone for the Nobel Peace Prize: Martin Lee, Leung Kwok-hung, Benny Tai, Eric Cheung Tat-ming, Tung Chee-hwa, Donald Tsang, CY Leung, Ko Tat-bun, Leticia Lee, David Berkowitz, Cliven Bundy, LeBron James, Edward Snowden, Julian Assange, etc. Wouldn't that be fun?

- Hong Kong has 36 persons who were elected as deputies to the National People's Congress. Therefore these 36 persons are eligible to nominate someone. However, none of these 36 persons would think it to be proper to exploit the Nobel Peace Prize for selfish purposes.

- The Norwegian Nobel Committee won't publicly discuss, acknowledge or deny a nomination. So you can always release the letter to the public which has the right to know, with the knowledge that you won't be contradicted.

- The Democratic People's Republic of Korea can do a lot better percentage-wise because all 687 members of its Supreme People's Assembly will surely sign a letter to nominate their Supreme Leader Kim Jong-un for the Nobel Peace Prize.

For the past few years, Kim Jong-un has been bringing us peace the same way as 1973 Nobel Peace Prize winners Henry Kissinger and Le Duc Tho did (see History Lessons). So Kim should deserves to get his own prize.

- This is post #862. Post #001 began at the same time as Occupy Central with Love and Peace. With due respect, there is no much love and peace in Hong Kong between #001 and #862. And a Nobel Peace Prize should be given to whoever created this? This is even more perverse than the case of Henry Kissinger and Le Duc Tho.

- There were two revolutions in Hong Kong since 2014.

The first was the Umbrella Revolution with leaders being the groups Occupy Central With Love and Peace, the Hong Kong Federation of Students and Scholarism. At the end of 79 days of Occupy, more than 80% of the population were turned against them. When the sites were finally cleared, they had accomplished nothing. They managed to sabotage one-person-one-vote in favor of a small-circle election for the Chief Executive election later.

The second was the Fishball Revolution led by the group Hong Kong Indigenous on Lunar New Year's Day in 2016. During that night of rioting, 99 police officers were injured. This revolution managed to destroy the cause of Localism.

Rubio-Smith are favoring the Umbrella Revolution while completely ignoring the Fishball Revolution.

- Rubio-Smith can make up for this inadvertent mistake by nominating Ray Wong Toi-yeung and Edward Leung Tin-kei next year. Of course, the interesting question is whether the fugitive Wong will emerge from wherever he is hiding to receive his Nobel Peace Prize (and US$1,000,000 prize money).

- Pity the Norwegian salmon producers who will have to worry about another bust.

(Quartz) June 14, 2017.

Norway is the world’s biggest producer of salmon. But hardly any of it goes to China, the biggest consumer of seafood.

Since the Nobel Prize was awarded to human rights activist Liu Xiaobo in 2010—at a ceremony in Oslo where the award was famously placed on an empty chair as Liu was in prison in China—Norway, and its fish, have been given the cold shoulder in China. In 2010, the country almost accounted for all of China’s salmon imports, according to data from the Norwegian government and DNB Markets, a Norwegian bank. Since then, its salmon exports to the mainland have plummeted, and by 2015 even the Faroe Islands, Norway’s tiny Nordic neighbor, was exporting more salmon to China.

In December 2016, the two countries made a breakthrough when they normalized relations after Norway’s foreign minister visited Beijing. China said that Norway had “deeply reflected upon the reasons bilateral mutual trust was harmed.”

Last month, Norway’s seafood industry appeared to get the firmest sign yet that the Chinese market would be fully opened back to them when a delegation visited China and signed a seafood trade agreement, with the aim of exporting $1.45 billion worth of salmon to China by 2025.

Ivar Kolstad, an economist, calculated in a paper for Norwegian think-tank CMI that the freeze in Norway-China relations cost Norway $780 million to $1.3 billion in exports and said that China had become “too big to fault,” according to the Financial Times.

It seems to have had results—in 2015, no Norwegian government members would meet with Tibetan spiritual leader the Dalai Lama, who is labeled as a separatist by Beijing, when he visited the country.

“The Norwegian administration took some domestic criticism for submitting to Chinese pressure in recent years,” said the researcher, and if a salmon deal hadn’t been achieved “all that China-friendliness can be perceived as delivering no results.”

- Previously, the Yellow Ribbon media were pushing "Joshua: Teenager vs. Superpower", a film about Joshua Wong Chi-fung, to be nominated as Best Feature Documentary in the 2018 Oscar Awards (see EJ Insight, November 1, 2017). 170 titles were submitted to the US Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences. "Joshua: Teenager vs. Superpower" did not make the final five. So now it is time to move on to the next project to make Joshua Wong a superhero.

- (Hong Kong Free Press) February 7, 2018.

It is very heartening that twelve United States lawmakers nominated Joshua Wong, Nathan Law, Alex Chow and the Umbrella Movement for the Nobel Peace Prize.

The nomination comes at a time when the pro-democracy movement is under sustained attack by the Chinese Communist Party and Hong Kong government. Their primary means of attack are criminal prosecutions of pro-democracy leaders and activists and disqualifications from candidacy and elected office. Through these means, they have barred all groups which grew out of the Umbrella Movement from participating in the formal political system and are attempting to destroy the groups they find the most threatening. They intend especially to intimidate young people against getting involved in politics, in the classic Communist ploy of “killing the chicken to scare the monkeys.”

All three of the leaders singled out in the nomination were sentenced to prison (Joshua to 9 months in two different cases, Alex to seven, and Nathan to eight) in relation to their role in occupying Civic Square on September 26, 2014, triggering the start of the Umbrella Movement two days later. On February 6, their prison sentences were overturned by the Hong Kong Court of Final Appeal, nearly two years after the trial began on February 29, 2016. Joshua is now awaiting the appeal hearing of his other, three-month prison sentence. In addition, Nathan was disqualified from the Legislative Council along with five other pro-democracy lawmakers after having won the seats in the only democratic elections Hong Kong had.

It was especially gratifying that the US lawmakers praised the nominees for, among other things, fighting for self-determination in the very same week that the pro-democracy candidate for the Hong Kong Island Legislative Council by-election in March, Agnes Chow, was barred from running on the grounds that she and her party, Demosistō, advocate self-determination. She was seeking to fill the seat left vacant by the disqualification of Nathan. Self-determination is in fact a basic human right. According to the Hong Kong government, it does not comply with the Basic Law even though the international treaties which guarantee it are enshrined in the Basic Law.

But being politically persecuted—prosecuted, disqualified, intimidated, vilified and physically assaulted (assailants have been convicted for attacks on both Joshua and Nathan)— is in itself insufficient grounds for winning the Nobel Peace Prize.

True, the persecuted make up an illustrious list of laureates, including, just in recent decades, Liu Xiaobo, Shirin Ebadi, Kim Dae-jung, Nelson Mandela, Aung San Suu Kyi, Rigoberta Menchú, Desmond Tutu and Lech Walesa, and these, it’s safe to say, have been amongst the Norwegian Nobel Committee’s best choices. But they won not primarily because they were persecuted but because they were freedom fighters and human rights defenders under oppressive regimes.

Joshua, Nathan and Alex certainly fit that description, and there are plenty of positive reasons the three young men and the Umbrella Movement should join that revered group of laureates. The US lawmakers have already written an eloquent letter to the Norwegian Nobel Committee outlining those reasons, and the statement the three made in response to the nomination also makes their Peace Prize-deserving qualities abundantly clear.

Following on that, there are a few other arguments in their favor, which can be summarized in the following sentence: They are young people taking the future of their society into their own hands and collaboratively leading ordinary citizens in the long, hard, nonviolent struggle for democracy and self-determination.

The points in italics are discussed below.


The number one issue of our times is the global battle between democracy and authoritarianism. The world hangs in the balance: In the coming years and decades, it could easily become more authoritarian or more democratic. Other issues, such as climate change, must also be urgently addressed, but the question of whether the world goes in a more democratic or more authoritarian direction will have great bearing on that and all other urgent global issues.

As the most powerful dictatorship, China is the ringleader of a club of dictators who have a vested interest in ensuring the world goes in a more authoritarian direction. This club includes major countries like Russia, Turkey and Egypt.

Prominent democracies, such as the U.S., India and the Philippines, have leaders with authoritarian tendencies. Brazil and South Africa, major regional powers that have shown great democratic promise, have experienced democratic crises related to corruption. In large swaths of the Middle East and Central Asia, democracy is close to non-existent, and other areas such as Southeast Asia are not much better. Even the most democratic part of the world, Europe, has experienced challenges to democracy in a number of countries, most notably Hungary and Poland.

Both the Economist Intelligence Unit’s Democracy Index and the Freedom House Freedom in the World report have tracked the decline of democracy worldwide for upwards of a decade.

Giving the peace prize to Joshua, Nathan, Alex and the Umbrella Movement would be a recognition of the gravity of this issue and send a signal to people around the world of the importance of democracy. Hong Kong, being a “Special Administrative Region” in the world’s largest dictatorship, is on the front lines of the battle. Recent visits to Europe and the U.S. gave me the impression that Europeans and Americans don’t fully appreciate the threat that China poses to democracy worldwide. A Nobel Peace Prize to the Umbrella Movement would alert them to that.


Very few young people have won the Nobel Peace Prize. This is understandable: it often takes decades of work to bring about greater peace and justice. But it is important to recognize both the great contributions of young people to peace and their immense potential to bring about a more peaceful and more just world.

Young people were not the only ones who took part in the Umbrella Movement, but they certainly played a leading role. At a crucial moment in Hong Kong’s history, they stood up and said, I demand a say in my own society! What’s more, since then they’ve continued to do so, demonstrating admirable persistence, resilience, creativity, determination and courage. They are Hong Kong’s future. And while often little more than a well-worn platitude, it is nevertheless true that young people the world over are the future. In order to make the world a better, more peaceful place, it is necessary to tap their energy and ideals. Awarding the Peace Prize to Joshua, Nathan, Alex and the Umbrella Movement would be an inspiration to young people everywhere.

Nonviolent people’s movements

Malala Yousafzai is the only recent young Peace Prize laureate. She has admirably harnessed the notoriety gained from the near fatal attack on her to fight for education for girls worldwide. But Malala received the award as an individual, sharing the prize with Kailash Satyarthi.

The prize has most often gone to individuals, non-governmental organizations, politicians, and inter-governmental organizations (such as the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change and the International Atomic Energy Agency).

The Umbrella Movement came in the wake of the Arab Spring, which the Norwegian Nobel Committee has acknowledged, though with something of a sideways glance. The 2011 prize went to Yemeni activist Tawakkol Karman, together with the Liberians Ellen Johnson Sirleaf and Leymah Gbowee, “for their non-violent struggle for the safety of women and for women’s rights to full participation in peace-building work”. In 2015, the National Dialogue Quartet won the prize “for its decisive contribution to the building of a pluralistic democracy in Tunisia in the wake of the Jasmine Revolution of 2011”. While both awards had to do with people’s movements for democracy, one focused more on women’s participation and the other on a group that, once the movement had succeeded in toppling the dictator, played a crucial role in bringing about a transition to democracy.

Giving the prize to the Umbrella Movement and its young leaders would be recognition of the importance of ordinary citizens working together to peacefully bring about more just and democratic societies.

The long, hard nonviolent struggle

The Umbrella Movement did not achieve its main positive objective. In this, it is similar to other recent movements like the Arab Spring, the Iranian Green Movement, the Occupy movement, and the worldwide demonstrations against the invasion of Iraq in 2003.

An estimated 1.2 million people participated in the 79-day-long occupations of three hubs of Hong Kong in late 2014. Before that, going back to 2003, hundreds of thousands had demonstrated down through the years for basic rights and universal suffrage. And since then, the struggle continues.

A Peace Prize to the Umbrella Movement would send the message that the peaceful struggle for rights is long and hard, there are no easy victories, but it is necessary to keep on fighting.

It took Gandhi and the anti-colonial movement of India decades. It took King and the Civil Rights Movement of the U.S. years, and that struggle for full equality is still unfinished. How long will it take us against the biggest dictatorship in the world? How long will it take all the others struggling against authoritarian regimes the world over?

It’s up to us, the people, to fight on, but a Peace Prize to the Umbrella Movement would be a beacon of hope to all engaged in the long, hard nonviolent struggle for freedom and the right to make decisions for ourselves and our own societies.

Will the Norwegian Nobel Committee give the Nobel Peace Prize to Joshua, Nathan, Alex and the Umbrella Movement?

This is, of course, impossible to know. There are almost certainly many other worthy nominees.

The conventional wisdom is that it’s a long shot. In reaction to Liu Xiaobo receiving the Peace Prize in 2010, the Chinese government punished all of Norway. For six years, there was virtually no contact between the Chinese and Norwegian governments. During that time, the Norwegian government was pressured by its business community to come to terms with China. When the two countries signed an agreement at the end of 2016 to “normalize relations”, many saw Norway as capitulating to China, and, in doing so, betraying its own values.

I was in Norway last summer before Liu Xiaobo’s death and spoke with many Norwegians about this. They felt somewhat uneasy about what their government had done but few criticized it. They thought it had made a pragmatic decision and got the best deal it could. It didn’t necessarily mean, they believed, that Norway would no longer stand up for rights abroad.

I took this general attitude to be the result of the years-long lobbying effort by the Norwegian business community, lead by its fish farmers. Norway believed it needed better relations with China for the sake of trade, in spite of the fact that it is an exceedingly wealthy country, due first and foremost to oil, and it has a well-managed sovereign wealth fund that guarantees its prosperity for generations to come. If any country was in a position to stand up to China, it was Norway. And yet it didn’t.

Then Liu Xiaobo died in custody. And the top leaders of the Norwegian government, the ones responsible for the deal with China, said not one word during the excruciating weeks the story of his dying played out in the international media. Even when backed into a corner by the press, Prime Minister Erna Solberg refused to utter Liu’s name, as if it were a magical incantation that would spell doom.

Harald Stanghelle, the editor-in-chief of Aftenposten (Norway’s New York Times), wrote an editorial reminding Norwegians of how Norway had stood up for Andrei Sakharov, Nelson Mandela, Aung San Suu Kyi and many more. In backing down to China, Norway was losing its identity as a small nation whose foreign policy was based on democracy and human rights.

Many Norwegians I spoke to agreed, not enough to make a dent in opinion polls (the conservative coalition government was narrowly re-elected in September 2017), but awareness was growing that being “pragmatic” came with moral and political costs that should perhaps be calculated more carefully. Who would bother to take the little country that traded freedom for fish seriously anymore?

In contrast to the silent government, Berit Reiss-Andersen, the chair of the Norwegian Nobel Committee, sent a heartfelt video message to the Liu Xiaobo memorial held in Hong Kong. She also attended the memorial service held in Washington, DC in October. It was clear Liu Xiaobo meant something to her.

Now the Umbrella Movement has been nominated. The threatening rumble from Beijing began the day after that was announced. While confining its criticism to the US lawmakers, China recited the same well-worn propaganda lines it used in the case of Liu Xiaobo, against “foreign interference” and about how the movement was “illegal” and “not peaceful” and the young men nominated were “criminals”. The Communist Party’s rhetoric wasn’t nearly as shrill as it might have been, but that’s because this is meant as only the initial warning salvo. The threats are bound to pick up closer to the time in early October when the winner will be announced.

Rarely has the Norwegian Nobel Committee faced such bullying tactics. Will it dare? If the people of Hong Kong can stand up to Beijing, the people of Norway, whom it costs much less, surely can too.

But does it really matter?

It would be a welcome acknowledgement, especially at a time when the pro-democracy movement is under sustained attack.

It wouldn’t immediately change anything, and there would in all likelihood be some backlash from the dictatorship. But the Peace Prize would reiterate that the Communist Party has a formidable opponent to contend with. Its demands for basic rights will not simply go away. It will not be destroyed.

It would be a reminder that the rest of the world is watching and give hope and inspiration to young people, persecuted people, and political movements fighting for democracy and other rights around the world.

Awarding the Nobel Peace Prize to Liu Xiaobo had zero effect. Since then, the regime’s doubled down on oppression. Even after his death, Xiaobo’s wife, Liu Xia, is still extrajudicially held incommunicado from the rest of the world. But that’s to be expected from a regime that controls all levers of power.

Hong Kong is different. It has a modicum of freedom and civil liberties. Due to censorship, many Chinese never even knew who Liu Xiaobo was and have only vaguely heard of the 1989 pro-democracy demonstrations, if at all. Everyone in Hong Kong knows of the Umbrella Movement. It has determined almost every aspect of the political moment in which we now live.

Last Thursday evening, I was at the protest against the disqualification of Agnes Chow held outside the Hong Kong government’s briefing session for candidates in the upcoming Legislative Council by-elections to fill the seats of four of the six disqualified pro-democracy Legco members.

Agnes, Joshua and Nathan had managed to get inside the session, which was closed to the public, as assistants to Agnes’ replacement, Au Nok-hin. I was standing near the back door when suddenly it flew open and before my eyes Agnes was unceremoniously tossed out by a clutch of security guards. At the same moment, Joshua and Nathan were similarly ejected via the front door. It suddenly hit me that the dictators in Beijing are terrified of these brave, articulate, and passionate young people.

A memory followed in the train of that epiphany: In 1989, I was teaching at a university in China when, just four months after the June 4 massacre, the Nobel Peace Prize was awarded to the Dalai Lama. Some of the students at the university had been killed on June 4, others had been imprisoned, still others were on the run, wanted by the authorities. The school year opened with compulsory military training and political education for all students. They were deeply depressed and refused to work. This was back in the days when universities still assigned graduates jobs at work units, and almost all of the students were being punished for their participation in the demonstrations by being sent to the least desirable work units in rural areas.

When the news broke that the Dalai Lama had been awarded the prize, the students were shocked and disappointed. They’d had years of brainwashing by the Communist Party that he was an evil separatist: why would the Norwegian Nobel Committee give the Peace Prize to such a person?

I tried to explain to them as best I could who the Dalai Lama really was and why he deserved the prize, but deep down, I was disappointed too.  Even while I recognized that the Dalai Lama would have been an excellent choice in any other year, the students had been hoping that their pro-democracy demonstrations would be awarded the prize, and who could blame them?  They had tried to peacefully change China for the better and had been killed, imprisoned and punished in myriad other ways for doing so.

Not long after that, Western democracies mostly resumed “normal relations” with the regime under cover of the cynical euphemism of “engagement”, whereby the prerogatives of capital and trade were prioritized over freedom, democracy, freedom and human rights.

It’s hard not to feel, looking back, that the Norwegian Nobel Committee missed an opportunity.  If the prize had been awarded to the young Chinese who’d stood up for their country, it might have set a somewhat different tone on the world stage and affected the dynamics of what was to come.

Since then, China has failed to democratize.  The regime has hardly changed at all.  The Committee tried to make amends with the award to Liu Xiaobo, but it was arguably too late: The movement of which he’d been a part had been obliterated decades before, he was in prison, and the Party was already in the process of destroying the fragile beginnings of the independent civil society for which he stood.

Awarding the Nobel Peace Prize to Joshua, Nathan, Alex and the Umbrella Movement would be exceedingly timely, recognizing a movement that is still very much alive and still has a chance of changing Hong Kong for the better, and perhaps even positively affecting the rest of China. Beyond that, it would be a beacon of hope to people everywhere who yearn for freedom, democracy and human rights.

- (China Daily) Nomination for activists reveals US dirty tricks. By Tony Kwok. February 7, 2018.

The arrest last month of a former United States’ Central Intelligence Agency agent Jerry Lee Chun-shing, who had been living in Hong Kong, is an eye-opener for Hong Kong people. But those in the know take it all in their stride because Hong Kong, for historical reasons and being on the doorstep of the Chinese mainland, has always been an espionage hotbed. News reports said Lee was arrested in New York after flying in from Hong Kong for allegedly disclosing confidential information on spies on the mainland, resulting in the central government neutralizing 18 to 20 of them.

This merely confirms a long-suspected US espionage network in the country. But the latest revelation can hardly establish the extent of this network, as agent control is strictly need-to-know; Lee surely would not know the whole picture. As for their mission, it is safe to assume they would not be limited to collecting intelligence — experts believe technology is now better at this than human agents. Instead, agents are more likely to be inciting local people to conduct subversive activities, and to give them financial or material support while they manipulate out of sight. One should not be surprised to find them hiding behind the so-called human-rights activists. This also explains why many activists ended up in the US. As with the Arab Spring, their ultimate goal is to topple the government. There is no reason to suspect this modus operandi would not apply in Hong Kong, particularly since the police special branch was dismantled before the return of sovereignty, making the city a spy haven.

A group of US congressmen nominating Joshua Wong Chi-fung, Nathan Law Kwun-chung and Alex Chow Yong-kang for the Nobel Peace Prize over their role in the illegal “Occupy Central” movement should be viewed from the perspective of this long history of American foreign interference, often with regime change as their covert objective, in South America and elsewhere, always with disastrous consequences for the local populace.

It would be naive to believe these three young men have the resources and expertise to organize, lead and sustain such a massive and complex protest movement over 79 days without extensive logistical support and strategic guidance from sources experienced in such operations; Wong admitted he does not even know how to fold a blanket! An Oct 2014 BBC documentary on Oslo Freedom Forum, a training center for activists, revealed the “Occupy” organizers had been planning the operation two years before and received training overseas. Training included how to keep the crowd in situ by looking after them, how to speak to police, defend against water cannon and react to police arrests. It’s practically a course on subverting government. The documentary also showed Wong talking to Yang Jianli, a former mainland activist now living in the US. Yang admitted they communicated on an hourly basis during “Occupy”. At its peak, participants had an unlimited supply of free meals, water, tents, blankets, counter-police riot gear and other essentials to make camping on public spaces more bearable. Organizers have so far been unable to publish a proper audit of their movement despite promises to do so. Did the CIA orchestrate from behind? Many would think so. It should be noted that at least one of those student activists has a US passport.

Then there are scandals of our politicians receiving secret funds at around that time. They were not prosecuted because of a lack of sufficient evidence but their source is so dubious that it can only be rationally speculated as from the US.

In their Nobel nomination, the congressmen highlight the subsequent jailing of the trio for “Occupy” involvement. But they conveniently neglected to mention that they were jailed not for their so-called “peaceful” demonstration but for their incitement to use violence which resulted in injuries to several security guards. I wonder how these congressmen would react if other countries nominated “Occupy Wall Street” protestors?

Do these congressmen know that when the court issued the eviction order for these people to leave the “Occupy” areas, it had the support of over a million people in Hong Kong who responded to the signature campaign, because many people’s livelihoods were severely disrupted by the street occupation? Yet we had Wong and his collaborators trying to obstruct execution of the court’s order and as a result, he was rightly sentenced to imprisonment for three months for contempt of court.

On the other hand, the Nobel Peace Prize’s prestige has degenerated into something of a joke after it went to former US president Barak Obama before he accomplished anything meaningful. Recent riots in Tunisia show the award to current leaders was unjustified; Western powers have made the award a political tool.

Let’s face it. For most of Hong Kong’s 150 years as a British Colony, democracy was an unattainable concept for our people. They had no say in the selection of the governor or Legislative Council members. Where were all those American politicians who claimed to be champions of democracy? Why are they so outspoken now? The reason is obvious: They play adversarial politics against the mainland through Hong Kong.

But we need to give credit to these congressmen for being patriotic as they were united, despite coming from different political parties, in pursuing their selfish national interest. In our LegCo, one-third of members oppose their own motherland and are not willing to support national interest. The political quagmire the express rail co-location plan finds itself in shows their lack of patriotic fervor. Despite the project having obvious and immense national interest, opposition legislators resort to every possible excuse to sabotage it.

- (Global Times) February 2, 2018.

A dozen US congressmen and women have nominated Joshua Wong Chi-fung, Nathan Law Kwun-chung and Alex Chow Yong-kang, as well as Hong Kong's "Umbrella Movement" for this year's Nobel Peace Prize.

The Umbrella Movement began as "Occupy Central." The movement severely violated Hong Kong's laws and disturbed city order. Wong, Law and Chow were sentenced to jail terms from six to eight months. Wong was later given a second prison term of three months for contempt.

All these jail terms were not long and can be seen as minimum sentencing to maintain Hong Kong's social stability. But the verdicts were hyped up by opposition forces. Wong and the others viewed their prison terms as mere gilding and continued to act arrogantly.

Sentencing Wong and barring pro-independence activists from participating in the legislative council election safeguarded the rule of law. More recently, Hong Kong's charged political atmosphere appeared to have improved.

The nomination of Wong and the other two for a Nobel Peace Prize showed the US congressmen's ill will toward China. They obviously want to send a signal that whoever opposes Beijing in Hong Kong will be supported by the US.

Wong is only 21 years old. The eldest of the three, Chow, is 27. Since Occupy Central, Wong has been hailed by the West as a democracy fighter.

At least this year, it is unlikely Wong or the other two will receive the Nobel Peace Prize. The political agenda behind the US congressmen's nomination is too obvious and it would be a shame if the Norwegian Nobel Committee blindly followed their directive. When the committee awarded Liu Xiaobo the peace prize in 2010, China-Norway relations hit a freezing point. They only began thawing in the past two years. Norway might not want to ride that rollercoaster once more.

Even by Western standards, Wong and the others are too young. By nominating them for the Nobel Peace Prize, the West is adopting pets - and it looks ludicrous.

Recently Americans have been boycotting Chinese "infiltration." The 12 congressmen and women are publicly interfering with Hong Kong's affairs. Giving a peace prize to the leaders of street riots is against the original intention of the prize.

The US has no power to substantially change Hong Kong. Washington long ago lost the power to do whatever it wants. US protection of political antagonists was bound to deteriorate. The chance of a Chinese person benefiting from Washington's largesse and becoming a useful political pawn will peter out all in good time. From a broader perspective, even in Hong Kong this is not the direction one should choose for a life.

Wong and the others have in fact become tools for anti-China forces in the West. Their views are too narrow. They cannot see the bigger trend of history and they are unable to rein in their childishness and selfishness. There is no honor to be found in pursing their wrongful path of betraying the interests of Hong Kong and the motherland.

- (Bastille Post) February 2, 2018.

When Occupy Central ended, the public opinion showed a 24% support and 76% opposed. The people of Hong Kong were sick and tired. Those Occupy folks may have good intentions, but their good intentions are not enough when their actions are impinging on the freedom of others.

There are three lasting consequences of Occupy Central.

Firstly, it had severely damaged the mutual trust between Hong Kong and China. In the first few days of Occupy Central, the Central Government had contemplated sending in the People's Liberation Army to help the Hong Kong Police put down an uprising. Foreign satellites were watching the PLA amassing on the other side of the border. The Americans initially supported Occupy Central, but two weeks later they reversed their positions and asked the protestors to withdraw. The Americans were worried that a full takeover by the Central Government will damage their commercial interests in Hong Kong. Although the PLA did not come, the Central Government could not trust Hong Kong anymore and today they watch out for any sign of separatism.

Secondly, the young people became radicalized. Occupy Central rationalized unlawful activities because you can and should break the law in order to achieve justice. There was much street violence, physical clashes and foul-mouthed curses. Later on, there were the Shopping Revolution in which people provoked the police, the racism/xenophobia of the Restoration campaigns in New Territories, the sieges of the university council meetings and, most recently, the Occupy Language Centre at the Hong Kong Baptist University.

Thirdly, universal suffrage for the Chief Executive was stopped in the tracks. The government made a compromise proposal for one-person-one-vote in 2017. But Occupy Central insisted that they must have "genuine universal suffrage." In the end, the Chief Executive was elected in 2017 by a small-circle election committee as before. The Occupy Central people promised that the constitutional reform will re-start as soon as the compromise proposal is voted down. To date, nothing has happened or will happen in the foreseeable future.

- (SCMP) Why Hong Kong Occupy trio are my Nobel Peace Prize guys. By Alex Lo. February 3, 2018.

The New York Times last year suggested the Nobel Peace Prize for Occupy protest leaders Joshua Wong Chi-fung, Nathan Law Kwun-chung and Alex Chow Yong-kang.

Now, Republican Senator Marco Rubio has led a group of US Congressmen to join the chorus and made a formal nomination. Of course, anyone can nominate anybody, so it’s neither here nor there. The Nobel committee receives hundreds of nominations every year, many of them frivolous, meaningless or politically tainted.

The yellow-ribbon people in Hong Kong are ecstatic. The “bluer” commentators and politicians, though, have expressed outrage and bafflement. I am, however, merely jealous. If only my column had the same impact and got lawmakers to do my bidding!

The Times’ proposal was a hyperbole, made by an editorialist to make a point in comparing thetrio to such 20th century giants of human rights as Andrei Sakharov, Vaclav Havel and Aung San Suu Kyi. I doubt even the writer herself seriously thought our three young leaders were in the same league as those world figures. Perhaps she now regrets mentioning the Myanmar leader, no?

But failed presidential candidate Rubio and his friendsare taking the idea seriously. Rather than arguing against it, I think it would be the height of entertainment to watch one or all of the three stand on stage in Oslo to deliver a lecture on … whatever. Would they speak in English or Cantonese? They should write their own speech. Imagine getting a Nobel for serving a few months in jail for storming the government headquarters and breaking glass?

In the unlikely event that they win, it would be less a statement about them or the city, but about the prize itself and those who make the nomination. Rubio and fellow Republican Christopher Smith pursue an anti-China platform, and Hong Kong is just a convenient tool for the two to exploit.

But if the committee sees fit to cheapen itself for such naked anti-China opportunism, well, what could anyone say? Many of its choices have not inspired confidence: Malala Yousafzai for being shot by the Taliban; Barack Obama for getting elected and not being George W Bush; Yasser Arafat, a self-professed terrorist; Shimon Peres, father of the Israeli nuclear weapons programme.

I wish our trio get the prize.

- (SCMP) The Nobel Peace Prize was always a joke; now it’s a total circus. By Yonden Lhatoo. February 3, 2018.

If you look past all that hype, the Nobel Peace Prize has long been a laughing stock, but it has now, to all intents and purposes, been reduced to a total political circus, with none of the gravitas still commanded by its sister awards for scientific and academic advancement.

When realpolitik power-broker Henry Kissinger won it in 1973, the celebrated American satirical songwriter Tom Lehrer famously quipped that the award had just about rendered political satire obsolete.

That was because the world beyond the Norwegian Nobel Committee was calling Kissinger a war criminal for his culpability in the slaughter of hundreds of thousands in Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia in the 1960s and ‘70s.

There have been other highly undeserving winners over the years since, and even more ludicrous nominations as well.

Which is why I’m not overly incredulous that a bunch of China-hating, Beijing-baiting US politicians are seeking to make Nobel laureates this year of Joshua Wong Chi-fung, Nathan Law Kwun-chung and Alex Chow Yong-kang – student leaders of the 2014 Occupy protests and darlings of the Western media.

In a hyperbole-filled sales pitch to Oslo, the congressional nominators painted the trio, who are now the youthful faces of anti-Beijing politics in this city, as “champions of peace and freedom and Hong Kong’s entire pro-democracy movement”.

“The government can lock up our bodies but they cannot lock up our minds!” they admiringly quoted Wong as declaring, unabashedly aggrandising the student activist to the lofty level of Mahatma Gandhi, the global symbol of non-violent struggle whom he borrowed and adapted those famous words from.

How ironic that the Nobel committee, which rejected India’s independence icon and giant of history no less than five times for the peace prize, is now being asked to award it to a political pygmy by comparison.

When will people looking at and judging Hong Kong from the outside realise that we have no martyrs for democracy here, only muppets masquerading as them.

The only champions of peace and freedom in this city are the people of Hong Kong themselves who demand and enjoy it every day. Sure, we could use some more democracy and electoral reform, but we’re nothing like the oppressed, rights-starved masses that we’re regularly portrayed as by the Western narrative.

How ironic that the Nobel committee, which rejected India’s independence icon and giant of history no less than five times for the peace prize, is now being asked to award it to a political pygmy by comparison.

When will people looking at and judging Hong Kong from the outside realise that we have no martyrs for democracy here, only muppets masquerading as them.

The only champions of peace and freedom in this city are the people of Hong Kong themselves who demand and enjoy it every day. Sure, we could use some more democracy and electoral reform, but we’re nothing like the oppressed, rights-starved masses that we’re regularly portrayed as by the Western narrative.

It’s high time we had an untainted alternative for this part of the planet – and I’m glad to see the Shaw Prize and Lui Che Woo Prize laying the preliminary groundwork for such a future.

In his will, Alfred Nobel envisioned his peace prize would be awarded to those “who have done the most or the best work for fraternity between nations, for the abolition of standing armies and for the holding and promotion of peace congresses”.

You know who would be a worthy recipient in that context? The nuclear bomb itself. God knows it’s done more for world peace than anyone else as a grim deterrent against the apocalypse.

We’re all watching an annual freak show anyway.

- (SCMP) Hong Kong’s silent majority must make their voices heard, and their by-election votes count. By Michael Chugani. February 7, 2018.

Are you out there, silent majority? If yes, why so silent? Maybe you’re just a myth. If not, then speak up or we’ll have to accept that the loud and angry voices of protests which bombard us daily represent the vocal majority.

These voices say the government connived with Beijing to disqualify Agnes Chow Ting as a Legislative Council election candidate. They say putting parts of the express rail terminus under mainland control exposes locals to China’s authoritarian laws while still on Hong Kong soil. They say the government persecuted three young activists by seeking jail terms for their storming of government headquarters, which triggered the Occupy protest. And they applaud American congressmen who nominated the trio for the Nobel Peace Prize.

Are they the true voice of Hong Kong? Or is Hong Kong’s true voice that of those who say Chow deserves to be disqualified, Hongkongers have nothing to fear from joint immigration at West Kowloon, the trio who stormed government headquarters should have been jailed and US politicians should have waited until April Fools’ Day to nominate them for a Peace Prize?

I must say I chuckled at the outrage over Joshua Wong Chi-fung, Nathan Law Kwun-chung and Alex Chow Yong-kang being nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize. It’s just political theatre by US lawmakers, for goodness sake. I know because I have covered Washington DC for years. The trio have as much chance of winning as I have of becoming Hong Kong’s next chief executive. But the eruption of anger, including from Beijing, has eaten right into the hands of the China-bashing lawmakers who are just loving it.

If US lawmakers can nominate, what’s to stop China’s lawmakers from doing the same? They have every right to, since members of national assemblies are among the eight categories of people eligible to nominate. Those who are seeing red over the trio’s nomination can ask Hong Kong members of China’s National People’s Congress to make their own nomination. I suggest Robert Chow Yung, co-founder of the Silent Majority for Hong Kong, which was set up to counter the Occupy movement. The trouble is that, while the Occupy uprising is still romanticised by many locally and globally, Chow’s Silent Majority has long slipped into silence and therefore from the minds of most. And while some here and in the West have bestowed the heroic status of political prisoners on the Occupy trio for having served a few weeks behind bars before winning their final appeal against jail terms on Tuesday, those who opposed Occupy have not proclaimed a hero among them.

Do Joshua Wong, Nathan Law, Alex Chow and Agnes Chow speak for the majority of Hongkongers? Or is the true voice of Hong Kong lurking out there, waiting for the right moment to make itself heard?

If the silent majority as defined by Robert Chow really does exist, there is no better moment than March 11 for it to be seen and heard. That’s when Hongkongers will vote in by-elections to fill four of the six seats left vacant by disqualified opposition legislators for improper oath-taking.

I can’t understand why there is never any real mud-slinging by Legislative Council election candidates. Why aren’t elections fought over who supported and opposed the Occupy uprising, the Mong Kok riots, the foul-mouthed oath-taking by some, and who is to blame for Beijing’s tightening grip on Hong Kong? If candidates fight dirty over these issues, the winners and losers will clearly show which side represents the true voice of Hong Kong.

It’s the final call for the silent majority. Show yourself on March 11 if you exist or forever keep silent. If the opposition handsomely wins back the four seats, then the true voice of Hong Kong belongs to those who storm government buildings, advocate self-determination and lace oath-taking with expletives.

- (Bastille Post) February 3, 2018.

I asked around about what people thought of this Nobel Peace Prize nomination. Someone told me to check the calendar to see what was scheduled next Tuesday. I checked. The Court of Final Appeal will issue its ruling on the appeal by Nathan Law, Joshua Wong and Alex Chow against their 6-8 months jail terms.

This person said that Rubio is applying pressure on the Hong Kong courts with the message: "Are you going to send three Nobel Peace Prize nominees to prison?"

- No, no, no. Rubio couldn't give a damn about what happens in Hong Kong. His action is purely for consumption by Americans. He wants publicity and he knows that a Nobel Peace Prize nomination will get media coverage. All he cares is that his name should be associated with freedom, democracy and human rights.

The only real victim is the brand name of the Nobel Peace Prize, which is having enough trouble from Aung San Suu Kyi and the Rohingya crisis already.

And don't forget Tunisia!

- (The Guardian) January 12, 2018.

Tunisia is starting to feel a lot like 2011. Then the self-immolation of a street vendor over repression and unemployment sparked an uprising that became the Arab spring, beginning with the fall of the Tunisian strongman Zine al-Abidine Ben Ali. Civil society won a Nobel Peace Prize in 2015.

But successive governments have failed to bring about the kind of revival Tunisians hoped for from elective government. The north African economy is lacklustre, unable to create enough jobs and with its foreign exchange earner – tourism – battered by terror attacks. It’s been forced to borrow $2.9bn from the IMF, in return for which unpopular price hikes and spending cuts are being pushed.

Seven years after the dictator’s departure, Tunisians have taken to the streets over an austerity programme and rising prices. At least one demonstrator has been killed and hundreds arrested in sometimes violent confrontations. In Tunisia the Arab street ousted a dictator. It could also oust democrats.

- The Nobel Peace Prize is the innocent victim in this case. As the Chinese saying goes, they were shot even though they laid flat and motionless on the ground. According to their own rules, they cannot comment, affirm of deny.

- Marco Rubio's normal interests are in important issues such as Donald Trump's small hands (Vox). Rubio found Joshua Wong to his liking because Wong is even shorter than Rubio and has even smaller hands. This makes Rubio very happy.

- Rubio-Smith's letter said:

The Umbrella Movement leaders face increasing pressure, detention, and financial penalties for their advocacy for democracy and human rights. By July 2017, Law and five other democratically elected legislators were disqualified from their LegCo seats after the Chinese central government issued an interpretation of the Basic Law deeming certain previously acceptable oath-taking behaviors undertaken by legislators as punishable by disqualification.

This is funny. First of all, Rubio-Smith found themselves unable to say:

The Umbrella Movement leaders face increasing pressure, detention, and financial penalties for their advocacy for democracy and human rights. By July 2017, Law and five other democratically elected legislators were disqualified from their LegCo seats after the Chinese central government issued an interpretation of the Basic Law deeming certain previously universally acceptable oath-taking behaviors undertaken by legislators as punishable by disqualification.

Can you imagine a US Senator taking the oath of office in the manner of Yau Wai-ching as in pledging loyalty to "The United Cunts of Amerika" and then accused all critics of not being familiar with his Jackson Heights accent? Or a US Congresswoman taking the oath of office in the manner of Lau Siu-lai by pausing six seconds between words and then posting afterwards on Facebook that she did this deliberately to show her objection to the contents of the oath?

Using "previously acceptable" is a lie too. Never before in the history of Hong Kong has anyone called the People's Republic of China as "People's Re-fucking of Chee-na" in an oath of office. Never before in the history of mankind has anyone take the oath of office in the manner of Lau Siu-lai. If they were not disqualified, then their actions will become normalized. How is this going to bring freedom, democracy and peace to Hong Kong?

- In case you missed what took place, here are the recaps:

- (Video) Lau Siu-lai's oath of office in original Cantonese including extraneous protest messages at normal pace before and after the oath (13:05)
- (Video) Lau Siu-lai's oath of office with simultaneous interpretation in English (10:06)

- (Video) Yau Wai-ching's oath of office of office in original English (1:48)

- The purpose of those oaths of office was to create divisions in society. Some people will feel offended while others will heap praises, and they will be at each other's throats. The Hong Kong Legislative Council works on a proportional representation system, which means that you will get elected if you can please 10% of the voters even if you offend the other 90%.

- Rubio-Smith's letter said:

Wong, Law, and Chow were convicted on trumped-up charges of “unlawful assembly” for their activities during the Umbrella Movement and were given sentences of community service. After Wong and Law completed these sentences, the Hong Kong government sought tougher punishments against the three, resulting in sentences of six to eight months in jail, which makes the three ineligible for running for public office for five years. The three were released on bail on appeal currently before the Court of Final Appeal and they face additional charges and tremendous legal costs that threaten to bankrupt them. Just this month, Joshua was sentenced to an additional three months in prison for his role in the Umbrella Movement.

That is going to put Joshua Wong and friends in a quandary. The implication by Rubio-Smith is that the Hong Kong judiciary (including both the Department of Justice and the various levels of the courts) is in the pockets of the Chinese/Hong Kong Communist governments, and their actions and rulings work to meet the goals of their nefarious masters.

If so, then why are Wong, Law and Chow still filing an appeal before the Court of Final Appeal? If the courts are as corrupt as Rubio-Smith say, then the only choice left is armed insurrection (after obtaining Trump-Rubio-Smith's 'reassurance' that the Seventh Fleet will sail into Hong Kong to provide defense, of course).

Why did Joshua Wong draw three months in prison by pleading guilty as charged? Why didn't he plead not guilty and fight the case all the way to the bitter end if he felt that he was in the right? He did not because he knows that he is guilty as sin. The police were clearing a section of the street in accordance with a court injunction, and Wong impeded their progress. This was a open-and-shut case of contempt of court anywhere in the world. Just ask Occupy Wall Street.

This is not just Rubio-Smith's problem. This problem pervades among the pan-democrats and localists. Are the courts totally corrupt? Is rule-of-law dead and the only option left in life is to immigrate to Taiwan? If so, then why keep making more court appeals and soliciting the public to donate ever more money to pay for the legal fees?

This extends to the Hong Kong Police (and now, the Correctional Services Department). Are the police totally rotten running dogs of the tyrannical regime? If so, then why do the pan-democrats and localists still ask the police for protection on all matters large and small? Why do the Hong Kong independence theoreticians say that the first Hong Kong army will be the Hong Kong Police?

- Why do opposite attitudes co-exist? In Chinese, there is a saying 輸打贏要 (heads I win, tails you lose). When the courts rule in my favor, I praise them for being last independent bastion of courage and resolve against Chicom encroachment against rule-of-law. When the courts rule against me, I condemn them for aiding and abetting the Chicom encroachment. Life is good for me when I own the exclusive rights to the moral high ground. Facts and circumstances don't matter; the only reality is that I am always right and you are always wrong.

- Should you trust Marco Rubio if he tells that he will back you up on your armed resurrection? Just remember the Bay of Pigs. Marco Rubio continues to pay tribute to the Cuban freedom fighters who were betrayed and abandoned by the President John F. Kennedy and the United States of America. Someday he will be placing flowers over the graves of the martyrs of the failed Hong Kong Revolution who were betrayed and abandoned by the United States of America.

- Rubio-Smith's letter said:

Hong Kong’s pro-democracy leaders, politicians and young people took to the streets in the fall of 2014 in response to a decision issued by the National People’s Congress Standing Committee (NPCSC) which ruled that only candidates endorsed by a pro-Beijing nominating committee could run as a candidate for the Chief Executive position in Hong Kong’s government. Article 45 of the Basic Law—Hong Kong’s constitutional document—provides that “the ultimate aim is the selection of the Chief Executive by universal suffrage upon nomination by a broadly representative nominating committee.” The United Nations Human Rights Committee has repeatedly urged Hong Kong to enact reforms to implement elections by universal suffrage, in accordance with article 25 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), which applies to Hong Kong under Article 39 of the Basic Law.

Let us retrieve all the relevant information. [Q: Is that because you think that politicians lie? A: Is the Pope Catholic?]

What does Article 25 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) say?

(United Nations Human Rights Office of the High Commissioner)

Article 25

Every citizen shall have the right and the opportunity, without any of the distinctions mentioned in article 2 and without unreasonable restrictions:

(a) To take part in the conduct of public affairs, directly or through freely chosen representatives;

(b) To vote and to be elected at genuine periodic elections which shall be by universal and equal suffrage and shall be held by secret ballot, guaranteeing the free expression of the will of the electors;

(c) To have access, on general terms of equality, to public service in his country.

What is Article 39 of the Hong Kong Basic Law?

Article 39

The provisions of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, and international labour conventions as applied to Hong Kong shall remain in force and shall be implemented through the laws of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region.

The rights and freedoms enjoyed by Hong Kong residents shall not be restricted unless as prescribed by law. Such restrictions shall not contravene the provisions of the preceding paragraph of this Article.

What is Article 45 of the Hong Kong Basic Law?

Article 45

The Chief Executive of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region shall be selected by election or through consultations held locally and be appointed by the Central People's Government.

The method for selecting the Chief Executive shall be specified in the light of the actual situation in the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region and in accordance with the principle of gradual and orderly progress. The ultimate aim is the selection of the Chief Executive by universal suffrage upon nomination by a broadly representative nominating committee in accordance with democratic procedures.

The specific method for selecting the Chief Executive is prescribed in Annex I: "Method for the Selection of the Chief Executive of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region".

What is the National People's Congress Standing Committee's decision on universal suffrage for HK Chief Executive selection? (China.org.cn)

I. Starting from 2017, the selection of the Chief Executive of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region may be implemented by the method of universal suffrage.

II. When the selection of the Chief Executive of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region is implemented by the method of universal suffrage:

(1) A broadly representative nominating committee shall be formed. The provisions for the number of members, composition and formation method of the nominating committee shall be made in accordance with the number of members, composition and formation method of the Election Committee for the Fourth Chief Executive.

(2) The nominating committee shall nominate two to three candidates for the office of Chief Executive in accordance with democratic procedures. Each candidate must have the endorsement of more than half of all the members of the nominating committee.

(3) All eligible electors of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region have the right to vote in the election of the Chief Executive and elect one of the candidates for the office of Chief Executive in accordance with law.

(4) The Chief Executive-elect, after being selected through universal suffrage, will have to be appointed by the Central People's Government.

III. The specific method of universal suffrage for selecting the Chief Executive shall be prescribed in accordance with legal procedures through amending Annex I to the Basic Law of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region of the People's Republic of China: The Method for the Selection of the Chief Executive of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region. The bill on the amendments and the proposed amendments to such bill shall be introduced by the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region Government to the Legislative Council of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region in accordance with the Hong Kong Basic Law and the provisions of this Decision. Such amendments shall obtain the endorsement of a two-thirds majority of all the members of the Legislative Council and the consent of the Chief Executive before being submitted to the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress for approval.

IV. If the specific method of universal suffrage for selecting the Chief Executive is not adopted in accordance with legal procedures, the method used for selecting the Chief Executive for the preceding term shall continue to apply.

V. The existing formation method and voting procedures for the Legislative Council as prescribed in Annex II to the Hong Kong Basic Law will not be amended. The formation method and procedures for voting on bills and motions of the fifth term Legislative Council will continue to apply to the sixth term Legislative Council of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region in 2016. After the election of the Chief Executive by universal suffrage, the election of all the members of the Legislative Council of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region may be implemented by the method of universal suffrage. At an appropriate time prior to the election of the Legislative Council by universal suffrage, the Chief Executive elected by universal suffrage shall submit a report to the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress in accordance with the relevant provisions of the Hong Kong Basic Law and the Interpretation by the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress of Article 7 of Annex I and Article III of Annex II to the Basic Law of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region of the People's Republic of China as regards the issue of amending the method for forming the Legislative Council. A determination thereon shall be made by the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress.

The ICCPR and the Basic Law only mention the general notion of universal suffrage (in the sense of one-person-one-vote) without going into finer details (such as citizenship, place of birth, length of residence, minimum age, criminal records, term limits, etc) because they differ around the world. For example, Joshua Wong could not run in the 2016 Legislative Council because he was not yet 21 years old. He decried the restriction as a human rights violation. Rubio-Smith could not mention this in their letter, because a US Congress candidate must be aged at least 25 (House) or 30 (Senate).

One-person-one-vote was offered in the NPCSC decision. But the Umbrella Revolutionaries wanted more than one-person-one-vote. They wanted "genuine universal suffrage" (as opposed to "fake universal suffrage"). For them, this means one-person-one-vote with civil nomination.

How many countries in the world adopt this system of "genuine universal suffrage"? 23, of which the most prominent is Russia where most people only want Vladimir Putin. That leaves more than 160 countries (including China, United States, United Kingdom, France, Germany, Spain Australia, New Zealand, Japan, etc) using "fake universal suffrage" systems without civil nomination.

At the time, the United States and the European Union told the Umbrella Revolutionaries to take the deal, because they should take whatever is offered first and work on the other parts later. The Umbrella Revolutionaries said no, because they want to go all the way. They said that they will re-boot constitutional reform as soon as the Legislative Council vetoes the NPCSC proposal. This is 2018 already, and there has been no further movement after the proposal failed to pass in June 2015. The Umbrella Revolutionaries had misjudged and promised something that they are unable to deliver. This is the gravest failure of the Umbrella Revolution, but Rubio-Smith wants to give them a Nobel Peace Prize for their stupid decision.

The HK SAR Chief Executive election was held in 2017 under the old rules. The pan-democrats supported the candidacy of John Tsang Chun-wah. They launched an all-out effort to obtain more than 300 seats on the 1,194-member Election Committee and thus easily secured a nomination for Tsang. According to the public opinion polls, if the actual voting was by one-person-one-vote in accordance with the NPCSC decision, Tsang would be elected Chief Executive. Instead Carrie Lam beat John Tsang handily by 777 vs. 365 on the Election Committee. Do you think the Umbrella Revolutionaries should get a Nobel Peace Prize for their strategic genius?

- There has also been no progress on the constitutional reform of the election of the Legislative Council either. The pan-democrats want a direct proportional system of representation and they want to eliminate the functional constituencies which represent special interest groups. They said that disproportional representation is anathema to democracy.

Well, they should be telling that to US Senator Marco Rubio. The United States Congress is a bicameral legislature consisting of the Senate and the House of Representatives. The House is apportioned by population (if you turn a blind eye to gerrymandering), but the Senate consists of two Senators for each and every state irrespective of population. California has a population of 38 million and two senators; Wyoming has a population of 580,000 and also two senators. In the terminlogy of Hong Kong's political system, the Senate would be a "functional constituency" and therefore anathema to democracy.

Have a nice day, Senator Rubio!

- The US Senate is constituted such that the rights of the small states would not be violated by the tyranny of majority rule. In Hong Kong, there is no need to protect the rights of insurance companies, etc with these functional constituencies, because they are already adequately protected under the law. If they feel that they have special needs, they can always pay some of the legislative councilors to advocate their cases.

[On this day, the Department of Justice had just announced that there is no case for prosecution against Next Media boss Jimmy Lai paying off legislative councilors James To (Democratic Party), Lee Cheuk-yan (Labour Party), Alan Leong (Civic Party), Tanya Chan (Civic Party) and Claudia Mo (Civic Party). The principals do not deny that the payments took place, but the Department of Justice said that there is no proof of wrongdoing. Long live FREEDOM, DEMOCRACY, HUMAN RIGHTS and RULE-OF-LAW!

- Marco Rubio would be happy to operate in Hong Kong! In the United States, if someone plunks $500,000 on his desk, he would be very scared (FBI sting!?). In Hong Kong, he can just take it.

- The Nobel Peace Prize is by definition awarded to people who have contributed to peace in the world. Was the Umbrella Movement peaceful? Here is an Epoch Times video from the night of December 2, 2014 (#075). About 4,000 protestors tried to take over Government Headquarters. This action was called by the Hong Kong Federation of Students (Alex Chow and Nathan Law) and Scholarism (Joshua Wong).

Where were the three future Nobel Peace Prize winners themselves that night? Joshua Wong was seen by reporters entering the Legislative Council building with instant noodles ready for all-night television watching. Alex Chow said that there was a division of labor in which he has to man the command center to give orders to be carried out in the field by others. Nathan Law was not noticeable in public. This is the perfect realization of 叫人衝﹐自己鬆 (tell others to charge while you leave the scene).

- (Economic Times x Sky Post) poll. February 5, 2018 23:45pm.

The three students leaders was nominated by 12 US Senators/Congressman for the Nobel Peace Prize? Do you support it?
13%: Support
85%: Do not support
2%: No opinion

HK SAR Chief Executive Carrie Lam expressed regret about this political interference. Do you agree with her?
81%: Yes
17%: No
2%: No opinion

- (SCMP Editorial) Impact of Nobel Peace Prize nomination on political reform can only be negative. January 11, 2018.

It is not normally known who has been nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize – let alone who is being seriously considered – unless the nominators reveal the names to serve their own agenda. The Norwegian Nobel committee applies a 50-year secrecy rule to the nominees. Nor do we learn the reasoning behind the choice of the winner, including incomprehensible or perverse decisions.

The choice of former US president Barack Obama soon after his election in the expectation he would eventually vindicate it is a case in point. The process is therefore lacking in transparency which raises questions about dispassionate, apolitical rigour.

With enormous respect due to many past laureates, the latest example is the highly publicised nomination by a group of American politicians of Hong Kong radical student activist Joshua Wong Chi-fung, two allies and the 2014 Occupy movement for the peace prize.

The political agenda is obvious and the backlash from Beijing and Hong Kong’s leaders against “meddling” in the city’s affairs is predictable. It may be an overreaction, but it reminds us that Occupy was divisive rather than unifying, as well as illegal, even if Beijing’s restricted offer on universal suffrage was part of the problem.

With enormous respect due to many past laureates, the latest example is the highly publicised nomination by a group of American politicians of Hong Kong radical student activist Joshua Wong Chi-fung, two allies and the 2014 Occupy movement for the peace prize.

The political agenda is obvious and the backlash from Beijing and Hong Kong’s leaders against “meddling” in the city’s affairs is predictable. It may be an overreaction, but it reminds us that Occupy was divisive rather than unifying, as well as illegal, even if Beijing’s restricted offer on universal suffrage was part of the problem.

None of this does anything to advance the cause of democracy in Hong Kong. It also adds power to the arm of hawks in Beijing and marginalises those who are not unamenable to some degree of electoral freedom for Hong Kong. Regrettably, this reflects a monolithic perception of Beijing’s position that lacks strategic vision. It is also to be found in outright rejection of offers of political development, even if Beijing’s restricted offer of universal suffrage after the city had waited 20 years is not blameless.

Though the Nobel nomination may be well intentioned the impact on the pace of democratic development can only be negative because it has riled Beijing. That said, if someone from either side can devise a way forward to reaching agreement on universal suffrage, it may be time to think seriously about a peace prize nomination.

- (The Stand News) An undeserved Peace Prize nomination ought not be a distraction from Hong Kong’s democratic movement. By Evan Fowler. February 9, 2018.

The news that two influential members of the US Republican Party, Senator Marco Rubio and Representative Chris Smith, the respective chair and co-chair of the Congressional-Executive Commission on China, intended to nominate Joshua Wong Chi-fung, Nathan Law Kwun-chung and Alex Chow Yong-kang for the Nobel Peace Prize came as a surprise.

My initial reaction was one of disbelief. It was a reaction shared among almost everyone I know, regardless of political persuasion. However, as is so sadly to be expected, this unusual source of unity had to be dismissed.

The yellow-ribbon people in Hong Kong are ecstatic. The “bluer” commentators and politicians, though, have expressed outrage and bafflement.

This according to a South China Morning Post columnist, who writes on local Hong Kong affairs but from the safety of Vancouver. As an acquaintance, it should come as little surprise to know that his social circle of mostly aged former-journalists and government officials are hardly representative of the city today. Not that he does not know this himself, as he stated in an email:

No one should listens to this old hack.

Unfortunately many people do.

In fact, and certainly in private, the news of the trios nomination has not been greeted with anywhere near universal fanfare in pro-democracy circles. The three aspiring politicians are still that: aspiring.

There are also many who whisper that Joshua, the figurehead for the political activism that the trio represent, has a righteous streak that refuses to heed the wisdom and experience of those who have learned that democracy is an ideal; and that democratic politics remains the art of the possible.

There is also the worrying signs that Nathan Law, regarded by many as the more considered and intellectual of the trio, is a spent force. Many pointed to his beaten demeanour since prison, and truth be told he has been surprisingly quiet of late. When forced into the spotlight it is not only the establishment journalists who have noted the absence of a certain spark.

In a manner Law has come to represent the best of this city’s youth: a well-mannered, educated and moderate young man forced to the fringe in pursuit not only of an ideal, but to uphold in spirit a promise made by Beijing and guaranteed, lest we forget, by the United Kingdom.

“You will never walk alone,” was the promise former Prime Minister John Major proclaimed to the people of Hong Kong. Given that his daughter-in-law is Hong Kong born, and that her father continues to live here, is indicative of the depth of what one political researcher in his submission to the House of Commons Foreign Affairs Committee termed as a betrayal.

The way Law has been broken by the walls, both literal and metaphorical, erected around him by both officialdom and an increasingly rabid pro-establishment minority mirrors the situation many in Hong Kong of a more liberal and democratic leaning have experienced. Hope has been bludgeoned out of civil society not by local nativism, but by a nationalistic establishment that refuses to countenance any form of opposition.

Senator Rubio and the international community at large would also do well to note is that the public spirit of defiance the trio supposedly represent, and the political party they founded, Demosistos, are no longer representative of Hong Kong’s youth. This is plain to anyone who regularly spends time at Hong Kong’s university campuses or attends school reunions. The mood has changed.

Hope for genuine reform has evaporated, as has the belief that Beijing is even capable of listening to the word on the street. The strong words and actions that had once fired up the imagination of the young in 2012 no longer resonant in this new climate.

“When all the chips are down, there are only two things one can do: gamble everything, or throw in the cards.” In his observations of another highly symbolic trial, Vaclav Havel was right. What is easy to overlook is the very next paragraph of his essay. He describes seeing a friend and film director on Karmelitska Street, who though sympathetic and wishing for reform just did not want to know what we all know to be important. “Apart from that, what else are you up to?” he asks Havel. This is an important point: when the chips are down the majority throw in the cards.

Only the pan-democrats, having prematurely retired a generation of leadership, seem still to think obstructive activism rather than constructive politics is what the people want. By playing to what they did not understand but what they imagined to be a new, youthful and vigorous force in local politic, the pan-democrats have (yet again) let themselves down and their electorate down.

To describe Wong, Law and Chow as “champions of peace and freedom and Hong Kong’s entire pro-democracy movement” Rubio and Smith do a great discourtesy to the wide spectrum of actors that constitutes Hong Kong’s pro-democracy movement. More importantly, their ignorance also plays into the hands of the establishment.

According to the official narrative, the 2014 protests were an illegal and violent act planned and supported by foreign agents that threatens national unity. It is a line that has been used many times before by Beijing, most notably following the events of June 1989 when the party responded not with self-reflection in seeking a cause, but by establishing a new narrative.

Rubio and Smith, in focusing on Wong, Law and Chow are reinforcing the official narrative.

According to pro-establishment lawmaker Priscilla Leung Mei-fun, from the Business and Professionals Alliance:

The nomination could create more obstacles in Hong Kong’s progress towards democracy, because it could reinforce Beijing’s perception that foreign forces were involved in the Occupy movement.

She is right. Though it is also worth noting her statement does by implication contradict the official claim made by former Chief Executive CY Leung and Regina Ip Lau Suk-yee that their was concrete “evidence" of foreign powers being behind the 2014 protest — evidence that both promised they would make public.

By refusing to open even the possibility of any serious dialogue in 2014, Beijing and the Hong Kong administration refused to acknowledge reasonable and justifiable concerns about the nature of constitutional reform and the way the city’s unique social and cultural identity where being undermined. These were concerns that were shared by a significant majority of Hong Kong people, whether or not they supported the protests.

For the establishment, the protests and what they represent — a desire to preserve Hong Kong as an open and liberal city, and to evolve, as promised, a more democratic system of political representation — became tarnished by the same brush.

As a stated act of civil disobedience, the 2014 Occupy protest was a deliberately illegal act for which the government knew would happen and for which they might prepare, a point certainly not lost on the Reverend Chu Yiu-ming, and the legal academic Dr Benny Tai and social scientist Dr Chan Kin-man when they proposed the idea a year before. Yet all mention of the Occupy protest in any establishment paper prefixes it as “illegal”, with the implication being it was wrong. The emotional and psychological impact of this in a society taught that for every question there is one correct answer should not be overlooked.

A protest that caught both the world’s attention and admiration for its peaceful, and often innocent nature, has been rebranded and official recorded and remember as disorderly and violent. This new narrative was enacted on order as pro-establishment associations, including some triad groups, were mobilised and used not just to intimidate protestors, but to bring an aggressive tension to what was a peaceful protest. Thus, to the casual observer this new narrative seems very plausible.

And so too are the conspiracies of foreign involvement. “Clearly,” as one commentator wrote recently, “the United States is keen on exporting its brand of democracy. Yale professor Amy Chua in her book World On Fire: How Exporting Free Market Democracy Breeds Ethnic Hatred and Global Instability chastised this American self-righteousness.”

A spirit of distrust and division has been fostered and continually stoked. This nomination, whether well-meant or a cynical attempt to undermine the Beijing by raising awareness of the issue of Hong Kong, has only added fuel to a fire that obscures from most a more informed, considered and nuanced understanding of the situation Hong Kong is facing, and the best way we might move forward.

Wong, Law and Chow do not deserve to be nominated. They did not conceive the use of civil disobedience as a means of advancing stalled discussions on democratic reform in 2014. Joshua might be the face of the protest movement, but unlike other Peace Prize winners he yet to demonstrate either the poise, charisma nor the political acumen required to be a successful leader.

Neither can it be said that the hundreds of thousands who took to the streets in protest that Sunday, September 28th, did so on their call. The police response, which certainly appeared at the time to be both disproportionate and unnecessarily aggressive, given the city’s history of peaceful protest, was arguably as much a factor in drawing people on to the streets in solidarity.

Since 2014 much of the youth support has dissipated. Demosistos may be a significant force the many non-mainstream parties advocating “self-determination” for Hong Kong, but they are vying for the attentions of an increasing minority willing to gamble everything for their conscience. The decision to disqualify Agnes Chow from standing for election — a young lady who in my opinion is more eloquent and impressive a character than the three nominated — has rightly drawn considerable condemnation. However, wide condemnation should not be confused with active support.

Whilst I have great admiration for Joshua, Nathan and Alex for their drive, determination and the experience they have acquired at such a young age, it is wrong that they become the focus of any anti-establishment position. The democratic movement and the liberal ideal, and the desire to protect freedom of conscience, a free press and the rule of law, is far greater than the narrow agenda of Demosistos; and the actions open to the people of Hong Kong, personal, institutional and indeed political should not be confined by the specific kind of political activism that these three young men represent.

If Senator Rubio wanted to make a point, and draw attention to the challenges Hong Kong people and our institutions face when forced to integrate into an authoritarian system — challenges relevant to the international community that will too face the prospect of engaging with an increasingly assertive Peoples Republic of China — he would have been better off nominating the Hong Kong people.

Just as deserving of recognition as Wong, Law and Chow are the many Hong Kong judges and lawyers who cling firmly to the precepts a common law system and the rule of law; the many journalists and booksellers who, despite intimidation, continue to tell the truth as they see it; and the many people from many walks of life who refuse to love a country because they are told they must.

- (Hong Kong Free Press) February 13, 2018.

Ten UK MPs have expressed support after activists Joshua Wong, Nathan Law, Alex Chow and the Hong Kong Umbrella Movement were nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize.

A Parliamentary motion was tabled last Monday by Fiona Bruce MP, the Chair of the Conservative Party Human Rights Commission, to publicly express support for the nomination, “in recognition of their peaceful efforts to defend basic freedoms, strengthen democracy and protect autonomy for Hong Kong guaranteed under the Sino-British Joint Declaration and Hong Kong’s Basic Law.” It urged the House of Commons to encourage the Nobel Peace Prize Committee to give the nomination serious consideration.

The motion gathered support from MPs from across the UK political spectrum, including Kate Hoey, Mary Glindon, Marie Rimmer and Catherine West from the Labour Party, Hannah Bardell from the Scottish National Party, Bob Blackman from the Conservative Party, Gavin Robinson and Jim Shannon from the Democratic Unionist Party, and independent MP Lady Hermon.

Fiona Bruce MP said the Umbrella Movement was “one of the most peaceful and restrained movements of public protest that the world has ever seen.”

“It was led by exceptional young people, some of whom I have met, whose fight for freedom and democracy deserves our full support. I hope the Nobel Peace Prize Committee seriously considers this nomination.”

- (YouTube) Love and Peace in the Umbrella Revolution, according to Fiona Bruce MP.

- (SCMP) US senator off target in backing Hong Kong protest leaders. BY Alex Lo. March 7, 2018.

No American politician ever loses votes for bashing China and the easiest route to do that is to express support for the most vocal pan-democrats in Hong Kong.

Florida Republican Senator Marco Rubio has this down to a tee.

That’s why he rolled out the red carpet for former Occupy student leader Joshua Wong Chi-fung when the latter visited Washington in late 2016 and has even nominated Wong and his protest comrades Nathan Law Kwun-chung and Alex Chow Yong-kang for the Nobel Peace Prize.

He claimed the trio were persecuted but then the city’s top court had just freed them from jail on appeal.

Never mind our independent judiciary is perfectly capable of administering public justice; Rubio doesn’t know or care.

Here’s what I don’t get. US politicians such as Rubio say they care so much about our people, whose main problem, at least according to him, is that we don’t have full voting rights.

That seems to pale in comparison with the constant dangers America’s children face as so many have been gunned down in schools across the country.

Even after 17 people were killed and many wounded last month in a shooting rampage at a high school in Florida, the senator continued to voice his opposition to a ban on assault weapons and accept money from the National Rifle Association and other lobby groups that support his pro-gun agenda.

Rubio’s priorities are a bit twisted, to put it mildly.

I know the Second Amendment says “the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed”. But it didn’t say all Americans should have the right to arm themselves with AR-15 semi-automatic rifles, the weapon of choice of many mass killers, and other military-grade weapons.

It’s true America’s gun control debate and the continual slaughter of the innocent at its schools is none of my business.

But then, Hong Kong’s electoral system and “one country, two systems” is none of Rubio’s either. If he thinks he can comment on us, I think we are entitled to comment on him.

We are perfectly entitled to call attention to this guy, who has the blood of American children on his hands, while he claims to be championing our young people and our democratic rights.

Seriously Rubio, why don’t you tell Hong Kong people we should all bear arms like Americans to fight for freedom?

(Hong Kong Free Press) January 31, 2018.

The Chinese government intensified attempts to restrict foreign journalists’ access to parts of the country in 2017, the Foreign Correspondents’ Club of China (FCCC) has said after conducting an annual survey of its members. The government is also increasingly using the visa renewal process to pressure correspondents and news organisations whose coverage it does not like, the club found.

In the survey, which was conducted in December, 40 per cent of respondents felt reporting conditions in 2017 had deteriorated from the year before, compared with 29 per cent in 2016.

Reporting became more difficult in many areas of China, but especially in Xinjiang, China’s heavily-securitised far west region, the FCCC said.

72 per cent of respondents who traveled to the region were told by officials and security agents that reporting was prohibited or restricted, compared with 42 per cent in the previous year.

“I was detained for three hours in Xinjiang and questioned by officials with the Ministry of State Security, who told me I could not report without prior permission, and demanded access to my laptop. When I refused, they seized my laptop and tailed me for two hours back to a hotel in Kashgar. The laptop was returned 12 hours later,” the report quoted Nathan VanderKlippe from Canadian newspaper the Globe and Mail as saying.

Reporters from AFP were also stopped from working in Xinjiang and Tangshan while they were covering the death of Nobel laureate Liu Xiaobo and the trials of human rights activists.

Other areas where respondents reported similar difficulties included: Tibetan-inhabited regions; areas near the border with North Korea; areas near Chinese borders with south-east Asian countries; and in industrial districts such as steel-producing districts.

Respondents also reported greater difficulties in renewing their visas, with 15 per cent saying they encountered problems during the process, an increase from 6 per cent in the previous year. Twice the number of respondents compared to 2016 said the problems were related to their reporting.

“The process itself was smoother than usual, but my interview ahead of picking up my press card was pretty unpleasant this year. I was scolded for writing on Liu Xiaobo. Later, when I mentioned that I hadn’t violated any foreign ministry guidelines on reporting I was told, somewhat ominously, that China has ‘other laws,’” a reporter for a U.S. media organization was quoted as saying about the renewal process.

The survey was completed by 117 out of 218 of the club’s correspondent members.

(Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the People's Republic of China) Regular press conference on January 30, 2018.

Q: The Foreign Correspondents' Club of China just issued its annual report on the working conditions of foreign journalists in China, which found that the Chinese government has used the visa renewal process to pressure correspondents whose coverage it does not like and intensified attempts to deny or restrict access for foreign journalists to large parts of the country. I was wondering if you've seen this report and do you have any comment on that? And are there any steps China plans to take to improve the working conditions for foreign correspondents in China?

A (Hua Chu-ying): I have yet to see this so-called report you mentioned, and I am also wondering whom this so-called organization could represent. Are all of you its members? Are you all OK with its report? For me, I find the accusations in this report very unreasonable. I would like to ask all of you some questions. How do you like your working environment in China? Has the Information Department of the Foreign Ministry, as the competent department in charge of foreign media organizations and journalists stationed in China, provided you with all necessary convenience and assistance for your coverage? If any of you believes that the FCCC has spoken your mind, or you find yourself approving the contents of this report, you may raise your hand and let me know. (No hand raised)

No one.

Then, you can tell the FCCC that foreign journalists present here today do not agree with its report's conclusion, so it has in no way reflected the genuine opinion of almost 600 foreign journalists stationed in China. We will continue with our efforts to assist and facilitate foreign journalists' report and coverage in China, as we always do. If you encounter any problem and difficulty in your work, feel free to contact us anytime.

(Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the People's Republic of China) Regular press conference on February 1, 2018.

Q: First, Xinhua News Agency today launched its Japanese-language news service in Japan. It is only natural and legitimate for national governments or media to strengthen information dissemination to other countries and should be welcomed. But in China, the webpages of most Western media and Japanese media cannot be opened. What is in question here is the principle of reciprocity. What's your response to this? Second, catalogs published by the Japanese company MUJI were ordered to be withdrawn because of faulty maps. China's map management regulations stipulate that maps to be made public must be submitted to related administrative authorities for review, but simplified maps are an exception. As far as I know, the maps used by MUJI is meant to indicate the number of its stores, containing no geographically professional and specific information. For foreign companies, this provision puts in place a very vague standard. Is the map on the wall behind you also reviewed? Third, let me say a few words about your statement on the report of the Foreign Correspondents' Club in China (FCCC)" on January 30. On that day, you asked for a show of hands if any reporter in the room agreed with the contents of the report. The thing is that no reporter from Sankei Shimbun participated in the press conference on that day. Now, I am here and I want to say that I agree with that report. Because we have personally experienced some of the situations mentioned in it, and we also expressed our hope that the Chinese side should make some improvements. This is our position on this issue.

A (Hua Chu-ying): I don't know how regular you attend the press conference. At least you were not here for a couple of days. Now you show up with some rather unfriendly questions.

On your first question, to be frank, I don't quite get your point. But obviously what you asked about is outside the remit of the Foreign Ministry. So, whoever is responsible for that, you may go and ask them.

On your second question, I gave my reply yesterday. China's position is very clear. I noted that MUJI said in an interview that the company has dealt with this matter as required by relevant Chinese department and given a serious reading to all the laws and regulations. I also want to refer you to the notice published by the National Administration of Surveying, Mapping and Geoinformation of China which made it clear that it was a general survey targeting no particular foreign company. China welcomes foreign businesses' investment and operation in China, but all of them shall abide by China's laws and regulations.

On your third question, I wonder how many of the nearly 600 foreign journalists in China joined the FCCC. You said you agreed with the report, then I assume you are one of its members. I'd like to ask you a few questions. Why other media haven't met the problem you mentioned? Why does Sankei Shimbun feel that way? Don't you think it is how you behave sometimes that needs to be reflected upon? I believe, when the majority of foreign journalists and press can carry out their work and coverage smoothly in China, but you Sankei Shimbun only has met problems, then you yourself need to do some self-reflection and self-examination.

All the foreign journalists are our friends. We hope that what you write and what you capture on your cameras is a China that is real, multi-dimensional, and comprehensive. We hope that you, as bridges between China and the world, could help enhance two-way communication and increase mutual understanding and cooperation. We welcome and support all your positive efforts to that end.

(Hong Kong Free Press) ‘Low-grade brainwashing’: Journalists react after China Foreign Min. puts foreign correspondents on the spot. February 2, 2018.


The Guardian’s Beijing Bureau Chief Tom Phillips responded by saying: “This is how Chinese gov responds to report accusing it of trying to browbeat foreign correspondents….!”

China Correspondent for Agence France-Presse Rebecca Davis said it was a “doozy of a MOFA response” and “low-grade brainwashing.”

Associated Press journalist Gerry Shih said "One issue is not many active FCCC members attend Mofa. Would be good to rally and attend next time a report lands because this isn't the first time Hua has pulled this line."

(Japan Times) February 3, 2018.

Foreign Minister Taro Kono’s Twitter selfie with Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying has created a buzz — but not everyone is smiling.

The photo was posted on Kono’s Twitter account on Jan. 28, when he held talks with his Chinese counterpart, Wang Yi, in Beijing. Hua, known for her tough looks, was smiling in the photo with Kono.

“With a famous Chinese lady!” Kono wrote in English.

Many Twitter users welcomed the post, seeing it as a sign of friendly Japan-China ties.

But Hiroyuki Konishi of the opposition Democratic Party, a member of the Upper House, criticized Kono on Twitter. “She is just a spokesperson of the Chinese government. She is a lower-ranking person, not a partner of diplomatic negotiations,” Konishi said. “Taking a photo with such a person with a flirtatious grin is not diplomacy but tributary.”

In response, Kono expressed surprise that somebody might care about a person’s “rank” when taking photos. “That sounds exhausting,” Kono said in a posting.

- The point is not about rank. The point is that Hua Chun-ying is famous in Japan too.

- The foreign correspondents have struck back at Hua Chunying ...

(Liberty Times) February 28, 2018.

It is being said that the police searched the home of Hua Chunying and found US$5 million in cash plus information that she is planning to immigrate to the United States and has bought real estate property there. The police have charged her with subversion. This information has not been confirmed.

Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokespersons rotate on a 10-day schedule. When Hua Chunying came back for her rotation on March 1, some of the foreign correspondents gasped in shock because they had all heard the "news." Hua smiled calmly.

- How dumb can this get? Why would anyone give US$5 million to a Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesperson? Do these spokespersons have access to national secrets? Of course not. They are only told what they need to know so that they cannot let real secrets slip out. Can they say something that is contrary to the main theme? If they did, they would be fired. This is obvious false information.

- The charge for receiving US$5 million would be bribery and not subversion.

There is nothing wrong with immigrating unless the terms of employment and/or national security forbids it. For example, Taiwan ex-president Ma Ying-jeou was not allowed to visit Hong Kong because he knows certain state secrets. The charge would not be subversion.

There is nothing wrong with buying real estate properties provided the money is legitimate. If the purchase is made with "dark" money, then the charge would be bribery/money laundering or some such. The charge would not be subversion.

(Electoral Affairs Commission) January 29, 2018.

A total of 20 nomination forms for the 2018 Legislative Council by-election were received by the Returning Officers at the close of the two-week nomination period at 5pm today (January 29).

The Electoral Affairs Commission will hold a briefing for candidates and their agents at Lai Chi Kok Community Hall, G/F, No. 863 Lai Chi Kok Road, Sham Shui Po, Kowloon, at 7.30pm on February 1 (Thursday).

The Chairman of the Electoral Affairs Commission, Mr Justice Barnabas Fung Wah, will chair the briefing session and brief candidates and their agents on the guidelines on election-related activities, electoral arrangements for the by-election and the important points to note in running their election campaigns. A representative from the Independent Commission Against Corruption will explain the Elections (Corrupt and Illegal Conduct) Ordinance.

Before the briefing, the Returning Officers or Assistant Returning Officers will determine the order of appearance of names of candidates for their respective constituencies on ballot papers and the allocation of designated spots for the display of election advertisements by drawing of lots. 

(Oriental Daily with video) February 1, 2018.

When the Chairman of the Electoral Affairs Commission, Mr Justice Barnabas Fung Wah, came out at 730pm, Nathan Law, Agnes Chow and Joshua Wong attempted to charge to the front of the podium. They held placards with the words "Political screening is shameful" and they demanded to know why the nominees were disqualified. They chanted "Fairness and justice is not protected in the election." Security guards came forth to block their progress. The master of ceremony asked them to be quiet. The three together with Agnes Chow's election agent Choi Chun-yin were ejected from the meeting.

Earlier the three pan-democratic candidates addressed the press. Edward Yiu Chung-yin said that it was illegal for the government to disqualify nominees through the Returning Officer. He said that he will complain to the relevant United Nations human rights agency in April. Au Nok-hin said that he will asked Returning Officer Anne Teng about the unreasonable disqualification. Gary Fan Kwok-wai said that the disqualification of Agnes Chow is a suppression of young people. Returning Officer Anne Teng was present on stage when the order of names of candidates was selected for Hong Kong Island.

Outside the venue, somebody left a can of stinking fish and a pile of grasshoppers on the ground.

- (YouTube) Joshua Wong being escorted out of the meeting hall.

- (YouTube) Agnes Chow, Nathan Law and Joshua Wong are ejected.

- (YouTube) Close-up so that you can hear the slogans clearly. Whatever. By now, nobody cares anymore.

(Oriental Daily) February 1, 2018.

At about 800pm, the floor was opened for questions from the audience. The disqualified nominee Ventus Lau Wing-hong said that he was able to go to mainland China today with his Home Visit Permit. So was the Returning Officer or the mainland immigration authorities derelict in their duties? Lau asked repeatedly: "Am I a Hong Kong independence proponent?"

Electoral Affairs Commission chairman Barnabas Fung said that they are only responsible for appointing the Returning Officers who make those and other decisions. As such, the Electoral Affairs Commission has no role or function on any decisions. If anyone has problems with the Returning Officers, they can file petitions accordingly.

At the meeting, Lau repeatedly yelled that he is a nominee. He insulted Barnabas Fung with "Fuck your mother!" and then he escalated to "Fuck your mother's stinking cunt!" He was finally removed by the security guards. Afterwards Lau admitted that he brought the Swedish stinking fish and the pile of grasshoppers. He wanted to bring in inside the meeting hall and throw them at Barnabas Fung. But when his assistant opened the can, it smelled really stinky and so he threw it on fish on the ground.

- (YouTube) Ventus Lau Wing-hong insisted that he is a nominee because he has a nomination receipt from the Returning Officer.

- (YouTube) Ventus Lau Wing-hong posed the question to Barnabas Fung.

- (YouTube) Ventus Lau Wing-hong explains the newest method of resistance: the Swedish stinky fish.

Internet comments:

- This road show is tiresome by now. The trailer sounded interesting, with Agnes Chow announcing that she will confront the Returning Officer Anne Teng and demand justice. This time, she said that she hoped Anne Teng will not be a no-show as was the case with the Eastern district council meeting.

When the show started, the introductory remarks were made by Electoral Affairs Commission chairman Barnabas Fung. Immediately Agnes Chow and friends jumped up, shouted and got ejected. When Anne Teng showed up later for the introduction of the Hong Kong Island candidates, there was nobody left to yell or throw objects at her.

- What is the purpose of all the yelling and screaming? They did not bring their own megaphones. So all I heard was some noise and the master of ceremony telling the security guards to take action to maintain order. I have no idea what they were saying, and I can only imagine.

- They just don't have the imagination to come up with alternate methods.

- (Wen Wei Po) February 2, 2018.

About an hour before the briefing was to begin, almost 100 people from Demosisto, People Power, League of Social Democrats and pro-independence organizations gathered outside to chant slogans to oppose the disqualification of Agnes Chow, Ventus Lau and Steven Chan.

Afterwards, the nominees Au Nok-hin, Edward Yiu and Gary Fan abused their positions and brought Demosisto members Agnes Chow, Nathan Law, Joshua Wong and Choi Chun-yin inside the hall as their campaign staff workers. When Barnabas Fung entered, the four Demosisto members stood up to charge at the podium while chanting slogans.

Shortly afterwards, Ventus Lau gained entry with a pass given to him by Kowloon West candidate Choi Tung-chau.

So this was a case in which certain candidates abused the system to provide cover for certain other people to disrupt the meeting.

(News.gov.hk) January 27, 2018.

The Government supports the decisions on the validity of nomination made by the Returning Officers in accordance with the law.

The Government made the statement today in response to media enquiries regarding the 2018 Legislative Council By-election. It said Returning Officers have the duty as well as power to make decisions according to the electoral laws.

The Government agrees to and supports the Returning Officer’s decision that the nomination of a candidate was invalid as she did not comply with section 40(1)(b)(i) of the LegCo Ordinance.

The Government said the candidate cannot possibly comply with the requirements of the electoral laws as advocating or promoting "self-determination" is contrary to the content of the declaration that the law requires a candidate to make to uphold the Basic Law and pledge allegiance to the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region.

It said "self-determination" or changing the HKSAR system by referendum which includes the choice of independence is inconsistent with the constitutional and legal status of the HKSAR as stipulated in the Basic Law, as well as the established basic policies of the People's Republic of China regarding Hong Kong, that is Hong Kong should be a special administrative region of the PRC under the "one country, two systems" principle.

According to Basic Law Article 104, LegCo members must swear to uphold the Basic Law and swear allegiance to the HKSAR before assuming office.

Upholding the Basic Law is a basic legal duty of a legislator, the Government said, adding if a person advocates or promotes self-determination or independence by any means, he or she cannot possibly uphold the Basic Law or fulfil his or her duties as a legislator.

The Government all along respects and safeguards the rights enjoyed by Hong Kong residents according to law, including the rights to vote and to stand for election. It also has a duty to implement and uphold the Basic Law and to ensure all elections are conducted in accordance with the Basic Law and electoral laws.

The Government said the decisions made by the Returning Officers are to ensure the LegCo election is held in strict accordance with the Basic Law and other applicable laws in an open, honest and fair manner.

There is no question of any political censorship, restriction of the freedom of speech or deprivation of the right to stand for elections as alleged by some members of the community, it added.

Demosistō's Statement on Barring Agnes Chow from standing in by-election.

1. The Retuning Officer informed today (27 Jan) that Agnes Chow has been barred from standing for the by-election because of her political affiliation. Demosisto strongly condemns the government's decision.

2. The Administration has already given Chow inconveniences regarding her citizenship ever since she submitted her materials, but has never challenged nor further inquired her political stance.

3. Back in the 2016 election, the office has requested candidates to provide additional information to affirm whether their stance meets election standards. The procedures this time are certainly different: Civil servants are given the power to judge candidates’ political stance when confirming nominations, without offering them any opportunity to explain.

4. The explanation offered by the Returning Officer has not given specific reference to past comments by Chow. Instead it only lists Demosisto’s platform, effectively stripping the rights of all members of the group to run in elections, barring Demosisto from the legislature.

5. Paragraph 10 of the decision clearly cites developments since the 2016 election. This indicates the decision is political, a violation of the civil servants’ political neutrality.

6. Paragraph 10 also cites the interpretation of Article 104 of the Basic Law. We condemn once again Beijing’s destruction of Hong Kong’s rule of law. In addition, the interpretation sets rules for swearing-in procedures, which should not have any relation to one’s right to stand for election. The office should not have the power to further interpret Beijing’s interpretation as it removes basic rights of Hong Kong citizens.

7. For Demosisto, this incident is a payback against an entire generation. Demosisto members have both been imprisoned and barred from entering the political establishment. The government’s motivation is to demolish the youth’s desire to push forward social change in Hong Kong. Momentum gained from the Umbrella Movement will be absent from the legislature.

8. The government’s removal of the right to stand for election is virtually a permanent stripping of Hong Kongers’ political rights. The UNHRC points out that one’s political positions should not be the basis of whether one can participate in the democratic process. The decision is therefore an unconstitutional, anti-human rights one.

27 January 2018

Internet comments:

- Election Affairs Commission: 2018 Legislative Council By-election: Nomination of Candidates


4.2. To be eligible for nomination as a candidate at an election for a Geographical Constituency, a person must:

(a) be 21 years of age or over;

(c) not be disqualified from being by virtue of paragraph 4.5;

(d) have ordinarily resided in Hong Kong for the 3 years immediately preceding the date of his/her nomination; and

(e) be a Chinese citizen who is a permanent resident of Hong Kong with no right of abode in any country other than the People's Republic of China.

4.5. A person is disqualified from being nominated as a candidate at an election, and from being elected as a member, if he/she:

(e) on the date of nomination, or of the election, is serving a sentence of imprisonment;

(f) is or has been convicted, within 5 years before the polling date,

(i) of any offence in Hong Kong or in any other place, the sentence for which is imprisonment (suspended or not) for not less than 3 months;

How to Nominate

4.18 The Candidate's Consent to Nomination and Declarations

This must be completed and signed by the candidate and attested by a witness. The candidate must sign and make the following declarations and promissory oath:

(i) a declaration to the effect that the candidate will uphold the Basic Law and pledge allegiances to the HKSAR;

(ii) a declaration as to the candidate's nationality and as to whether or not he/she has a right of abode in a country other than the People's Republic of China;

4.22. A candidate who knowingly and wilfully makes a statement which is false in a material particular in the declaration in the nomination form shall be guilty of an offence under the Crimes Ordinance (Cap 200) and shall be liable to a fine and to imprisonment for 2 years. Under a s 103 of the EAC (EP) (LC) Reg, a person who knowingly makes a false statement in a material particular or recklessly makes an incorrect statement in a material particular or omits a material particular in an election-related document commits an offense and shall be liable to a fine at level 2 ($5,000) and to imprisonment for 6 months, which is a prescribed offence with the same disqualifying effect as conviction of a corrupt or illegal conduct under the ECICO.

CAP 542 Legislative Council Ordinance

Section 40. What requirements are to be complied with by persons nominated as candidates

(1) A person is no validly nominated for an election for a constituency unless --

(b) the nomination form includes or is accompanied by

(i) a declaration to the effect that the person will uphold the Basic Law and pledge allegiance to the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region;

- With respect to Demosistō, Joshua Wong could not run in the 2016 Legislative Council elections because he was not yet 21 years old, but Nathan Law could and won a seat.

Joshua Wong and Nathan Law could not run in the 2018 Legislative Council by-elections because they were convicted of incitement of and participation in unlawful gathering, and sentenced to more than 3 months of imprisonment.

And now Agnes Chow Ting is banned because the Returning Officer ruled that Chow did not comply with  section 40(1)(b)(i) of the Legislative Coucnil Ordinance.

- (Hong Kong Free Press) January 27, 2018.

The pro-democracy Demosistō party has confirmed that its legislative by-election candidate Agnes Chow has been banned from entering the race this March. It said the decision was “illegal and groundless.”

In a statement, the party said the decision made no reference to Chow’s speeches but pointed to their party manifesto: “This is equal to stripping the rights of all members of the group to run in elections, barring Demosistō from the legislature,” it said. “This is the purge by the Chinese Communist Party against a whole generation.”

- Demosistō: About Us

Demosistō aims to achieve democratic self-determination in Hong Kong. Through direct action, popular referenda, and non-violent means, we push for the city’s political and economic autonomy from the oppression of the Communist Party of China (CPC) and capitalist hegemony.

- (Hong Kong Free Press) January 27, 2018.

At the party’s launch in 2016, Demosistō co-founder Joshua Wong said they wished to hold a public vote on Hong Kong’s status: “Independence should be one of the options inside the self-determination referendum,” he said.

- (Sing Tao Daily) Will Demosistō change its policy platform in light of Agnes Chow's disqualification. Secretary-general Joshua Wong refused to answer this question. Demosistō is not registered as a society in Hong Kong. In 2016, they applied to the company registry but were rejected because their policy of "democratic self-determination" contravenes the Hong Kong Basic Law.

- (Wen Wei Po) January 28, 2018. Civic Passion faction netizen Blue Phoenix wrote on Facebook: "If I remember right, Agnes Chow Ting is a founding member of Demosistō. A few days ago, I spotted her campaigning in Tai Koo using the Demosistō name. If I want to learn about her policy platform, where else would I go but Demosistō? Or does Agnes Chow want to deny all ties to Demosistō at this time? If so, shouldn't Agnes Chow announce her resignation from Demosistō first?"

- This also means that all Demosistō members will be barred from running in future elections on account of the party platform.

- This is a mere technicality. Whenever a Demosistō member wants to run for election, he/she will resign from the party and renounce the party platform. After the oath of office is taken, he/she can re-join the party. This is called rule-of-law (nudge nudge wink wink).

- Apart from Demosistō, there are a number of self-determination advocates who are endangered species for the 2020 Legislative Council elections or the by-elections before then for the two openings left by the disqualification of Lau Siu-lai (Kowloon West) and Leung Kwok-hung (New Territories East). The list includes: Lau Siu-lai, Eddie Chu Hoi-dick, Tommy Cheung Sau-yin.

- (Oriental Daily) January 29, 2018. At the official website of Demosistō, the Chinese version of the party policy platform has been revised. Previously, it said: "Demosistō aims to achieve democratic self-determination in Hong Kong. Through direct action, popular referenda, and non-violent means, we push for the city’s political and economic autonomy from the oppression of the Communist Party of China (CPC) and capitalist hegemony." The revised version is: "Demosistō is a youthful political party promoting democracy in Hong Kong. Its main thrusts are to use non-violent resistance, building a civic society and advancing community relations in order to promote democratic self-determination, autonomy in politics and economy and realizing the idea of democratic governance in Hong Kong."

When Demosistō secretary-general Joshua Wong was asked about the changes, he said that he had just gotten out of jail and he had no idea when these changes were made. He said that there have been many changes since the founding of the political party, and these have nothing to do with Agnes Chow's candidacy. He said that Demosistō has always advocated democratic self-determination.

- What do you mean that Joshua Wong doesn't know who or when changed the party platform? There are always easy targets to blame:

(1) Derek Lam resigned from Demosisto last November over unspecified financial misdeeds. Joshua Wong might as well as blame Lam for the unauthorized change in the party policy platform.

(2) The proverbial Chinese Communist hacker army broke into the Demosisto website/Facebook. The website will be restored as it was now that Agnes Chow has been disqualified.

- (SCMP) January 29, 2018.

Hong Kong student activist Joshua Wong Chi-fung admitted on Monday that his party, Demosisto, had quietly removed from its mission statement suggestions that it rejected Chinese rule, but denied the change was made to help its candidate, Agnes Chow Ting, qualify to run in the Legislative Council by-elections.

However, election authorities over the weekend banned Chow from contesting the Hong Kong Island seat in the March 11 polls, noting that her party had called for self-determination for the city, rendering her ineligible under rules to curb independence advocacy.

Wong and fellow party leader Nathan Law Kwun-chung said the changes to the mission statement, made only on the Chinese version of the party’s website, were based on “minor shifts” after years of work and to make the statement more accessible to laypeople.

The changes were made after Chow submitted her candidacy on January 18.

The original Chinese version stated that Demosisto upheld “democratic self-determination” as its “highest doctrine”, opposed the Chinese Communist Party and called for a popular referendum to push for the city’s autonomy. 

The updated version contains the phrase “democratic self-determination” but the other phrases were dropped. 

Wong, on a radio programme, argued that the issue was not about whether the party had changed its doctrine but why the authorities were “vetting thoughts”.

“Even if we change our doctrine, the returning officer would still think we are not genuinely upholding the Basic Law,” he said, referring to the government official appointed to oversee the by-elections.

News that Chow’s nomination was ruled invalid drew criticism from opposition politicians and legal experts but Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor insisted it had been done by the book. “Any suggestion of ‘Hong Kong independence’, ‘self-determination’, independence as a choice, or self-autonomy, is not in line with Basic Law requirements, and deviates from the important principle of ‘one country, two systems’,” she said, referring to the city’s mini-constitution.

As to why Law had been allowed to run for the Hong Kong Island seat in the 2016 Legco election, returning officer Anne Teng argued that each case must be considered on its own merits. She said she had taken into consideration recent developments such as Beijing’s interpretation of the mini-constitution that made improper oath-taking and failure to accept Hong Kong as an inalienable part of China punishable by disqualification.

That interpretation of the Basic Law by China’s top legislative body led to six pro-democracy lawmakers, including Law, losing their seats for failing to take their oaths of office properly.

Law, on the same radio programme, stressed that the party would continue to call for “self-determination”, but said it was a “slippery slope” to tighten election eligibility criteria based on new developments.

“Do we need to say we uphold the Article 23 [national security] legislation in future? And further later … do we need to say we respect and embrace the rule of the Chinese Communist Party?” Law said.

Wong accused the authorities of having shifting goalposts on eligibility and said this meant the chances of Demosisto taking part in future polls were slim.

Since it could not enter the legislature, Demosisto would continue to be active in civil society and also alert the international community to their cause, Wong said.

On a separate radio programme, a member of Lam’s cabinet, Ronny Tong Ka-wah, cheered Demosisto’s amendment to its political charter and said it was a sign that they were starting to understand political realities.olitical charter and said it was a sign that they were starting to understand political realities.

He added: “We are deprived of basic human rights under Beijing’s order and the changing political restrictions.”  

Tong was asked whether the stricter interpretation of eligibility criteria for elections would also affect those who criticised controversial efforts to institute a national security law under Article 23 of the Basic Law. In 2003, the government was forced to scrap a plan to enact the legislation after half a million people took to the streets.

He said this was possible, adding: “If you are not someone who takes part in politics or engages in political commentary, you won’t reach a position where you can challenge or threaten the position of the Basic Law. 

“But if this is the Legislative Council, which is part of the system, and you are advocating [the idea] that we do not have to follow Article 23, then it may be considered a sign that one is not willing to uphold the Basic Law.”

- Reversing party positions. Changing party constitution. Renouncing British citizenship. Stopping talk of Hong Kong independence. Swearing to pledge loyalty to the People's Republic of China. Is there anything they wouldn't do to get that $100,000/month Legislative Councilor job?

- I wonder if they would eat dog turd?

- (Hong Kong Free Press) January 27, 2018.

Demosistō party said that, during the 2016 election, candidates were asked about their political views: “This incident is equal to giving returning officers power to judge candidates’ political stance when confirming nominations, without giving a chance for them to explain.”

The party also said the election officer explained that they “considered developments after the 2016 Legislative Council election” and the Basic Law interpretation issued by Beijing. Nathan Law, the party’s chair, was stripped of his title as a lawmaker because of his oath of office.

“The interpretation only regulated and limits the form and content of oath taking, and is unrelated to rights to participate in elections. We question what power the returning officer has to explain content of the interpretation,” the party said. “This is illegal and groundless.”

- If your public statements show that you do not accept Basic Law Article 1, you would be taking a false oath if you take the oath of office after being elected. So the Returning Officer is doing you a favor by sparing you the perjury charge.

- I don't have a problem with eliminating all oaths (including oaths of office, court witness oaths, wedding vows, promissory notes, IOUs, etc). But I don't think that a sole exception should be made for perjury being acceptable during oaths of office of the Legislative Councilors. This is giving a bad name to the term "oath." If you want this, you are better off scrapping the Legco oath of office altogether.

- (Hong Kong Free Press) January 27, 2018.

Demosistō added that the electoral returning officer had questioned Chow’s nationality in her bid to run, but did not ask questions about her party’s political stance. Chow gave up her British citizenship in order to be eligible to enter the race.

- Do not weep for Agnes Chow about losing her British citizenship, because there is an escape mechanism in that she has one more chance to renounce that renunciation.

- (Bastille Post) January 27, 2017.

Today, it was announced that Agnes Chow will be barred from the Hong Kong Island Legco by-election. So far, the two announced candidates are Hong Kong Island South district councilor Judy Chan Ka-pui (New People's Party) and Edward Yum Liang-hsien (independent). Previously, ex-Democratic Party member and current Hong Kong Island South district councilor Au Nok-hin announced that he will enter if Chow is barred.

According to analysts, pro-establishment candidate Judy Chan won't improve her chances if Au Nok-hin replaces Agnes Chow. Up to this point, Chan has been leading the polls over Chow who is perceived as inexperienced and unqualified. Chow may be picking up support, but her pro-Self-Determination position means that she may not have the full support across the pan-democratic spectrum.

Au Nok-hin used to be a member of the Democratic Party which is very clearly opposed to independence/self-determination. But he broke away from the Democratic Party in an acrimonious fashion. So it is not clear that the Democratic Party precinct captains and community organizers will work enthusiastically for Au's campaign.

Another potential candidate sitting in the wings is Cyd Ho Sau-lan (Labour Party). She lost in the 2016 Hong Kong Island Legco elections, but she got 19,376 votes. So far she has not given any indication that she is interested. But if she enters, she may be able to unify the pan-democrats better.

The disqualification of Agnes Chow may motivate the pan-democrats to turn out in large numbers for whoever that candidate might be. So the absence of Agnes Chow may not be helping Judy Chan.

- (Wen Wei Po) January 28, 2018. Previously, Au Nok-hin had signed The Resolution On The Future of Hong Kong, which stated that the people of Hong Kong should united together to fight for "internal self-determination." Specifically, "the political position of Hong Kong after 20447 must be determined internally by the people of Hong Kong themselves through a sufficiently democratic and binding system." This "internal self-determination" will bring about "permanent autonomous rule."

- So don't count on Au Nok-hin sailing through the nomination process either. Au filed his nomination without fanfare on Saturday morning precisely because he hoped that nobody will bring up those inconvenient facts in his history. He boasted to the press that he is Demosisto's Plan B but has clamped up since then. He will say nothing more about Demosisto until after he is sworn into office.

- Lam Chung-ming: "Au Nok-hin, do you support democratic self-determination? Please tell the voters! ... If you don't support democratic self-determination, then you are not a fellow traveler of Demosisto."

Ming Sum Chan: "You won't fight the disqualification. You are more interested in being the Plan B. What is your purpose other than swindling more money?"

Neil Law: "The pan-democrats are feeble-minded ... Right now the citizens want to fight the disqualifications and not to come up with so many Plans so that the government has to let some of them run. You are only helping the government pre-screen the candidates."

Constantine Chan: "I remember Au Nok-hin. The bastard placed a donation box for HKTV. After HKTV denied that they were soliciting for money, Au said that he would turn the money over. You must be stupid to vote for Au Nok-hin!"

- (Apple Daily) January 27, 2018. The disqualified New Territories East legislative councilor Leung "Long Hair" Kwok-hung called on the people of Hong Kong to refuse to pay taxes. He called on the international community not to use Hong Kong as an arbitration centre because the Hong Kong SAR government has failed to live up to its promises.

- The government will come after tax deadbeats, using measures such as piling on fines for late/non-payment, placing liens on your property, garnishing your wages, marking down your credit rating, forcing you into involuntary bankruptcy, holding up your immigration application, etc. When that times comes, Leung Kwok-hung will tell you to be brave and firm in the face of the coming storm. In other words, you are screwed.

- A big protest rally is being called for tomorrow. The secondary goal is to rally for the alternate candidate, most likely to be Au Nok-hin. The primary goal is to get people to donate more money to help Hong Kong to fight back against the Hong Kong Communist government in this darkest day in the history of democracy in Hong Kong.

- (HKG Pao) January 28, 2018. The number of participants in this rally should be the bellwether of public opinion. So let us see what the numbers are:

Demosisto chairman Nathan Law: We did not count the number of participants

Yellow media HK01: Several hundred

Yellow media Apple Daily: No mention

Yellow media Ming Pao: No mention

Blue media Oriental Daily: Almost 700.

Hong Kong Police: 2,000 at the peak.

In 2016, Demosisto chairman Nathan Law was elected into the Legislative Council with 50,818 votes. Where have those voters gone? Why won't they turn out to support the "political prisoner of conscience" Agnes Chow Ting?

- Interesting that nobody has said yet that this is time to raise more money in order to file a judicial review. I am waiting ...

- Tanya Chan's Facebook on how to build up unity among the pan-democrats:

The government has issued a press release to confirm that one person has been disqualified from the Legco by-election. If this is Agnes Chow Ting, she will be the first person in Hong Kong to be "permanently deprived of her political rights." Based upon her "crime," she will never be allowed to run unless she resigns from Demosisto, shows genuine contrition and the Chinese Communists forgives her.

- If Agnes Chow is the first such person in Hong Kong, then the previous six disqualified legislative councilors -- Baggio Leung Chung-hang, Yau Wai-ching, Lau Siu-lai, Nathan Law Kwun-chung, Leung Kwok-hung and Edward Yiu Chung-yim -- are apparently not persons at all. What are they? Dogs? Pigs?

- (Wen Wei Po) January 28, 2018. Faced with the criticisms of the pro-independence crowd, barrister Tanya Chan used sophistry. She said that she had meant that "Agnes Chow is the first person to be disqualified after the National People's Congress Standing Committee 2017 interpretation of the Basic Law" whereas "Baggio Leung Chung-hang, Alice Lai and others were disqualified before that."

Lucy Chung asked: "Why are people fighting to become the first to be disqualified aft er the National People's Congress Standing Committee 2017 interpretation of the Basic Law?" Is that a prize for heroism? WS Wong added: "Why not change this to the first person to be disqualified in 2018?" Indeed.

- If you want accountability, then the decision was made by the Hong Kong Island Returning Officer Anne Teng Yu-yan. It was not made by the Central Government, or the Hong Kong SAR Government, or the China Liaison Office, or the HKSAR Chief Executive Carrie Lam, or the Secretary for Justice Teresa Cheng, or by the Election Affairs Commission. The buck stops at the desk of Anne Teng. If you say that these other persons/organizations took part, you'll have to produce evidence that is more than speculation.

- Agnes Chow said that she has never ever said that she supports Hong Kong independence. So the ruling was based upon the fact that her party Demosisto has a policy platform that advocates allowing the people of Hong Kong to decide by their sovereignty as well as constitutional system by public referendum. Even though Demosisto does not support Hong Kong independence, they said that democratic principles require that Hong Kong independence be one of the options on this public referendum.

Teng considered this position as contrary to the Hong Kong Basic Law. Given that Agnes Chow stated her political affiliation as "Demosisto" and that there is no public information that Chow has changed that relationship, Teng barred Chow from the by-election.

What should (if anything) should be done about Anne Teng? Let us have a public referendum. Here is the list of options:
(1) Anne Teng shall be raped repeatedly
(2) Anne Teng shall be hanged from the gallows until she is dead
(3) Anne Teng shall be dismissed from her regular job as District Officer (Eastern)
(4) Anne Teng shall be awarded a Golden Bauhinia award for meritorious public service
(5) Don't know/no opinion/no answer/"Who fucking cares?"
(6) Other answer (write in): ________________
Declaration: I am not personally advocating rape or murder in any way, shape or form, but democratic principles require that I list all the options for the People to choose from.

- (HKG Pao) January 29, 2018. Apple Daily has reporters following the "DQ executioner" Anne Teng around the clock. We will soon learn everything about her and her family.

- So far Apple Daily has pointed out that Anne Teng led an exchange group to visit Zhuhai city and spoke to Zhuhai City Overseas Chinese Liaison Office vice-chairman Zhang Yinglong. So this proves that Anne Teng is a Communist.

- Anne Teng spells her family name "Teng" instead of the regular "Tang" (as in David Tang, Stephy Tang, Sheren Tang, G.E.M. Tang, etc). This proves that she is a Communist.

- Eh, Teng is the old Mandarin spelling (as in Teresa Teng). In pinyin, it would be "Deng."

- Deng? It means that she is related to Deng Xiaoping. Or Deng Yingchao (Mrs. Zhou Enlai). Now everything is loud and clear ...

- (Oriental Daily) January 30, 2018. Anne Teng's regular day job is District Officer (Eastern district, Hong Kong Island). She only moonlights as Returning Election Officer during elections. At the Eastern District Council meeting today, Agnes Chow Ting, Joshua Wong Chi-fung and friends were waiting for Anne Teng.

It was agreed that the district councilors would be admitted into the conference room first. Other persons were supposed to register first. But Chow, Wong and friends tried to rush in behind the district councilors and they were stopped. The usual rugby scrum took place.

The meeting was called off for lack of quorum because about six district councilors could not enter. Eastern district councilor and Legislative Councilor Kwok Wai-keung said that the demonstrators chose the wrong place and time to protest. The pro-democracy activists had their media show, but the people of Eastern district lost because the district council business was held up.

By the way, Anne Teng was not there at all.

- Previously, some Hong Kong Returning Election Officers have received death threats for disqualifying pro-democracy activists such as Edward Leung Tin-kei, Chan Ho-tin, etc. The Returning Election Officers are highly paid public service workers, such that death threats to their families and pets have been figured into their very very high salaries. In Hong Kong, everyone from restaurant waiters to bus drivers to police officers to legislative councilors to the Chief Executive can be and should be threatened with death/dismemberment/disfigurement in the course of their work, with the sole exception being judges/magistrates. Why? Because FREEDOM, DEMOCRACY, HUMAN RIGHTS and UNIVERSAL VALUES.

- (RTHK City Forum) (Facebook video)

Audience member: Ms. Chow, when you were in Japan ... and there is video evidence ... you said that you cannot enter China and so why force a Chinese identity upon yourself? Since you don't believe that you are Chinese, so how do you qualify to run for election for the Legislative Council in Hong Kong (China)? The second point ... I want to make three points ... the second point, please do not say that you represent the people of Hong Kong. First of all, you certainly do not represent me. Secondly, you certainly do not represent the majority of the people of Hong Kong.

Chow Ting: I never said that I represent you.

Audience member: Your organization's poster says that you represent the people of Hong Kong. You can look at it yourself. If you can say it, you shouldn't deny it. Secondly, your organization people frequently cross your arms and turn your backs when the national anthem is played in order to insult the country. This is enough to disqualify you!

[halted by the program host]

- (Facebook) The audience member who was cut off by the program host has provided the third point of her question: Ms. Chow, please look at the back of your Hong Kong ID card. There is the seal of the People's Republic of China. If you don't think that you are Chinese, I believe that there must be a pair of scissors in your home with which you can cut the card up!

- The Hong Kong ID card is the property of the Hong Kong government. This woman is inciting the criminal destruction of government property and should be reported to the authorities immediately.

- PW Comics

Frame 1: "We oppose our disqualification."
"There is no legal basis."
(Of course we are anxious because the job pays more than $100,000 per month)

Frame 2: "Sister Chow, was there any legal basis for Occupy Central?"
"Is there any legal basis for self-determination."
"Professor, was there any legal basis for playing around with the oath of office?"

Frame 3: "You are banned from speaking!"

- (SCMP) Agnes Chow’s disqualification does opposition a favour. By Alex Lo. January 29, 2018.

You would think the sky has fallen. There was feigned shock and outrage when Agnes Chow Ting of the radical localist group Demosisto was disqualified from running in the Legislative Council by-elections in March. Never mind the opposition had been talking about that possibility from day one when they put a complete novice in the running for a major Legco seat for Hong Kong Island.

The way things are going, you may be forgiven for thinking they were practically asking for it, or daring the government to do it. Chow, 21, who has no experience or special training in anything – she has never even held down a proper job – is nothing more than a photogenic tool for the opposition to discredit the government and the Legco voting system.

So disqualifying Chow, 21, is nothing like the political earthquake the opposition claims it to be. The decision does not amount to banning Demosisto as a political party, as Chow has claimed, and is not the start of a slippery slope to banning other opposition parties from taking part in Legco elections, according to pan-democratic lawmaker Charles Mok. Politically, the decision actually does everyone a favour, including the opposition; it’s likely to have sealed a victory for Chow’s replacement.

Pro-independence advocates were barred from taking part in the 2016 Legco elections. Among them were Yeung Ke-cheong of the Democratic Progressive Party, Chan Ho-tin of the Hong Kong National Party and Edward Leung Tin-kei of Hong Kong Indigenous. Why should the opposition expect this time would be different for Chow? The conclusion must be that they didn’t.

The latest disqualification will enable the opposition camp to turn public opinion against the government, and gain both sympathy and protest votes in the March polls for backup pan-democrat candidate Au Nok-hin, who could never have run successfully under any other circumstances. That’s good for everyone.

Instead of a complete neophyte like Chow, at least Au, 30, has experience in public policy and human rights issues as a long-serving member of the Southern District Council and of the Civil Human Rights Front, and as a former member of the Democratic Party.

This whole thing doesn’t look like Plan B for the opposition, but Plan A all along. Maybe I am making out the opposition to be cleverer than it usually is. But the situation is turning out to be a no-loss for them and a no-win for the government.

- (Headline Daily) The Invisible Goddess of Democracy. By Chris Wat Wing-yin. January 30, 2018.

If there was a Girl of the Week to be chosen now, I believe that Agnes Chow Ting will win for sure. This 21-year-old legend should be analyzed along with the Joshua Wong Chi-fung phenomenon.

Six years ago, she was just a squeaky-voiced Scholarism spokesperson. Today she is a Legislative Council candidate. I must admire the opposition for their carefully thought out planning.

Like Joshua Wong, Chow was a political child star. She stepped on stage at age 15 and opposed national education along with the other Scholarism kids. Because she speak better English, she was assigned to deal with the English-language media.

"You are young, you are eye-catching, you have good media points. The media will make you!" The Scholarism members told her in order get her to take the stage. Of course, the girl became an instant hit. The media even crowned her as the "Goddess of the Student Movement."

"Actually I am a very ordinary person. I am not good at my studies, I don't have a lot of friends and I don't have a lot of interests." Chow recalled. So the Goddess was an invisible person.

In secondary school, her classmates boycotted her for five years. Almost nobody spoke to her. She ate her lunch box alone in the classroom. To avoid embarrassment, she skipped the school excursions and the banquet to thank the teachers. The worst part were the group exercises because the teacher had to insert her into existing groups.

Chow never told her about the five years of ostracization. Even the teachers did not know much. Her own pressure-reduction method was Japanese anime on the Internet.

This invisible person was indifferent to politics initially. But the Liberal Studies teacher spoke abut June 4th, politics and national education and let her know about Scholarism. So she decided to join them.

At first political incident. On June 3 2016, Chow got ready to attend the June 4th assembly the next day. She did not have any black clothes, so she asked her mother to lend her a black t-shirt. Her mother asked why. She said that she was going to play at a friend's place. She did not tell her mother that she was joining Scholarism. Her mother does not like China much but votes for the DAB all the same.

During the campaign against national education, Chow was the master of ceremony for ten days. "I got better at speaking. I did not use any cheat sheet. My hands did not shake. I got on stage and I spoke immediately. Although it was a tough ten days, I learned so much from it." Her parents found out from the television coverage, but there was nothing that they could do.

Occupy Central took place in 2014. 17-year-old Chow was the Scholarism spokesperson. The Mong Kok riot took place in 2016. Chow Ting and Joshua Wong took photos of themselves at the scene. When the riot broke out, she even ran a live broadcast on her Facebook. Once she realized the seriousness, she silently deleted all the videos. Six years of training had taught her the dirty tricks on the road of politics.

- (SCMP) January 30, 2018. The European Union has warned that the barring of a pro-democracy activist from the city’s legislative by-election “risks diminishing Hong Kong’s international reputation as a free and open society.” The European Union has warned that the barring of a pro-democracy activist from the city’s legislative by-election “risks diminishing Hong Kong’s international reputation as a free and open society. It risks diminishing Hong Kong’s international reputation as a free and open society.”

- Agnes Chow Ting was disqualified for advocating self-determination/independence and not because she is "pro-democracy." Meanwhile, right under the nose of the European Union, two activists Jordi Sánchez and Jordi Cuixart were sent to jail in Spain in preventive detention, without bail, on charges of sedition against the state (specifically, for Catalan independence). Why is it okay to crush separatism within the European Union but not in Hong Kong? Sánchez and Cuixart are facing a maximum of 15 years in jail. What is Agnes Chow facing in Hong Kong? The loss of a HK$100,000/month job?

- Ah, by Jove, I think I've got it -- the EU statement on Hong Kong is coming from the EU's European External Action Service, which is a completely different service from the EU's European Internal Action Service. Internal European matters are held to completely different standards.

- This is the same logic that allowed the British to sell opium to China but made it a capital punishment on the British isles. The logic is known as "Do unto others what you would never do unto your own self."

- (SCMP) Hong Kong not unique in barring some from running in elections. By Alex Lo. January 31, 2018.

Hong Kong may have barred some secessionists from running in polls to be lawmakers, but we are nowhere close, as claimed by some, to banning their parties.

It’s now clear that Agnes Chow Ting, who has been disqualified from running in the Legislative Council by-election in March, and her localist party Demosisto, are committed to separatism, and violating the Basic Law and the Sino-British Joint Declaration, on which the “one country, two systems” governing principle is based.

 Their claim that they only wanted self-determination was a subterfuge to get Chow qualified for the poll. 

In its original party constitution, Demosisto not only called for “democratic self-determination”, but opposed Chinese communist rule and supported a referendum to push for the city’s autonomy.

The revised version has dropped the references to anti-communism and autonomy, retaining only the phrase “democratic self-determination”.

Demosisto co-founder Joshua Wong Chi-fung claimed the changes were minor and were made to help laypeople understand the party’s stance better. So, did Chow, Wong and Co have a change of heart and decide to moderate their stance? Hardly. These people are the ones who cross their arms and stand with their backs to the national and Hong Kong flags at formal occasions such as the annual July 1 handover celebrations, when the national anthem is played.

The changes to their party constitution are naked opportunism. But is disqualifying Chow justified? Well, her party is committed to challenging the very foundations on which Hong Kong’s political order is based. It’s not unusual to ban such parties, even in democracies.

In 2003, the Israeli Central Elections Committee disqualified the Israeli Arab party Balad for denying Israel’s right to exist as a democratic Jewish state; the Supreme Court reversed the disqualification.

Between 1993 and 2009, Turkey banned the People’s Labour Party and its various successors for supporting a Kurdish party branded a terrorist group.

 Austria banned the National Democratic Party for trying to revive national socialist ideas.

Spain banned the Basque nationalist party Herri Batasuna and its successor parties. The leader of the Catalan independence movement is in exile and faces arrest for rebellion, sedition and misuse of public funds if he returns to Spain. In 2002, Germany almost banned the far-right NPD party, but failed on legal technicalities.

It’s always controversial in liberal societies to bar individuals from elections or ban parties. But it’s sometimes necessary to protect the integrity of the political and social order.

- (Economic Times x Sky Post) Agnes Chow Ting (Demosisto) was disqualified from the Legislative Council by-election. Do you think that this is reasonable?

Poll results as of 2:30pm January 30, 2018.

(2150 participants)
79%: Reasonable
20%: Unreasonable
1%: No opinion

(The Standard) January 23, 2018.

Former lawmaker Frederick Fung Kin-kee who has pulled out of being the backup pan-democratic candidate for the March by-election in Kowloon West insisted today that he was not pressured in any way to drop out.

Fung had come second to former lawmaker Edward Yiu Chung-yim in a primary held by the pan-democrats, but now the Democratic Party's Ramon Yuen Hoi-man, (pictured at the left shoulder of Frederick Fung) who finished third, is being touted as a likely replacement if Yiu is barred from running. 

Fung admitted that some pan-democrats had considered fielding a separate candidate if he was to run in the by-election. "If I insist and go on and stand for the by-election, I think there is most likely another team from coming from pan-democratic camp. That I don't want to see," he said. Fung said to avoid that, he withdrew to keep the pro-democracy camp together.

(Ming Pao) January 25, 2018.

WELL before the official kick-off of the Legislative Council by-election in Kowloon West, the internal conflicts within the pro-democratic camp have already been fully exposed by the so-called "Plan B" controversy over the primary election. Out of dissatisfaction with possible "backup candidates", some members of the pan-dem camp have ridden roughshod over the terms of the memorandum on the primary election mechanism in the name of "maximising their chances", in effect attempting to perform a screening and hand-picking exercise and "disqualifying" their fellows behind the scenes. The moral high ground is the source of the pro-democratic camp's strength. Disrespecting the rules of the game of the primary election is the same as disrespecting the people who had voted. The importance of a seat cannot compare with that of the core values. The pro-democrats have always placed high importance on procedural justice. They ought not let their own moral high ground be ruined and their political foundations be shaken by dishonourable political plots and rivalry between different political lines.

The Plan B controversy was born out of hearsay early this month that Edward Yiu Chung-yim, a member of the democratic self-determination caucus, may again be disqualified if he runs in the by-election. Days later, the result of the primary election was released and Yiu won 70% of the vote, defeating traditional pan-democrat Frederick Fung Kin-kee by a wide margin. Supporters of Yiu suggested that the camp needs someone with "better chances" to be Yiu's replacement. But many pro-democrats wanted to stick to the original mechanism and make Fung, the runner-up in the primary, the backup candidate. Some pan-democrats mulled over finding a political heavyweight to be the backup candidate. Later, Fung ruled himself out of the by-election. He said some "progressive pro-democrats" had threatened to field a separate candidate if Fung was to run, implying that his withdrawal was under pressure and against his own will.

The memorandum by the Power for Democracy on the primary election states clearly that in case the winner of the primary is disqualified by the government, they "can select the first two or three runners-up as the Plan B or Plan C candidates in accordance with their popularity". Despite the clarity in the statement, some so-called "progressive pro-democrats" have claimed that "abiding by the mechanism" should not be the only principle for deciding who should be the replacement. Saying the odds of winning should also be taken into consideration, they have asserted that the scenario of "Yiu out and Fung in" will cause discontent among many supporters of the pro-democrats. Some have even argued that since the word used in the memorandum is "can" instead of "must", there is actually "flexibility" in the primary election mechanism and so on.

Now that Fung has been "forced to withdraw", according to the primary election mechanism, the Plan C should be Ramon Yuen Hoi-man of the Democratic Party. However, both Yuen and the Power for Democracy have been evasive on this subject. Yuen said "running or not should not be decided by myself alone". What the Power for Democracy has said is even more ridiculous. On the one hand it has said "there are replacement plans" in the primary election mechanism. On the other hand it has maintained it is absolutely not the "appropriate time" to discuss replacement candidates now. Meanwhile Eddie Chu Hoi-dick has further revealed the existence of a so-called "Plan D". Put another way, they are looking for an "ultimate candidate" to prepare for the dropping out of both Fung and Yuen.

Whether presented as "inviting heavyweights to come out of retirement" or a "Plan D", what is going on is merely an attempt to field a non-participant in the primary. Once Yuen decides to "retreat in the face of overwhelming odds" like Fung, the replacement mechanism of the primary election will cease to exist . By then the one operating behind the scenes will have the excuse to field someone who did not run in the primary election as the "Plan D". If this is the case, how different will such a manoeuvre be from the hand-picking, screening and black-box operations that the pro-democrats have detested so bitterly? The pro-democrats should give a clear account on this and whether the replacement mechanism of the primary election exists in name only.

Internet comments:

- (SCMP) Unlike his doubters, Frederick Fung still has dignity. By Alex Lo. January 24, 2018.

There may not be room any more in the opposition camp for an old-school pan-democrat and gentleman like Frederick Fung.

The “primaries” run by the Power for Democracy, an umbrella group that helps coordinate the different parties and factions within the opposition, did so well and came up with four viable candidates last week for the Legislative Council by-elections in March.

The whole idea was to eliminate infighting and rivalry that had plagued previous elections by nominating candidates acceptable to the major parties within the camp. It also offered a degree of democratic legitimacy to the candidates by allowing members of the public to cast their “votes”.

Fung, who leads the labour-oriented Association for Democracy and People’s Livelihood, came in second after Edward Yiu Chung-yim for the Kowloon West seat.

Most people, including some government-friendly politicians, think Yiu will win hands down in March if he is not barred from running owing to his previous disqualification from Legco for his improper oath-taking.

The so-called Plan B among opposition members is for the first runners-up to take their place should Yiu, and Agnes Chow Ting of Demosisto for the Hong Kong Island seat, be disqualified.

So far, so good. At least that was how the primaries system was supposed to work. But, in the past few days, segments of the opposition, among them localist lawmaker Eddie Chu Hoi-dick, got cold feet and thought Fung could lose the race because he is nowhere near as popular as Yiu.

Other replacement names were suggested, such as political stars Audrey Eu Yuet-mee and Alan Leong Kah-kit. Even pan-democrat godfather Martin Lee Chu-ming was mentioned. Well, that rather defeats the whole purpose of holding the primaries; never mind that those pan-democratic luminaries never said they wanted to run as a second choice in a by-election.

In an interview on MyRadio with former lawmaker and provocateur Wong Yuk-man, Fung said people had started putting pressure on him to quit. His Facebook page and personal email accounts had been flooded with rude messages, including those with swear words directed at his wife, son and mother. 

Then, Fung’s supporters started to fight back. Fung said he quit before the whole controversy threatened to become a full-blown fight within the opposition. He did so with honour and dignity. Many of his doubters have none of those qualities. Actually, Plan B with Fung was pretty good. Now, the opposition will have to come up with Plan C. 

- (Oriental Daily) January 24, 2018.

Nothing is ever so simple. By retreating, Fung is actually counterattacking the other political parties, especially the Civic Party. Fung's party ADPL is based in the Sham Shui Po district of Kowloon West. Claudia Mo won a Kowloon West Legco seat for the Civic Party in 2016, but she has resigned from the party since. So the Civic Party is eyeing the open seat in order to re-establish a foothold in Kowloon West. In particular, they are floating the idea of parachuting retired legislator Alan Leong Kah-kit to defend this seat for the pan-democrats. Fung is trying to stop this invasion.

In announcing his pull-out, Fung put forward the third-place finisher Ramon Yuen Hoi-man (Democratic Party). Fung is not worried about Yuen in 2020, because the Democratic Party already has Helena Wong occupying a Legco seat in Kowloon West. If Yuen wins this time, it will be largely Wong's 2016 voters. In 2020, the Democratic Party cannot possibly win two separate seats with Wong and Yuen. Besides, Fung is actually counting on Yuen to lose the election, because the relatively young Yuen has low name recognition and finished a distant third in the primary election. Fung is using Yuen to block Alan Leong (Civic Party) or Lee Cheuk-yan (Labour Party) from entering. If Leong or Lee barges in by force, the Democratic Party will be offended.

Furthermore, Fung is counting on Ramon Yuen Hoi-man to be rejected as "Plan C" by the self-determination/independence faction led by Eddie Chu Hoi-dick, Steven Chan Chi-chuen, Cheng Chung-tai, etc. But their Plan D candidate (and Eddie Chu says that they have already reached a consensus ) cannot win without the full support of ADPL, Democratic Party and Civic Party with their community organizers and district councilors. When the Plan D candidate loses, the self-determination/independence faction will be blamed. And it will be a new, bright and rosy morning for the ADPL in 2020.

- (Sze Tat Chau's Facebook) January 24, 2018.

The so-called Progressive Democrats led by Eddie Chu do not respect democratic principles at all. In order to win at all costs, they are willing to destroy the system and overturn the primary results. They are determined to force Frederick Fung to quit. They had taken part in establishing this primary system. But because they were not happy with the outcome, they decided to usurp it by dictatorship in the name of democracy. We must remember these people. We must remember each and every single one of them. They are the people who have strangled the space for democracy in Hong Kong.

- (Ta Kung Pao) January 24, 2018.

Frederick Fung said that certain members of the progressive democrats and other new political parties objected to his reserve status. "Someone even told me: If you run, we will run as well." Fung did not name names.

Even though Fung did not name names, Eddie Chu said in the morning that Fung is making a serious allegation which is tantamount to an accusation of interference with the election. Chu demanded an explanation from Fung, who said that he will not comment any further.

In the afternoon, Eddie Chu said that he is willing to give full support to "Plan B" Frederick Fung and "Plan C" Ramon Yuen under the primary election system. He denied that he wanted "one of his own" to take the place of someone else. He admitted that he had looked for a "Plan D" in the event that "Plan A" is disqualified and "Plans B and C" declined to run.

But what Eddie Chu says now is completely at odds with what he said previously. On January 12 right before the primary election, he wrote on Facebook: "If Brother Kei wins the primary election, everybody loses including himself ... the primary system would lose popular support and the Kowloon West by-election will surely be lost." On January 21 after the primary election, Chu wrote: "Many pan-democratic supporters are very unhappy about the arrangement of having Fung backing up Yiu." He added: "This matter cannot be based solely on following the mechanism in the system. We must consider the probability of victory at the same time."

So before the primary election, Chu thinks that Fung should not be allowed to win. After the primary election, he wants to overturn the system because Plan A may be disqualified and Plan B can run in his place. After Fung announced his pull-out, Chu pledges his full support of Fung. What a show!

- (Ming Pao) By Ivan Choy Chi-keung. January 24, 2018.

... At the primary election, Fung finished in second place with 30% support in the telephone poll and less than 20% in the physical balloting. Some people began to advocate scrapping the system of using "Plan B" Frederick Fung to replaced a disqualified "Plan A."

This is telling people to rip up the primary election agreement and ignoring the system.

According to various media reports, the self-determination faction has been lobbying other pan-democrats to run candidates other than Frederick Fung. The latest media report is that the self-determination faction is plotting to invite Ken Tsang Kin-chiu (of Seven Evil Policemen fame) to run.

Recently Edward Yiu Chung-yim's pal Eddie Chu Hoi-dick wrote on Facebook:

- The democrats suggested that the system must be followed. If Yiu cannot run, Fung will replace him. I don't think that there can only be only one principle (namely, "follow the system"). We must also consider the likelihood of victory and maintain the morale of the primary election voters. Many of the primary election voters don't want Frederick Fung to represent the democrats. The various numbers make people worry that many democratic supporters won't vote if Fung stands in for Yiu.

- For the same of the overall good of the democrats, I will act in accordance with three principles: (1) winning the by-election; (2) maintaining the morale of the primary election voters; (3) not destroy the yet-to-be-perfected primary system.

These comments are truly an astonishing sight to behold:

- The system was written down in black-and-white. But now he says that the system won't be the sole standard.

- He clearly wants to destroy the primary system, but he adds "yet-to-be-perfected" on his own in order to mislead people.

Do these techniques seem familiar? Aren't these exactly like CY Leung's word games?

No wonder there were many critical comments at Eddie Chu's Facebook.

In the memorandum for the primary election, there were two sections:

8.1. Faced with the pressure from the government and the current political situation, the primary election winner may be disqualified by the authorities through the confirmation letter and other methods.

8.2. If the above situation occurs, there were will be Plan B/Plan C based upon top two or three candidates as ranked by the support levels. So if the top finishing candidate is eliminated, the second finishing candidate will become the Plan B, and so on.

But now they are saying that this "may" happen but it does not "need to" happen.

How is this different from the much reviled word-playing used by Beijing on legal issues?

Here I am reminded of a saying: People frequently turn into those that they detested before.

I like reading Kevin Yam Kin-fung these days. After he stopped being a social activist, he is more carefree. On Monday he wrote an article titled <Moral High Ground Dismantled Once And For All>. He said that the consequences are innumerable once the democrats lose the moral high ground. He came up with a few sample criticisms from the pro-establishment camp:

Democrats: We oppose pre-screening and we want genuine universal suffrage.
Pro-establishment camp: You even overturn your own elections system. Instead you made your choice behind a closed door which is worse than a pre-screening. This is a lot worse than the August 31st resolution.

Democrats: You pro-establishment people have no spine.  You are just automated voting machines for Beijing.
Pro-establishment camp: How dare you pro-democracy people talk to us about "spine"? You are so scared of just one Eddie Chu that you tossed away your own primary election system. How can you convince citizens that you have the spine to oppose Beijing?

Frankly, I did not like the idea of Frederick Fung entering this by-election. For many years, he ran only for the Sham Shui Po district council seat and the Kowloon West legislative council seat. In 2012, he switched to run for a "super" legislative council seat. In 2016, he suddenly switched to run in New Territories West and lost. This time, he is back in Kowloon West. He was just picking the spot whenever an opening appears.

In any case, he ran in the primary election and he finished second. The rules of the games are in place already. Whether we personally like him or not, the system should function as agreed upon.

The democrats scorn the government for "moving the goalposts," "holding double standards" and "winning at all costs." The self-determination/progressive democrats are no better:

- When public opinion is on their side, they demand the government to respect public opinion. When public opinion is not on their side, they said that we should ignore public opinion because it has been "distorted by fear."

- When it is to your advantage, you speak of the principles. When it is not to your advantage, you speak instead of keeping morale up and needing to win.

- In the past, they criticize the mainstream democrats of being too focused on winning elections while forgetting the principles. Today, they want to win the elections and therefore they are willing to abandon a written agreement and consider keeping morale up and increasing the likelihood of winning instead.

If this is "progressive," then I am glad that I am "pedantic" in still believing in procedural justice, adhering to agreements and keeping my word.

If "self-determination" means that a few of your own kind can ignore a written agreement and instead reach a "decision" behind closed doors among themselves, then I am glad that I am not in that faction.

- (Wen Wei Po) January 25, 2018.

Earlier Eddie Chu Hoi-dick changed his tune and said that he has always supported the primary replacement system. He also said that the organizer Power For Democracy was talking about Plan D very early on. This put Power For Democracy into the hot seat.

Yesterday, Power For Democracy convener Andrew Chiu Ka-yin said that he could not clarify things at first because he was not authorized to speak and he wanted to maintain fairness. Chiu said that Edward Yiu Chung-yim had talked too much, and thus forced them to come out and say that the system is not "ironclad" in order to rescue Yiu.

So what about the relevant clauses in the memorandum for the primary system? Chiu said that "may be based upon" is not the same as "must be based upon." Also, "not being disqualified" but "only voluntarily giving up" is not covered in this insurance policy.

Why did they have to meet and discuss now? Because Edward Yiu Chung-yim did not participate in the drafting of the memorandum. As the primary winner, he should be able to hear what happens if he gets disqualified. That is reasonable.

What happens now? It will up to "Plan C" Ramon Yuen Hoi-mean to decide whether he wants to run or not.

In summary, Power For Democracy supports the replacement mechanism.

- Wow! "Not ironclad" can be made equivalent to "strict adherence to the memorandum"! You guys are awesome with the Chinese language!

If "may be based upon" does not mean "strictly adhered to", then why not write "may not necessarily be based upon" in the first place instead?

- Hey, so it was all just one huge misunderstanding. Now it turns out that everybody supports the replacement mechanism totally and unconditionally. Frederick Fung should announce that he intends to become Plan B again so that he can defend the primary system because his absence would raise suspicion that some people does not support it. Fung's presence is essential to defend Hong Kong democracy! Go Frederick!

- (Oriental Daily) January 25, 2018. After (and only after) "Plan B" Frederick Fung disqualified himself, Power For Democracy has come out to issue an "interpretation" of the memorandum for the primary system. What if "Plan C" Ramon Yuen is also pressured by forces unknown to drop out? Power For Democracy convener Andrew Chew said that there is no "Plan D." Or, at least, Power For Democracy will play no role in selecting any "Plan D."

- (Oriental Daily) January 25, 2018. According to information, Edward Yiu Chung-yim and Agnes Chow Ting will be notified by the Returning Officers in Kowloon West and Hong Kong Island respectively.

- The timing is going to be interesting. The cutoff date for nominations is January 29, 2018, at 5:00pm precisely. If the notifications are sent out in the afternoon of January 29, there won't be enough time for their backup "Plans" to file nominations. So those backups had better file early on Monday morning with the required number of elector signatures. If Yiu and Chow turned out not to be disqualified, then those backups will announce that they are no longer candidates even though their names will remain on the ballots.

(SCMP) January 22, 2018.

A high-profile Hong Kong political activist admitted in court on Monday that he assaulted a policeman during violent clashes in one of the city’s busiest districts in February 2016.

Edward Leung Tin-kei admitted one count of assaulting a police officer at the High Court. One of his five co-defendants, Wong Ka-kui, pleaded guilty to taking part in a riot. Both were remanded in custody after the hearing.

But Leung and the four others denied a string of other charges accusing them of taking part in riots and unlawful assemblies. “I plead not guilty,” the bespectacled activist, clad in a dark suit, said in the dock when asked to make a plea for charges other than the assault.

Leung, who had been on bail until Monday, appeared emotionless when he heard he would be spending the night in jail, putting the document he brought to court into his backpack and handing it to his lawyers. He regained his smile when he waved goodbye to supporters in the public gallery. He took a last sip from his bottle of water and was taken away shortly before the lunch break. He will still be brought to court to face the rest of the charges.

The six are on trial over the unrest that took place in Mong Kok, a popular shopping hub, during the 2016 Lunar New Year and carried on into the early morning of the following day. It happened on Argyle Street, Shan Tung Street and Portland Street.

The trial, expected to last more than two months, began on Thursday last week, but has been subject to reporting restrictions. Madam Justice Anthea Pang Ko-kam briefly lifted the restrictions on Monday for the defendants’ pleas to be reported.

Leung, a former convenor of pro-independence group Hong Kong Indigenous, faces four charges: one count of inciting others to take part in a riot; two joint counts of rioting; and one of assaulting a police officer.

Spelling out the allegations against Leung and Wong, prosecutors said scores of people began to gather at Portland Street on the night of the unrest. Some wore blue T-shirts bearing the name of Hong Kong Indigenous, as well as masks, they said.

Over the course of the night, they occupied roads, charged police cordons and threw objects at police officers, injuring four officers in what amounted to a series of rioting acts, prosecutors told the court with allegations tailor-made for Wong’s guilty plea.

At about 2am, the prosecutors said, protesters began to throw obstacles – such as rubbish bins, crates, and traffic cones – into Argyle Street to block the major thoroughfare. Wong threw a foam box at one of the officers, the prosecutors said, as the crowd began to pour into the street. He missed the officer, but later fell on top of him. He was subsequently subdued and arrested.

The court heard police regained control of the street briefly until the crowd grew bigger and began throwing glass bottles and rubbish bins at officers. One policeman fired two warning shots into the air to keep the crowd under control, the court heard.

Leung, the prosecutors said, threw the top part of a rubbish bin towards the officers’ direction. He later attacked a police sergeant when the policeman was trying to stop a man about to throw a brick. “He threw a white plastic bottle at [the sergeant] and kicked him with his right leg,” barrister Francis Cheng, prosecuting, said. Leung also hit the sergeant’s back with a wooden board, he added, before he was arrested later that night. The sergeant, who ended up with a swollen ear and cuts on his knees, was granted four days of sick leave. Another policeman injured during the night got 113 days of sick leave.

Lee Nok-man, Lo Kin-man, and Lam Ngo-hin each denied one count of rioting, while Lam denied a further count of taking part in an unlawful assembly. Lam Lun-hing denied three counts of rioting. The court granted the four bail.

Internet comments:

- (Oriental Daily) January 22, 2018. In the case of Wong Ka-kui, at 2am on February 9, several dozen people were gathered around Argyle Street, Portland Street and Shanghai Street. They used trash bins, pallets and traffic cones to block the roads. Demonstrators threw objects at police officer Ho Yik-hang, who was moving in the direction of Shanghai Street. Wong Ka-kui threw a white foam box at Ho but missed. A man in black clothes held Ho from the rear while a man in a light-blue jacket threw an object at Ho, while touching Wong and causing Wong to fall on top of Ho who had fallen down on the ground. Other demonstrators attacked Ho with wooden rods. Other police officers rushed forth to disperse the crowd and arrested Wong. The rioting continued. The demonstrators threw pallets, road barriers and garbage bins at the police. Eventually a police officer fired two shots into the air and the police were able to establish a defense line on Argyle Street across Nathan Road.

Under caution, Wong told the police: "I came out because other people came out. It was very chaotic at the time. There were many people. And then you arrested me."

- So Wong admitted that he took part in a riot in which the rioters blocked the road, prevented the police from restoring order and attacked police officer Ho Yik-hang. However, he denied that he personally attacked Ho Yik-hang. He threw a white foam box at Ho, but missed. So it was an attempted assault that did not succeed. He fell on top of Ho because someone else pushed him. So there you have it.

Wong Ka-kui in court today (sponsored by American Airlines?)

- (Oriental Daily) January 22, 2018. In the case of Edward Leung Tin-kei, at around 2am on February 9, several dozen people were gathered around Argyle Street, Portland Street and Shanghai Street. They used trash bins, pallets and traffic cones to block the roads. Some of these people wore the blue Hong Kong Indigenous jackets. The police attempted to clear away the obstacles. The demonstrators charged onto the road and attacked the police. The police dispersed those demonstrators. The demonstrators retreated towards Portland Street while throwing glass bottles and trash bins at the police. During this time, Leung threw a trash bin cover at the police. Police sergeant Man Kam-kei tried to stop a man from throwing throwing bricks, and felt a sharp pain on his left ear. The sergeant fell down on the ground and was attacked by several people, including Leung who threw a white plastic cone at him. Leung also kicked Man with his right foot, and slammed a wooden pallet on Man's back. Leung and others fled. Man was attacked by other persons. Afterwards, the police obtained media videos that showed what happened. Leung was arrested in Mong Kok for assaulting a police officer. Under caution, Leung did not say anything. Afterwards, police sergeant Man Kam-kei was found to have injuries on both knees, left ear and right shoulder. He took four days of medical leave, and has been assessed with a 2% permanent disability.

- So Leung was caught on video (see TVB plus Facebook backup in slow motion) throwing a white plastic cone at a police sergeant, kicking the downed sergeant with his right foot and slamming a wooden pallet on the back too. This evidence is clear and the charge is uncontestable. By pleading guilty to assaulting a police officer, he stands to gain as much as a 1/3 sentence reduction. However, Leung denies the charges of incitement of and participation in a riot.

Slamming a wooden pallet on the back of the police sergeant

Being arrested by the police

On the video when the police officer fired the two shots into the air, Edward Leung was standing right in front of him holding something in his hand. Leung fled after the shots were fired.

- (CAP 212) Offences against the Person Ordinance

Assault with intent to commit offence, or on police officer, etc.

Any person who—

(a) assaults any person with intent to commit an arrestable offence; or

(b) assaults, resists, or wilfully obstructs any police officer in the due execution of his duty or any person acting in aid of such officer; or

(c) assaults any person with intent to resist or prevent the lawful apprehension or detainer of himself or of any other person for any offence,

shall be guilty of an offence triable either summarily or upon indictment, and shall be liable to imprisonment for 2 years.

By pleading guilty, Edward Leung is looking at a maximum of 1 year 4 months in prison. He will get a lot less because of the hundreds of petition letters from pro-democracy legislators, politicians, activists, professors, cardinals, pastors, teachers and students. My prediction is: one week in jail plus $500 fine. When he comes out of jail, he will be welcomed by hundreds of well-wishers. He will get another movie made about his life and his Epochal Revolution.

- Wong Ka-kui and Edward Leung Tin-kei were remanded to custody as soon as they pleaded guilty to one charge each. The judge said that these are serious crimes which will draw jail sentences. So Wong and Leung are definitely assured of imprisonment. If they are not bailed out, they will be in custody until the end of the trial which was estimated to last 80 days before they find out what their sentences will be for this and other crimes.

(Hong Kong Baptist Union Students' Union) January 14, 2018.

A Co-signing Letter to Language Centre concerning Putonghua Proficiency Requirement for Graduation (in English)

Language Centre,

Hong Kong Baptist University Students’ Union held a school policy forum regarding Putonghua Proficiency Requirement in April 2017. At the event, many students and teachers expressed their anger towards the current policies, urging school authority to make changes on that. Later, in a meeting between the school representatives and student representatives, the school side promised that Language Centre would conduct an exemption test in which only the ability of simple communication with Mandarin should be tested. Once students pass the exemption test, they are considered fulfilled the Putonghua Proficiency Requirement; and when most of the students pass, the school could thus cancel the Requirement.

We thought that even though the school authority had never guaranteed the halt to the evil Putonghua Proficiency Requirement, this could serve as our glimpse of our ultimate goal. Nevertheless, the school side betrayed our trusts. The exemption test was never easy and merely testing “ability of simple communication” as promised; the passing rate of the test is about thirty percent while the school side told us that they expected to see many students passing. What even absurd is that a candidate was criticized by an adjudicator that “his tone did not fit the character designated” and eventually failed in the exemption test. According to previous promise, Putonghua Proficiency Requirement could be cancelled when the passing rate of exemption test is high; in light of the promise, a direct conflict of interest was inevitable when the adjudicators were the instructors of Putonghua courses in Language Centre. A conflict of interest, unanticipated passing rate and real cases from students, make the result of exemption test unacceptable for us.

Putonghua Proficiency Requirement for Graduation is fundamentally groundless, and the exemption test is never a resolution but a transition before cancelling the Requirement. The school authority can hardly negotiate with us again without making a compromise as they deceived us first. We, thereby, state our three major demands to the Language Centre. If a decent reply has not been made by 11 p.m. on 16 January (Tue), further actions will be made by us. The demands are as follows:

1. Hire the qualified adjudicators for exemption tests substituting instructors in Language Centre to avoid possible conflicts of interest, and make the Marking Guideline open to students;
2. According to Point 1, hold the amended exemption tests for the students who did not pass the previous one as soon as possible, and disclose the score break down to every candidate;
3. Outline a schedule of cancelling Putonghua Proficiency Requirement for Graduation.

We hope that the Language Centre would listen to opinions from the students and respond through substantial actions.

Hong Kong Baptist University Students’ Union
Hong Kong Baptist University Students’ Union Economics Society
Hong Kong Baptist University Students’ Union Human Resources Management Society
Hong Kong Baptist University Students’ Union Mathematics Society
Hong Kong Baptist University Students’ Union Faculty of Arts Society Acting Committee
Quaternary Societies of Faculty of Social Sciences of Hong Kong Baptist University Students’ Union
Visual Art Student Society Hong Kong Baptist University Students’ Union
Hall Council of Y. P. Cai Hall of Hong Kong Baptist University Students’ Union
Hall Council of C. L. Soong Hall of Hong Kong Baptist University Students’ Union
Hall Council of C. N. Yang Hall of Hong Kong Baptist University Students’ Union
Hall Council of S. R. Zhou Hall of Hong Kong Baptist University Students’ Union
Hong Kong Baptist University The Association of Business Students
Hong Kong Baptist University Chemistry Society
Hong Kong Baptist University Chinese Medicine Society
Hong Kong Baptist University Communication Society
Hong Kong Baptist University Computer Science Society
Government and International Studies Society, Hong Kong Baptist University
Hong Kong Baptist University Humanities and Creative Writing Society
Hong Kong Baptist University Music Society
Hong Kong Baptist University Physical Education and Recreation Management Society
Hong Kong Baptist University Religion and Philosophy Society
Alliance of HKBU Student Senators
HKBU Mountain God

[Note: If you think the English in this "co-signing letter" is problematic, then the original Chinese version is just as problematic too, because it read like as if it was written in colloquial Cantonese. So you have a bunch of student leaders who can't write properly in either English or Chinese.]

(Wen Wei Po) January 18, 2018.

When a university students fails a test, what can he/she do? He/she can study harder and take the exam again. But it turns out that they can also "occupy" the teacher's office and coerce the university to scrap the exam altogether!

At Hong Kong Baptist University, all local students have been required to attain putonghua proficiency as part of the graduation requirement. Last year, the HKBU Student Union said that the putonghua classes were "too difficult as well as interfering with graduation." As a result, the university allowed putonghua testing such that those who pass are waived from taking the putonghua class. This year, about 30% obtained the exemption. But the HKBU Student Union was not satisfied. Saying that the university is intentionally forcing people to take the putonghua class, they went to the university Language Centre and "occupied" the offices. They demanded the complete elimination of the putonghua proficiency requirement.

After the announcement of the putonghua test results, some failing students were dissatisfied. They formed an online Victims' Grand Alliance and issued a joint petition to the HKBU Language Centre, with the demands:

(1) Set up a timetable for the complete elimination of putonghua proficiency as graduation requirement;
(2) Arrange for all failing students to re-take the putonghua proficiency test and publish all marks;
(3) Publish the marking system for the putonghua proficiency test.

Yesterday, the HKBU Student Union escalated action by mobilizing more than a dozen students to "occupy" the offices of the HKBU Language Centre. They demanded direct dialogue with senior university administrators.

The HKBU spokesperson said that more than 30% of the test-takers received waivers. Combined with other means (e.g. results from other recognized standardized tests), more than 40% received waivers. This is a big increase over the 10% or so in previous years. Furthermore, over the past ten years when the putonghua proficiency requirement has been in place, fewer than five students missed their graduation because they could not achieve putonghua proficiency.

The HKBU spokesperson said that the university values the importance of the ability to speak three dialects (Cantonese, putonghua and English) and write two languages (Chinese and English). They want students to master these dialects/languages because it will be beneficial for learning, cultural exchange and social mixing.

Last June, the HKBU introduced the putonghua proficiency test in order to offer the students an easier path to satisfy the putonghua proficiency requirement. Those students who choose not the take the test or fail the test can either take the putonghua course or find other ways (see HKBU Putonghua Proficiency Requirement for Graduation).

Internet comments:

- (Speakout HK video https://www.speakout.hk/%E6%B8%AF%E4%BA%BA%E9%BB%9E%E6%92%AD/30453/-%E7%9F%AD%E7%89%87-%E5%AD%B8%E6%99%AE%E9%80%9A%E8%A9%B1%E9%83%BD%E8%A6%81%E5%8F%8D-%E8%B6%85%E7%8B%B9%E9%9A%98-%E6%B5%B8%E5%A4%A7%E9%83%A8%E5%88%86%E5%AD%B8%E7%94%9F%E7%99%BC%E7%88%9B%E6%B8%A3%E5%94%94%E6%83%B3%E5%AD%B8%E6%99%AE%E9%80%9A%E8%A9%B1-%E8%AB%8B%E4%BD%A0%E5%93%8B%E7%9D%87%E7%9D%87-%E5%85%A8%E4%B8%96%E7%95%8C%E9%83%BD%E5%AD%B8%E7%B7%8A%E6%99%AE%E9%80%9A%E8%A9%B1- ) January 19, 2018.

Student: We basically feel that we don't need to learn putonghua. We believe that which languages should be learned should be based upon what we believe are our needs.

[Arabella Trump reciting Chinese poem in putonghua]

[Jim Rogers' two daughters speak putonghua]

[French president Emmanuel Macron tries to learn putonghua]

[Pakistani men learn putonghua]

[Vietnamese women watching Chinese soap operas in putonghua]

- Do students even know whether they will need to know putonghua once they leave school and enter the real world? Which jobs need putonghua proficiency? Let me make a list: financial advisors; mergers/acquisitions specialists; hotel receptionists; salespersons; taxi drivers; waiters/waitresses; airline stewards/stewardesses; public service workers; police officers; doctors; nurses; etc. Basically any job that has contact with the public requires putonghua.

I guess if your goal in life is to wash pots, pans and dishes in the kitchen, then you won't need putonghua proficiency.

- Students should have the freedom to decide what they want to learn. I myself want to be a STEM major, because the job opportunities are great. However, I don't really like mathematics. So why make me take Advanced Calculus when I don't like it? I would rather play Call To Duty for all four years.

- (Silent Majority HK Facebook video) Commercial Radio talk show.

Student: Of course, we must know Cantonese. English is an international language. We need to know English ...

Host: This is very simple. The handover has taken place.

Student: We don't understand. Why are we at Baptist University the only local students who have to learn putonghua?

Host: So if the other universities also have the requirement, you will accept it?

Student: We think that it is unreasonable.

Host: Why don't you answer that question first. Because the handover has taken place, so Hong Kong university students should have a basic level of proficiency in putonghua.

- (HKG Pao) RTHK 31 interview. January 24, 2018.

Lau Tsz-kei: One reason to use English is because it is an international language. If I use English, I can communicate with people from different countries.

Host: What about putonghua?

Lau Tsz-kei: The only country that we can communicate with in putonghua is China. Or ... perhaps ... even others ... or ... that is, not a lot of countries. But it is useful ... that is, being used ... how shall I say? ... (pause) ... Simply put, this thing called putonghua is ...

Host: Not very important?

Lau Tsz-kei: ... may not work for you as an international language. Putonghua is not an international language. Putonghua cannot let you communicate with people from other countries. Putonghua will only let you communicate with Chinese persons.

Host: Michael Tien, do you accept this? Or do you think that this student appears to be emotional?

Michael Tien: Right now, the oddest thing is that everybody in the world ... whether their mother tongue is English, French, German, Italian ... they are actively trying to learn putonghua. Actively trying to learn putonghua. Actually, English is not the only international language in the world. I believe that within the next ten years, English and putonghua will definitely be listed side by side.

- (Facebook video)

Q: Is Hong Kong a part of China?

Lau Tsz-kei: Eh ... this question ... this question involves some issues about political positions ... this will not help the conversation later ... so I am not going to answer it here.

- Yes or no. It is that simple, but Lau Tsz-kei cannot say it.

- Hong Kong university students are so keen on Hong Kong independence nowadays. But let us look at the reality of this movement in the context of the world.

The movement needs international allies. The most natural allies are the respective independence movements in Taiwan, Xinjiang, Tibet and Inner Mongolia. If there are simultaneous uprisings everywhere, the Central Government can't put down all of them. Can they? So let us liaise with each other and form an alliance.

With respect to Taiwan, you don't speak Minnan/Hakka and they don't speak Cantonese. Neither of you are fluent in English. Therefore you communicate in putonghua.

With respect to Xinjiang, you don't speak Uighur and they don't speak Cantonese. Neither of you are fluent in English. Therefore you communicate in putonghua.

With respect to Tibet, you don't speak Tibetan and they don't speak Cantonese. Neither of you are fluent in English. Therefore you communicate in putonghua.

With respect to Inner Mongolia, you don't speak Mongolian and they don't speak Cantonese. Neither of you are fluent in English. Therefore you communicate in putonghua.

Your biggest financier is going to the the United States. You can try to speak English but you know that you are inarticulate. Their diplomats don't speak Cantonese (which is just an exotic dialect), but they are trained to speak putonghua at the Foreign Services Institute. So you find it easier to communicate in putonghua (see #466).

Don't you think that it is important for you to learn putonghua in order to advance the cause of Hong Kong independence?

- On this day, Apple Daily played up the case of a 25-year-old Hong Kong woman Sammy who gave up on Hong Kong when the pro-democracy legislative councilors were disqualified over the oath of office row. She applied to immigrate to Taiwan and was accepted within 90 days. Well, what will she be speaking when she arrives in Taiwan? Cantonese? No. She will be speaking putonghua. She can learn Minnan/Hakka eventually, but that will be much later. In the meantime, she cannot take one step without having to use putonghua.

- Question: Has Sammy cut up her Hong Kong passport/ID card already? Or is she keeping them in a safe place just in case?

- (SCMP) Learning Mandarin could be just the job. By Alex Lo. January 27, 2018.

It is truly bizarre for some university students in Hong Kong to think it’s an unjustified burden to make them achieve a degree of fluency in Mandarin. And there are even scholars who support them.

Let’s leave aside the pro- and anti-mainland politics and just ask, is having a language requirement unreasonable at a university?

My background is in history and philosophy. In my days in North America, we needed an additional language to graduate in philosophy, which usually meant German or French. It was the same with history. I think it’s the same today.

If you studied Chinese politics or history, Mandarin was a must. Every China specialist, those with a PhD in the field anyway, I have ever come across in Canada and the US speaks Mandarin; the only ones who also know Cantonese come from Hong Kong. However, Mandarin was and is the professional language.

When I became a reporter, I met foreign diplomats and business executives working in Hong Kong and the mainland. For most of them, learning some Mandarin was a priority, though knowing a bit of Cantonese was nice too.

Like it or not, for the whole world, from Donald Trump’s granddaughter and Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg to students at Hong Kong’s international schools, learning Chinese means learning Mandarin. More than 160,000 registered students are learning Mandarin in Britain. More than 600 British primary and secondary schools offer Mandarin classes, making it the second most popular foreign language taught at school.

Imagine the awkwardness: a Brit speaks to you in Mandarin and you reply in Chinglish.

Still, you may argue that even if an extra language requirement is reasonable, it doesn’t have to be Mandarin. Isn’t English good enough? It is, after all, one of Hong Kong’s official languages. That was what Baptist University student union president Lau Tsz-kei argued in an RTHK debate. “English is the international language, you can get by with it in many countries,” he said. “Mandarin is only good in China.”

But we are not in other countries; we are in China. Don’t get me wrong; I think students should master both Mandarin and English.

Maybe you aspire to work for Google, Apple, Facebook or Amazon. But why sell yourself short when you can aim for Alibaba, Baidu or Tencent, too?

- (HKG Pao) By Chris Wat Wing-yin. January 20, 2018.

Recently there was an "uprising" at the Hong Kong Baptist University. Very few people noticed it, and even fewer people discussed it. Yet this incident has a deep impact.

This was an Occupy Movement with the name "The students rose up to oppose the tyranny of putonghua." There was an 8-hour live broadcast of how about 20 Baptist University students occupied the HKBU Language Centre to demand a putonghua course cancellation.

The "tyranny" that the students want to overthrow is the compulsory putonghua course.

In the past, HKBU students must take the putonghua course because the university has set putonghua proficiency as a graduation requirement. Things were fine until Hong Kong independence/localism reared its head.

Last year, the HKBU Students Union held a referendum to demand the cancellation of the putonghua course. HKBU president Roland Chin Tai-hong conceded and said that there will be a "relatively simple" test such that those who pass will be waived from taking the putonghua course. Chin also promised that the test will be exceedingly easy: "You don't even have to know the pinyin system -- you can pass just by conversing in putonghua."

But 70% of the test-takers failed this time. The students were angry and they charged into the HKBU Language Centre to throw a hissy fit. They surrounded the teachers, occupied the office, asked for a detailed explanation of the grading, wanted to see all the grading standards and they demanded that the test (or even the requirement) be scrapped altogether.

In Hong Kong, triad gangsters surround and harass people when they want to get their way. Nowadays, university students do that. The students were so proud that they conducted a live video broadcast of their heroic actions. If you come across the video without knowing the background, you would think that these are triad gangsters extorting protection money.

If people who fail exams can get passing grades by "surrounding and intimidating teachers", then we would all be Doctors of Philosophy. If a course that too many people fail should be scrapped, then the university students must be pretty useless when they graduate.

We are in Hong Kong, which is a part of China. If being proficiency in the national dialect of putonghua is tyranny, then what is English? Wouldn't that be a foreign invasion?

Putonghua is spoken by 1.5 billion people in the world. Knowing putonghua is a valuable asset. The university wanted the make sure that the students have wings to fly with, but the students want to chop off those wings. What can we say?

- (HKG Pao) This video shows HKBU Student Union president yelling at the HKBU Language Centre staff. Facebook banned this HKG Pao video.

- (HKG Pao) When HKG Pao first posted this video, HKBU students complained to Facebook about copyright violations. Although HKG Pao said that this was derivative art, Facebook deleted the video. Fortunately, the video was spread by individuals across Whatsapp and WeChat. The HKBU students are now calling for a general campaign to shut down the HKG Pao Facebook through complaints to the Facebook administrators. They said that they wanted the HKG Pao employees to receive their severance checks in time for the Lunar New Year. This is clearly another example of the intolerance of dissident opinions by Yellow Ribbons.

- (HKG Pao) By Chris Wat Wing-yin.

At first, nobody knew about this minor incident at the Hong Kong Baptist University Language Centre. HKG Pao edited a video and posted it on Facebook. Several hours later, the students complained to the Facebook administrator. Facebook deleted the video and warned HKG Pao that they will remove the entire HKG Pao Facebook if they post similar reports in the future. At the same time, the students also removed all traces of their live broadcasts of the incident. They naively believed that their ugly deeds can be forgotten.

Fortunately, the world is not owned by Facebook alone. There are still Whatsapp, WeChat, Instagram, Twitter, Snapchat, ...

The cover-up drew even greater public attention. When everybody heard that some piece of truth was being covered up, they wanted to find out what these thugs were up to.

The mainstream Yellow Ribbon tried to help the cover-up. Ming Pao located the HKBU Students' Union president Lau Tsz-kei who said that the obscenity was merely "a slip of the tongue" in the hope that the storm will subside. When a columnist wrote about the incident, the editor said that no commentary should be made until a full investigation has been conducted.

But the storm raged on. Even HKBU president Roland Chin Tai-hong was forced to say that he felt "pained." But he was still unable to issue a condemnation of the students. So now we know how these triad students came into being.

Also silent were the education sector legislative councilor Ip Kin-yuen and Professional Teachers Union president Fung Wai-wah. Teachers were insulted by student-thugs, so this is a serious educational problem. Why did the education sector representatives fail to say anything? Even Secretary for Education Kevin Yeung Yun-hung and Chief Executive Carrie Lam Yuet-ngor have not yet uttered their favorite phrase of "zero tolerance."

- How the student "consensus" was forged:

(Ming Pao) April 21, 2016. The Hong Kong Baptist University Students Union held a referendum. 1,544 students voted at a 12.17% turnout. 1,382 (89.6%) agreed that the university should eliminate the putonghua proficiency requirement for graduation. This is taken to mean that "most of the students support the motion."

- This is an educational issue. As usual for such issues, educational sector legislative councilor Ip Kin-yuen is missing. Ip's Professional Teachers Union is a pro-democracy organization always standing for freedom and democracy.

In this matter, the public opinion is overwhelmingly against the actions and purposes of these students. So if Ip Kin-yuen sides with the students, he will be on the wrong side of the public. If he sides with the public against the students, he will upset the pro-democracy crowd who will denounce him for betraying Hong Kong. Therefore Ip Kin-yuen will continue to be on winter vacation until the affair blows over. Then he will emerge and urge both sides to continue the dialogue.

- Well, you don't understand the situation with Ip Kin-yuen and Fung Wai-wah. Right now, the Hong Kong Baptist University teaching staff are upset at those students and they are running a petition campaign. The teachers are looking after their own interests, because no teacher wants to be threatened by students for handing out fair grades.

Ip Kin-yuen is the legislative councilor for the education sector. The electors in the education sector are teachers and administrators and not students. That is correct: zero students. If Ip supports the students against the teachers, he may face a constituency revolt.

Fung Kin-wah is the president of the Professional Teachers Union. By definition, the membership consists of teachers. If Fung supports the students against the teachers, there may be mass resignations from the organization.

So you will be seeing Ip and Fung coming out to say that threatening behavior by anyone is unacceptable and that we must always maintain our civility. In other words, your mother is a woman.

- Ip Kin-yuen surprised us all. He came out with a statement that the students are adults, and therefore the university needs to respect them. Bwaaahhh!

- (Facebook Video) 23:34 minutes of students yelling at HKBU Language Centre staff.

- These students have good futures as debt collectors for loan shark operations.

- Don't forget the three tools for debt collectors:
(1) splash red paint at the entrance
(2) splatter feces at the entrance
(3) chain the metal gate shut and splash gasoline on the floor

- How to obtain the perfect 4.0 Grade Point Average: Every time you get less than an A, you bring your Student Union pals to surround and shout at the professor until he/she surrenders.

If there is a professor who is too stubborn, you surround and shout at the department head until the professor is fired.

If the department head is too stubborn, you surround and shout at the university head until the department head is fired.

If the university head is too stubborn, you surround and shout at the Secretary for Education. Well, actually the Secretary for Education does not have the authority to fire university presidents. Besides, this would be government interference with the institutional autonomy of universities.

- (YouTube) You can't get enough of this stuff? Here is a 1:03:03 version.

The highlight is at 12:10 when the student told the British woman from the Translation Centre: "This is Hong Kong. You must speak Cantonese." Indeed, shouldn't these students also be demanding the elimination of any trace of English from the campus?

P.S. It means that even the English-language classes must be conducted in Cantonese with no English words being mixed in.

P.P.S. All terms in science and technology will be in Cantonese. The scientists and engineers will have a wonderful time memorizing the Cantonese translations of chemical compounds, medicines, etc. For example, they can't say HHTDD; they must use 六硝基六氮雜三環十二烷二酮 instead.

Indeed, this is Hong Kong and therefore Cantonese should be used in all communications. So why is court business still being conducted mainly in English?

- Here is my personal experience which showed that putonghua is useful. I went to the Dongdaemun Design Market in Seoul.

I don't speak Korean. The sellers don't speak Cantonese. I tried English. The sellers didn't speak English either (or at least anything that I can understand). Then what? The sellers all speak putonghua. Many of them are actually from northeastern China. Once that was established, it was smooth sailing.

The reality is that you cannot get very far in the world with Cantonese.

- I went to the world famous Galeries de Lafayette in Paris. I don't speak French at all, but a tall blonde female staff worker helped me out ... in putonghua.

- (HKG Pao) January 23, 2018.

Chan Lok-hang is part of this student occupying force. He majors in Chinese medicine at HKBU. According to his Facebook, he will begin a one-year internship at the Guangdong Hospital of Traditional Chinese Medicine. Isn't this ironic? This young man hates China. Previously he wrote on Facebook: "Your heart becomes evil if you go to mainland China too often." Nevertheless he chooses to study Chinese medicine and do his internship in Guangdong China.

Very quickly, this bit of news is being spread across Tianya, Weibo, Baidu and other forums on mainland China. Some people sent notices to the hospital to say that a Hong Kong Occupy thug is coming. Others say that Chan will be prevented from entry at the border checkpoint. Still others wondered how Chan is going to communicate with patients if he refuses to speak putonghua.

- (Ming Pao) January 23, 2018.

Chan Lok-hang told Ming Pao that there were many telephone calls to the Guangdong Hospital of Traditional Chinese Medicine to demand that "Chan Lok-hang be handed over." The callers cursed out the hospital workers with obscenities. In the evening, someone called the hospital to say that they are coming to beat Chan up. He said that the Public Security Bureau is aware of what is happening. Because of concern that the authorities may take action because of the incorrect media information that Chan advocates Hong Kong independence, Chan has left for Hong Kong tonight. Chan that he has been involved any pro-Hong Kong independence organization or participated in any pro-Hong Kong independence activity. As for his internship, HKBU has said that they might be able to arrange for an internship in Hong Kong instead.

- Chan Lok-hang is returning to Hong Kong with his tail between his legs. Before he left, he said that he was not worried at all.

- Chan did not even dare come back on his own. He had a university teacher accompany him on the trip.

- Chan Lok-hang said that he has received more than one hundred threatening messages. When Eddie Chu felt threatened, he called the police and received 24-hour-round-the-clock protection for him and his family. Chan should have gone to the Guangzhou Public Security Bureau as soon as he received the first such message.

- Chan Lok-hang said that the HKBU president was indifferent to his plight. Well, he has to inform the HKBU president about this situation first. So far HKBU president Chin said that he has not received any information about this. Once informed, what can Chin do? Those threatening messages came from outside the university. So Chin can only advise Chan to go to the Hong Kong Police in Hong Kong and/or the Public Security Bureau in Guangdong.

- With due respect, Chan Lok-hang bears a certain degree of responsibility. Before he departed for Guangzhou, he was asked about the Internet comments. He said that he was not going to bothered by any threats. Of course, that upsets people even more. When you provoke people, you shouldn't be surprised about any blowback.

- (Facebook Video) 2:03. What were they saying? Here is the transcript:

Student: You won't answer?

Worker: What is the situation now?

Student; Right now, we are questioning how you made the assessment as to how students pass or fail. You are saying that you won't fucking respond to our demands.

Worker: Do you know how you should be speaking to teachers?

Student: The students want to graduate.

Worker: Of course. But we have our work too.

Student: You cause us not to be able to graduate. So why can't we stop your from operating?

Student: You ask all the putonghua teachers to come out and stand here to answer all our demands. We are students who have suffered from your graduation requirements over many years. How long has the Students Union pursued this case!?

Worker: Yes, I also find this annoying.

Student: I also find this annoying.  Why don't you get rid of it?

Student: Right now, you are the ones who have a problem. You are asking us not to raise questions.

Student: Systemic violence.

Student: You say that we cannot raise questions. You screwed the students. We are asking you what your grading standards are and you are unable to answer us. You run the test. You cannot explain the grading standards to us. What do you want? You are telling us to see someone else? Who else should I ask other than the Language Centre?  You tell us to calm down? How long have you bullied us?

Student: Guard ... Guard the door.

Worker (in English): Please move out of the office.

Student (in English): We are not going to move unless we have the answer.

Worker (in English): Oh?

Student (in English): You have the answer. You know.

Worker (in English): Oh, you expect us to give you the answer now? Under this situation? But you are threatening us. You are threatening us, I believe.

Student (in English): We are not threatening us (sic).

Worker (in English): Well, we feel threatened.

Student (in English): We feel threatened too. By you. You do ... n't allow us to graduate. Do you know? It is a threaten (sic).

Worker (in English): Please. Over the last ten years, only 5 students ...

Student (in English) walking up: Five students ...

Worker (in English): Please move back.

Student (in English): So poor (sic). Why?

Worker (in English): Please move back.

Student (in English): I am talking with you.

Worker (in English) Because you are shouting.

Student (in English): Why don't you move bed? You are ...

Worker (in English): Because I am a teacher.

Student (in English): And we are the students.

Worker (in English): Yes, so you came to Baptist University ...

Student (in English): This Language Centre is for students. Not students for this Language Centre.


Student: If you are not in that post, if you are not the department head, then you should not come over and obstruct us. The department head must answer me. The grading standards. Grading standards. Grading standards. Grading standards. I don't care. You can ignore me, or you can call the police. There is no problem. We students came in to ask a question. Students came in to ask a question and you feel threatened. This is so hilarious. Can we Baptist University students come in to ask a question at the Language Centre?

Student: Do you know what the Baptist University president said at the Opening Ceremony? He said that we should be more critical. You should go back and listen to his speech again. You go back and listen to his speech. I attended the Opening Ceremony.

- This video revealed that the Hong Kong Baptist University students not only lack proficiency in putonghua, but they are also appallingly lousy in English.

When the female British teacher said (in English) "You are threatening us," the student answered (in English) "We are not threatening us." Oy vay! And to think that an applicant needs to have a minimum Level 3 in English language in the DSE to be admitted into Baptist University. What does this say about the DSE!?

- When the teacher said that only five students were held back for lack of putonghua proficiency over the past ten years, the student said (in English): "So poor." What does "so poor" mean? Is he saying that those five students had no money? Or that they were pathetic in not being able to pass the simplest of requirements? Or that these poor sops have their lives tragically ruined?

- (The Sounds of Silence HK Facebook) Here is the Hong Kong Baptist University Students Union president Lau Tsz-kei making a statement in English during the press conference:

(transcript) "Bad for us to fighting for the better school policy or ... and to fight for canceling putonghua graduation requirement. That occupying Language Centre action is based on the school do not ans ... or have an answer or commitment with us on our letter to them."

- (The Sounds of Silence HK Facebook) Another English statement from Lau Tsz-kei:

(transcript) "More than a hundred people has supporting us for urging the school to cancel the penalty for me and for Mr. Chan. I would hope that they can see the voices of the students."

- Yes, he can see voices ...

- Not only this, but the students were using Cantonese poorly. They did not know how to explain their viewpoints with mainstream Cantonese. Instead, their Cantonese were aggressive, provocative and belligerent like triad gangsters. They apparently believe that the strength of an argument is calibrated by sound volume, so that they are more persuasive when they scream and yell. But when they act that way, it means that they did not come for the sake of communication.

- (Ming Pao) With respect to the use of "fucking", Hong Kong Baptist University Student Union president Lau Tsz-kei said that it was an unintentional "口誤" (slip of the tongue). Lau is willing to apologize to anyone who thought that Lau was using obscene language to curse out the teacher.

Lau said that he and other students went to seek an explanation from the university. But  the attitude of the university was "We don't know and we don't care." Therefore they were upset.

- The students were completely off the mark here. They charged into the Language Centre to ask about the putonghua test standards. For this, they surrounded the two English-language teachers, who said that they didn't know. Of course.

- Why kind of non-apology is this? "I didn't say anything. But if you insisted that you heard it, I will say 'Sorry' to make you happy." This is just designed to make people even angrier.

- This HKBU SU president was elected by the student body. Therefore he represents the HKBU student body when he exercises freedoms of speech, assembly and academic research here.

- Eh, the voter turnout was 11% for that lone slate of candidates including blank/void ballots. How many of the 11% were voting only because they thought that it was their duty to cast a vote? Can the HKBU SU president really claim a popular mandate?

- (Oriental Daily) January 30, 2018. Lau Tsz-kei and Chan Lok-hang have announced that they will personally visit the Language Centre today to apologize to the teachers there.

Previously, the two held a press conference during which they apologized. To whom? To the media? To the public? It took them about 10 days before they figured out that they should be apologizing to the actual victims.

Lau told Oriental Daily that he and Chan have arranged to meet with the Language Centre teachers privately today to apologize them.

What kind of private meeting is this to inform the media ahead of time? Is this an apology or a media photo session? By the way, Lau and Chan are banned from entering the Language Centre during their suspension.

This only leads to more questions for Lau and Chan:

-- Chan said previously that his DSE results could have gotten him into Hong Kong University or Chinese University of Hong Kong. Instead he chose to come to HKBU to study traditional Chinese medicine. Today he regrets that decision because he was punished for doing the right thing. What happens now after this "apology"? Did he do the right thing that day? Does he still regret coming to HKBU?

-- The student demonstration demanded that HKBU President Roland Chin Tai-hong apologize to Lau and Chan. Is the demand still on? If Lau and Chan said the demand is off, they will be letting down their 200 supporters. But if the demand is still on, then they are not genuinely contrite.

-- Pan-democrats have short attention spans. They are now busy protesting on behalf of Agnes Chow and have completely forgotten about these two guys.

-- The standard slogans for the Yellow Ribbons are:

(Rather be broken pieces of jade than intact pieces of ceramic tiles)

(Fight for public justice, no fear and no trepidation!)

(Born in a time of chaos in which the people cannot make a living, the government is forcing the people into rebellion!)

Being a surrender monkey is not supposed to be part of this vocabulary.

-- This is the optimal stopping strategy:- They were still undecided midway through. Then they called a student class boycott which they wisely changed to a demonstration march. If 50,000 people showed up, they would feel compelled to press on to victory. But 200 people showed up. So they turned into surrender monkeys.

-- The Internet version of their apology speech: "Baat Po! I want to fucking say sorry, okay. Now fuck off!"

-- There is a difference between saying "I am sorry" versus "I am sorry because I was wrong." Somehow I don't think that they think that they were wrong. They are merely sorry because they need to soothe public ire.

-- Many years later, Lau will say that the apology was "a slip of the tongue" which did not represent his true intentions.

-- In the United States, unhappy people "go postal." In Hong Kong, we only surrender monkeys giving abject apologies.

- Here is a different version with an additional video segment in front. Have you wondered where the university security staff was for the whole 8 hours?

At the start of the video, the students have already entered the Language Centre. Security guards were ready to come to "do their job." Hong Kong Baptist University Department of Religion and Philosophy senior lecturer Chan Sze-chi stood outside the entrance and jotted down the names of the security guards. He told them: "Since you want to do your job, then let this university teacher tell you. You will have done your job just by standing here. You can watch everything from here. Please do not enter under any circumstance, because you can make the situation more complicated." Chan continued: "This situation should not be made more complicated, because this is a peaceful negotiation between the students and the university. The security guards don't have to do anything." A security guard answered: "Okay, that's correct."

Oriental Daily contacted Chan Sze-chi. Chan said that he was with the security guards between 230pm and 300pm. He told the security guards that the students were making a "peaceful petition" and that "there was no need to enter." He emphasized that he did not prevent the security guards from doing anything. He was only "advising and recommending" the security guards to enter only if something happens. "At the scene, my judgment was that if the security guards had entered, it would be a suppression."

Dr. Chan is a founder of the radical League of Social Democrats and, according to his curriculum vitae, he loves "to participate in various social movements."

- (Silent Majority HK) After this incident, the HKBU security staff needs to undergo re-training. They are there to protect the personal safety of the staff workers, teachers and students. They should be able to enter anywhere on campus and find out what is going on. They should not be ordered to stand down by Chan Sze-chi.

- Generally speaking, the eight universities in Hong Kong fall into three tiers. At the top are Hong Kong University, Chinese University of Hong Kong and the University of Science and Technology. In the middle are Polytechnic, City University and Baptist University. At the bottom are Lingnan University and Education University. By failing to take action against Lau Tsz-kei and pals, Baptist University is going to fall into the bottom tier. Their failure is not about language mastery; it is about moral education.

- (Sing Tao Daily) January 30, 2018. About 150 Baptist University academic staff members have signed a petition to defend the honor of the teachers. The petition said that the Language Centre teachers were subjected to "sexual harassment, racial discrimination, intimidation, threat, insult and other verbal violence." "Teachers have to defend their own dignity and not be threatened or intimidated." "The teachers should be freed from their painful memories and the betrayal of that teacher that you trusted." This was clearly a reference to senior lecturer Chan Sze-chi who stood outside the Language Centre and told the security guards not to intervene.

In response to media inquiry, Chan Sze-chi said that Roger Wong Hoi-fung who started the petition letter has a "personal grudge" with him.

- (HKG Pao) January 31, 2018. On Internet radio, Chan Sze-chi's good friend Stephen Shiu Yeuk-yuen told all. He said that Chan Sze-chi managed to get into Hong Kong University in 1977. Because he was not a good student, it took him 20 years to get his Ph.D. in 1997. At the time, he was almost 40 years old. He managed to get a lowly teaching job at the Department of Religion and Philosophy at the Hong Kong Baptist University. When he was in his 50's he was still ranked the lowest out of 17 teachers in the department. Today, Chan is senior lecturer. After more than 20 years of teaching, he is still not a professor. Shiu said that Chan's English is so poor that he could not write anything in English for publication.

According to a 2014 <The Sun> report, Chan Sze-chi attracted students to his early morning class because he was handing out free breakfast coupons. Was this to bribe the students into giving him a good performance appraisal?

Although Chan is undistinguished academically, he is known for his deeds and actions. As a Christian, he came out to advocate gay rights. In 2010, he helped Raymond Wong, Leung Kwok-hung and others start the five-district public referendum.

Shiu also revealed that Chan Sze-chi and his wife are sleeping in different bedrooms. Shiu wondered if Chan is sexually repressed as a result. If his wife can't stand him, then can HKBU put up with this strange being?

- (Oriental Daily) January 21, 2018.

Another two-minute video has surfaced. HKBU Student Union president Lau Tsz-kei led a dozen students to the office of a foreign teacher. The teacher shut her office door. The students outside screamed: "Is there something about the document that cannot be seen?" The foreigner teacher said (in English): "Can you wait?" The students said (in English): "Why we have to wait?" The foreigner teacher asked the students not to shout at her. The student replied: "I no shouting at you." A student said that if she did not understand the situation, then "keep your mouth shut. I warn you. You know. I warn you." Other students concurred and said "Shut up! Don't talk to that Baat Po!"

A staff member was concerned that the situation was getting out of control and asked the students to leave. The students refused. They said that the teachers can call the police. Lau Tsz-kei said that the students must see the document. Then he banged on the door of an office and screamed: "Are you still drafting the document?" A staff worker said that they have the document, "But can your attitude be better?"

- (Silent Majority HK) History.

In 2007, Hong Kong Baptist University instituted putonghua proficiency as a graduation requirement. An employers' survey had shown that Hong Kong Baptist University students were not as good on putonghua in comparison with other university students. Therefore the requirement was introduced in order to make HKBU students more competitive.

Out of the eight universities in Hong Kong, putonghua is compulsory at Baptist University, Lingnan University, Education University, City University and Polytechnic University. It is not compulsory at Chinese University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong University and the University of Science and Technology.

- Putonghua is not compulsory at the top three universities because their elite students are presumed to be fluent in putonghua already. There is no need to teach them what most of them already know. If a student there is not fluent in putonghua, then he/she should know better to take elective courses to enhance himself/herself. If they didn't realize before, they will learn firsthand when they start looking for jobs at graduation time.

- (Silent Majority HK) Students yelled at office workers to demand to see documents and/or persons in authority.

- Be careful what you wish for! These students demand the publication of all grading. Let us post the recordings of the putonghua speeches of each of the 345 student test-takers with names and marks. We will let the public vote to decide who should pass or fail.

- (YouTube) Here is an example of lousy putonghua from a movie.

- (YouTube) Actor Louis Koo is legendary for his lousy putonghua.

- If you look at the sample and marking system of the HKBU Diagnostic cum Exemption Test, then you will find this to be relatively easy. They don't even care if you have a thick Cantonese accent. Basically, any sixth-year  Hong Kong primary school student should be able to pass this test with ease.

So why did only 117 out of 345 test-takers pass? You should be blaming the Brits for poor education planning. The Baptist University students today were born around the time of the 1997 handover. The British never planned to have teaching of putonghua after the handover while they were in charge. So the plan only began slowly after the handover.

Today, putonghua instruction begins in primary school and the next generation of students will have no trouble whatsoever. It is just that this generation was abandoned due to neglect on the part of the Brits.

- In English, the HKBU Diagnostic cum Exemption Test would be something like this:

Section A: Read the following paragraph aloud.

There once was a speedy hare who bragged about how fast he could run. Tired of hearing him boast, Slow and Steady, the tortoise, challenged him to a race. All the animals in the forest gathered to watch.

Hare ran down the road for a while and then and paused to rest. He looked back at Slow and Steady and cried out, "How do you expect to win this race when you are walking along at your slow, slow pace?"

Hare stretched himself out alongside the road and fell asleep, thinking, "There is plenty of time to relax."

Slow and Steady walked and walked. He never, ever stopped until he came to the finish line.

The animals who were watching cheered so loudly for Tortoise, they woke up Hare.

Hare stretched and yawned and began to run again, but it was too late. Tortoise was over the line.

After that, Hare always reminded himself, "Don't brag about your lightning pace, for Slow and Steady won the race!"

Section B: Select the one standard English word from the list below and read it out aloud.

(A) Morning
(B) Morgen
(C) Matin
(D) Matinee

A total of five such lists.

Section C. Pick the two sentences below that are consistent with English grammar and vocabulary. Read them out aloud.

(A) Me no talk with you
(B) We are not threaten us
(C) Can you please move back?
(D) You have very bad manners
(E) Why we have to wait you?

Section D. Here is a situation: You are a student and you want to know why you have received an unsatisfactory grade. You have 2 minutes to state your case in English.

A total of seven situations.

In the marking system, having a local accent and using local idiomatic vocabulary and grammar are not problems in themselves. The important point is that the putonghua listener can make out the speech.

- I let my niece (age 13, secondary school first year) try this sample test. She raced right through it. So why is it so hard for the HKBU students? 70% failure rate!?

- Maybe the HKBU students were actually having trouble with Section D, because they have no empathy or understanding about other people. They are incapable of imagining themselves in other situations. They only know to scream and demand what they and only they want at this very moment.

- (Hong Kong Baptist University Office of Student Affairs: Standards of Conduct)

Students are required to observe the following Standards of Conduct that are considered appropriate to the educational purposes and Christian principles of the University:

1. Students are to exhibit a regard for the rights of others at all times. [The protestors went into the Language Centre and stopped operations for 8 hours.]

2. Students are to show respect for the safety and property of other persons as well as of the University.

3. Students are expected to value their personal integrity and therefore to demonstrate honesty at all times.

4. Students are expected to show respect to University administrators, faculty and staff at all times and to establish friendly relationships with other students. [The protestors went into the Language Centre and yelled at various administrators, teachers and staff members, even using obscene language.]

5. Students are expected to comply with the rules and regulations set by the University.

The following sanctions are appropriate:

1. Censure, a public notice to university community as well as society at large that such behavior is unacceptable.

2. Written reprimand to the individual students to put their culpability on record

7. Disqualification from serving as office bearers of student organizations

- No sanctions should be imposed, because of the usual reasons:

(1) the students are still young with bright futures ahead of them so their records should not be tarnished by public or private censure/reprimand;
(2) the students have noble ideals and they are not doing this for personal gains;
(3) no person at the Language Centre was killed or even injured;
(4) some administrators, teachers and staff members were screamed at and cursed out, but this is expected for these highly paid professionals;
(5) no property was damaged at the Language Centre;
(6) the only impact was that operations at the Language Centre was suspended for a few hours;
(7) community service would take time away from their studies;
etc etc.

No harm, no foul.

- Curiously, there is nothing against bringing ignominy upon the university. At present, this is the principal thought of the public who think that this HKBU Students Union president represents all the students there.

Public advice to all employers: Don't hire any Hong Kong Baptist University graduate!

- How did the incident end after 8 hours of siege? That is the part that the media chose to gloss over. After a few hours, an Associate Vice-President (Teaching and Learning) appeared and promised to look into the matter. That did not satisfy the Occupying Forces. Later a university vice-president appeared and promised to let the students who failed the Diagnostic cum Exemption Test (DET) this time to re-take the exam. The students were satisfied and left.

Can you spell APPEASEMENT?

Much more later, HKBU president Roland Chin Tai-hong popped in to say how he was pained by the students' behavior and promised that the matter will be pursued in accordance with the procedures.

Can you spell FUTILITY?

- (HKG Pao) Here is what appeasement has gotten Hong Kong Baptist University so far:

April 2015: The university governing council held a meeting to appoint Roland Chin Tai-hong as the new president. Students barged into the council meeting room. The council agreed to delay the appointment pending more consultations with the students.

June 2015: A restructuring plan eliminated the job of Centre for Youth Research and Practice assistant director held by pro-democracy activist Shiu Ka-chun. Students worked with outside force the university to keep Shiu.

2016: The HKBU Students Union held a referendum on the demand to eliminate putonghua as a graduation requirement. Although the turnout was a measly 12%, the union declared that "most students support the elimination of the putonghua graduation requirement." After much negotiation, the university agreed to introduce a Diagnostic cum Exemption Test that would allow students to satisfy the requirement without having to take putonghua courses. Only 30% of the testees passed the inaugural exam this year.

2017: The Hong Kong Baptist University Senate's student representatives organized a letter-writing campaign to demand the elimination of Physical Education as a compulsory course. The university agreed to rename Physical Education as Healthy Living and reduced the 3 units to 2 units.

If the university lets the students have their way this time, they will merely press on with further demands.

- (HKG Pao) By Chris Wat Wing-yin.

HKBU vice-president Chow Wai-lap promised the students that those who failed will be allowed to re-take the test. I am perplexed. Following what Chow said, the students won't have to worry about failing any exams in future. If they fail, they will bring their machetes down to the teacher's office and then their grades will be changed to pass.

Today, each local university students is subsidized by the government to the tune of $250,000 per year. Over the course of four years, a student gets $1,000,000 in subsidies. That money is coming from us taxpayers. We the taxpayers should each write a letter to HKBU president Roland Chin Tai-hong to give him the strength and courage to kick these immoral troublemakers out of the university.

- (Wen Wei Po) January 21, 2018.

The Hong Kong Baptist University Student Union asked for public support of their actions. 57 out of 59 comments were condemnations.

Herman Fong: After I watched the videos that are being circulated around, I thought that the HKBU is just clueless. This is another example of how freedom of speech is being abused. If you have an opinion about the marking scheme, you can ask for the university or the department head to explain in a fair and open manner. You can even demand a higher degree of transparency. Because you entered university, then must they let you graduate? Do you think that HKBU is a diploma mill?

Eliza Lee: Why don't you protest against learning English? If you don't want to learn (putonghua), you can withdraw from school. Each school has its own rules and standards. When you entered HKBU, you should know the graduation requirements. Are you really HKBU students? You are such bullies! How many people around the world are learning putonghua. Donald Trump's granddaughter and investor guru Jim Rogers' two daughters are learning Chinese with perfect pronunciations. They love Chinese culture. You people are an embarrassment. What do you have to compete with other people?

Harriet Low B: Please don't make HKBU students or even university students as a whole look bad, especially the HKBU SU president and the bespectacled guy in the grey jacket. You don't look as if you were asking questions. The whole video is about threatening people. You don't know anything about respecting your teachers. If you object to putonghua so much, you can go study overseas! President, using foul language does not make your argument more powerful. Also, bespectacled guy, you are making people laugh by saying "I am talking with you." I feel that you people would fail English too! "And I'm sorry to say" that I cannot think of any other descriptive term other than "dickheads" to characterize your HKBU SU president and the bespectacled guy!! Since some people are able to pass the putonghua test, it means that you others are not as good and therefore you failed. Instead of "asking questions," why don't you think about how to seek remedial help to perform better at the test in order to graduate.

Gary Chan: The students think that they look awesome? Like "Teddy Boy" character Chan Ho-nam? They think that they can do whatever they want by their so-called "demands"? Did they ever think about whether their demands were reasonable? Did they ever think about their method is proper? Please don't lose face for yourselves as well as for Hong Kong.

- The Hong Kong Baptist Union Students' Union thinks that it is being misunderstood. Therefore it has issued a memo with these points:

(1) The putonghua proficiency test is supposed to gauge ability to communicate in putonghua. Instead, many students were rated by the adjudicators as "fluent" but they were failed for mysterious reasons (such as the tone does not fit the role of the person).

(2) The occupation of the Language Centre was not solely because the Diagnostic cum Exemption Test was hard and many students failed. Other reasons include (1) the form of the test was not what was agreed upon; (2) the marking standards were not transparent; (3) there was no appeal system; (4) the lack of a plan to eliminate the putonghua requirement. etc.

(3) President Roland Chin Tai-hong sent out an email to say that the university is willing to answer questions from the students. We disagree. In truth, the Language Centre director failed to disclose the marking standards more than five hours after the students showed up. During the time, misleading information was given to the students.

(4) With respect to the elimination of the putonghua requirement, our union and its members have used different channels to communicate to the university, including open forums, referenda, open letters, academic committees, etc. None of these measures have shaken the putonghua requirement. Therefore our union occupied the Language Centre in the hope of obtaining a reasonable response.

(5) Our union respects all the students who want to take the putonghua courses. We are not asking the university to cancel all putonghua courses. Putonghua is not essential to the students when they take other courses, and it is not the only foreign language option. Our union does not believe that a Hong Kong university should make putonghua a requirement for graduation.

- On (1), for example, the testee is asked to play the role of a restaurant waiter. A customer comes in and orders a dish. It was sold out. Another dish. Sold out too. A third dish. Sold out too. The customer is upset and is ready to leave. The testee is asked to say something to the customer to persuade him to stay, such as recommending some great available dishes. The testee has 90 seconds to say whatever fits his role in that situation.

So the testee launches a tirade: "Fuck your mother! I have enough of your kind! Go fuck yourself! Get the fuck out of here!" Yes, he is perfectly fluent with this special set of vocabulary. But do you think that the adjudicators should pass him?

- On (4), the occupation of the Language Centre is said to be a way of "obtaining a reasonable response" with respect to the elimination of the putonghua requirement for graduation. What is a "reasonable response"? Well, it is their way or the high way -- the only "reasonable response" is the elimination of the putonghua requirement. Any other response is "unreasonable."

- On (5), we live here today in the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region of the People's Republic of China. The HKBU Students' Union says that putonghua is a "foreign language".

- On (5), given that your English sucks (as recorded on video) and you flunked the putonghua test, do you think that you can learn French, Japanese or Korean? Or are you also going to threaten any language teacher who dares to fail you?

- Actually, what is missing is a point (6) to apologize for insulting and harassing the Language Centre staff. This is what upsets the rest of the world. The absence of (6) is making people ever angrier.

- The Hong Kong Baptist University Students' Union has not only worked hard to eliminate the puthonghua requirement. It has also worked hard for the elimination of other graduation requirements (see Programme Requirement).

- (Wen Wei Po) January 23, 2018.

3 units of Physical Education? Why do university graduates have to be physically fit?

3 units of Public Speaking? Why do university graduates need to address the public?

Last year, the students started a letter-writing campaign to demand the elimination of the Physical Education and Public Speaking requirements. They said that the students should have the autonomous right to decide for themselves whether they want to take these courses.

As a result, the Hong Kong Baptist University Senate changed the Physical Education requirement to 2 credits of "Healthy Living" and the Public Speaking requirement to 2 credits of "The Art of Persuasion." However, the HKBU Students' Union will continue to fight because their goal is total elimination of all requirements.

- (Economic Times x Sky Post poll) Some Hong Kong Baptist University students occupied the university's Language Centre because they were unhappy that too few passed the putonghua exemption test. Do you think that the students' action was proper? (date: January 22, 2018)

5%: Proper
94%: Not proper
1%: No opinion

- (SCMP) Baptist University students should go back to primary school. By Alex Lo. January 23, 2018.

A group of angry students stormed the Baptist University language centre, then threatened and harassed its staff for more than eight hours. By now, you have probably seen a video clip, which has gone viral, showing how student union president Lau Tsz-kei and others physically intimidated staff and shouted obscenities at them.

The students were upset that 70 per cent of those who took a recent Mandarin exam flunked it and demanded to be shown the exam-marking instructions.

That piqued my curiosity about the test itself. Was it a nefarious ploy by school administers with a pro-China agenda to deliberately make it so tough that few would pass it and everyone else would be forced to take mandatory classes in the “communist” language to graduate? I downloaded a test sample. What shocked me was how easy it was as to be almost laughable. The first part is to read aloud a short passage. The sample I have is about a family taking a walk in the countryside, written at a level of Chinese you would encounter in a textbook for primary schoolers.

The second involves picking out phrases and sentences that are typical of either Cantonese or Mandarin. One or the other: you would pass even if you only knew Cantonese!

The third part, however, is my favourite. It presents several situations in which you are required to make a polite or presentable response in Mandarin. Examples include placating an angry customer at a restaurant if you are a waiter; and giving a short speech on taking every opportunity to practise writing Chinese words by hand instead of relying on keyboard typing, often assisted by language software.

Well, given the level of rudeness and aggressiveness typical of many of our student leaders today, I can understand why some may fail this part of the test; shouting obscenities at your customer or lecture audience just won’t do.

Joking aside, it’s hard to see how any university student could fail such an easy test. Perhaps they didn’t care or were boycotting a test they considered unnecessary or unjustified. Yes, the student union objected to making Mandarin mandatory. They also seemed to think the exam markers were deliberately harsh in their grading. But if the administration has bent over backwards to make the test easy, it’s hard to see why that should be true. I shudder to consider the most obvious explanation … about the linguistic competence of some university students.

- (SCMP) Hong Kong students the real losers in language battle. By Alex Lo. January 26, 2018.

The breakdown of communal consensus and the social fabric is a destructive and dangerous thing. The question of what constitutes the local language and the national language goes to the very heart of the matter in Hong Kong.

Twenty years ago, everyone agreed that Hong Kong people should strive to become trilingual in Cantonese, Mandarin and English. It’s true that not everyone can master more than one language, but a working knowledge of the other two has long been considered desirable.

Now, Mandarin is being seen by some as the language of the enemy, and so is to be rejected. The other side of the coin is the belief that Cantonese ought to be protected and promoted.

That is the real reason behind the controversy at Baptist University. To outsiders, it must seem bizarre that a national language test should be considered controversial. Even if students object to it, it’s hardly newsworthy. But in Hong Kong today, it cuts right down to the localist debate over identity and its distinctive roots in the culture and history of Hong Kong. And what can be more integral to our core self than the language we speak in defining ourselves and the world?

It’s hard to get a fix on the furore because the students and those who support them have put forward various extraneous arguments against the mandatory test.

One is that Mandarin is useless, or at least not very useful. Another is that even if it’s useful, well, many things are useful to learn in life, so why pick Mandarin? Thus Baptist’s student union president Lau Tsz-kei, who led an eight-hour stand-off at the university language centre, asked why not make first aid mandatory since it too is useful.

A prominent commentator has asked why Baptist management doesn’t make Hawaiian dance mandatory; it’s more fun!

I presume most Baptist graduates don’t aspire to be paramedics or Hawaiian dancers, but many would work for corporations and public bodies that often use Mandarin.

But utility is not the real issue. The struggle by militant students is against the language itself and the perceived attempt by the school administration to promote it, and by extension, to advance mainland influence.

It’s part of a larger localist battle against real or perceived mainland incursion. Sadly, the students are undermining their own education and career prospects in the service of a hopeless ideology.

- (SCMP) Students must stop blaming their woes on the rise of Mandarin. By Alex Lo. January 30, 2018.

Last September, localist radical Alvin Cheng Kam-mun was fined HK$3,000 for dumping library books in what he considered an attempt to protect children from the “cultural invasion” of simplified Chinese characters. Today, some Baptist University students are up in arms against mandatory Mandarin courses, with widespread peer support from other universities.

Many critics see such resistance as part of a youthful localist reaction against mainland cultural invasion. Those young people, they claim, see Mandarin and its simplified writing script as the language of the enemy.

There is something to that observation. However, I think many university students have more than a functional grasp of Mandarin, so we may only be hearing from a vocal minority.

Still, the passions and hatred displayed by some students seem to indicate something deeper and more primal. It may have something to do with what University of Hong Kong council chairman Arthur Li Kwok-cheung calls “the loser mentality”. There is a more fanciful French word, ressentiment, used by the German philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche to denote something similar.

In the past, only the most elite and gifted students went to just two universities. Employers queued up to offer them jobs. The University of Science and Technology joined the club in the early 1990s.

Today, we have 10 universities taking in more than 20 per cent of secondary school graduates. University graduates are no longer considered elite. Their earnings reflect that. According to a recent survey by New Century Forum, the entry-level jobs of almost 45 per cent of graduates are low-skilled or labour-intensive rather than knowledge-based, compared to just 33 per cent in 1996.

Worse, they are told incessantly by bosses and the news media that their language standards – in English and Mandarin – are not up to scratch. Michael Tien Puk-sun was in a RTHK debate last week with Baptist’s student union president Lau Tsz-kei, who led protests against the school’s Mandarin policy. The lawmaker and G2000 clothing chain founder claimed to be speaking for other employers when he said it was hard to hire new graduates proficient in English or Mandarin, let alone both.

The localist stance against Mandarin in fact goes against the city’s own language trends. Since 2012, more and more Cantonese speakers speak Mandarin than English. So what you have is a disaffected minority covering up their own sense of inadequacy under the guise of a radicalised localism.

- (Wikipedia) Language proficiency in Hong Kong.

1996: 95.2%
2016: 94.6%

1966: 38.1%
2016: 53.1%

1966: 25.3%
2016: 48.6%

- (Wen Wei Po) January 23, 2018.

There was a meeting between the HKBU Students Union and the university administration today on the Diagnostic cum Exemption Test for putonghua. Today HKBU Students Union president Lau Tsz-kei pronounced that this is proof that their Occupy Movement was successful. Lau said that it is sufficient for HKBU graduates to communicate in Cantonese and English only. He is demanding the elimination of the putongua requirement for graduation.

- Today, it's the putonghua requirement. Then he will go after the other requirements.

Public speaking: I don't think that HKBU graduates need to speak in public

Numeracy: An arts major does not need to know anything about numbers

Physical Education: HKBU graduates do not plan to take construction jobs

History and Civilization: What has that got to do with anything?

Values and the Meaning of Life: This is just plain asinine. If you don't know the meaning of life, you should kill yourself.

One Science/Chinese Medicine course: Traditional Chinese medicine? Everybody knows that it is quackery.


- When asked about the obscene word, Lau told the reporters not to "lose focus" of what really matters. To wit, the de-sinofication of Hong Kong.

- Lau is still insisting that the obscene word came out due to "a slip of the tongue." I don't know much about human anatomy/physiology, but I have a hard time thinking about how the word "please" slipped out of the tongue to become "fuck." Oh, please fuck!

- (Silent Majority HK) "You'll Never Walk Alone", so says disqualified legislative councilor Nathan Law. On Facebook, Law criticized public opinion as biased and the critics as "anti-intellectual and populist." He said that it is understandable that the students would be emotionally upset because the university refused to communicate with them. The university also ignored the facts presented by the student representatives and focused solely on the method of expression. Law said that mistakes are unavoidable in student activism.

- This is the usual dilemma for student activism. On one hand, young people are the only ones who can see the truth and therefore we must do as they dictate. On the other hand, young people are inexperienced and mistake-prone, so we must be forgiving. Which is it really? Can you please make up your collective minds?

- On one hand, Edward Leung Tin-kei announced that he will lead us to the Epochal Revolution. On the other hand, he said that he is just a fresh graduate and he cannot be expected to come up with a grand narrative. Which is it really?

- (Wen Wei Po) January 24, 2018. Hong Kong Baptist University Students' Union president Lau Tsz-kei faced the press today and said: "First of all, I want to to apologize to the teachers who were affected by my personal actions and attitudes during the Occupation of the Language Centre. I was upset that day because the university had ignored the demands of the students over many years. Therefore I believe that the school must bear a certain responsibility in this matter."

- As good as having said nothing ...

- (Wen Wei Po) January 24, 2018. Hong Kong Baptist University president Roland Chin Tai-hong said that the preliminary evidence showed that two students threatened and insulted staff workers in violation of the student code of conduct. Therefore the university has suspended those two students (Lau Tsz-kei and Andrew Chan Lok-hang) pending the completion of the investigation by the university disciplinary committee.

- Not to fear, because the university disciplinary committee is loaded with student representatives and bleeding-heart teachers. The two will be found innocent and the university will have to pay for their lost time.

- The two students said that the university administration did not ask them to give their side of the story. Therefore due process was missing. Duh, you are the guys who posted several hours of videos of your heroic actions on Facebook. Should they trust your word or their own lying eyes (see Duck Soup)?

- (Ming Pao) January 24, 2018. Student representatives from the HKBU school of business and school of science announced that they will initiate a student strike at 1pm on January 26, 2018. They issued four points of demand:

(1) immediately lift the suspension on the two students
(2) address the demand of the students to eliminate the putonghua requirement for graduation
(3) HKBU president Roland Chin Tai-hong must apologize to the two suppressed students
(4) the school must not pursue any further action against any student over this incident

- A student strike? Given the historical evidence (see #440), this is a losing cause. Why? The classes will go on because some students want to continue to attend class. If you go on strike, you will miss out and then you will have a hard time making up the missed classes if and when you return. You are only hurting yourself; you are not hurting the university administration, teachers or other students.

- Workers go on strike knowing that they will hurt their capitalist employers. Workers won't go on strike if they are only hurting themselves. They will have to find some other way that hurt the capitalists, such as setting their mansions on fire, sinking their yachts, etc.

- What you want is a teacher strike in sympathy with the persecuted students. When a teacher strikes, he cancels class and all his students are out on "strike." But this teacher will be subject to complaints from those students who want the class to be held. That is the general situation. However, this particular case is about students threatening and insulting teachers. Do you think that the teachers will strike en masse to support this type of student behavior against themselves?

- Hong Kong runs common law which is based upon precedents. If the university does not punish the student behaviors shown in these videos, then those types of action become normalized based upon the precedent. Do you think that the academic staff and teachers will accept this as normal for them in the future?

- (Oriental Daily) January 25, 2018. Oh, the students have changed their minds. The student strike has been called off. Instead they will hold a demonstration march on campus.

Indeed, outsiders can come in and be counted in the demonstration march for the usual inflated count. They can also march to occupy the president's office.

- (HGK Pao) The number that the students must exceed is 10,681, which is the number of people who have signed an online petition in support of HKBU president Roland Chin Tai-hong between January 25 14:00 and January 26 12:30.

(Hong Kong Free Press) More than 700 alumni of the Hong Kong Baptist University (HKBU) have signed a petition protesting the school’s decision to suspend two students after a row over a controversial Mandarin language requirement. In a petition, alumni from the university demanded that the school withdraw the disciplinary action against the two students, suspend the implementation of the Mandarin language requirement for a comprehensive review and consultation, and follow up with the matter of Andrew Chan being threatened. It was signed by “a group of Baptist University alumni who believe in justice and have gathered on our own accord.” After being launched on Thursday, it has received over 700 signatures.

- (Speakout HK) January 26, 2018. The turnout at the demonstration march was about 200. According to the University Grants Committee, Hong Kong Baptist University has about 8,300 full-time undergraduate students. So 200 / 8,300 = 2.4% of the students came out to show us their opinion today. But 100% of the 200 students support the four demands. Therefore HKBU president Roland Chin Tai-hong must satisfy them.

- In solidarity, the Hong Kong University Students Union is retaliating against HKBU president Roland Chin Tai-hong. The union manages the Democracy Wall. There is now a post "Chin Tai-hong, I fuck your mother" on the wall in violation of the prohibition against personal attacks as well as the requirement of stating your name and major. Hong Kong University Students Union president  Ed Wong Ching-tak said that this anonymous post will be allowed to stay because it is merely a slogan without corresponding physical action.

- In summary, this whole case is one about misunderstanding on the part of the students. They misunderstood the import of their actions. In fact, they conducted a live broadcast and wanted people to share the videos afterwards. They could not understand why the public is reacting adversely to threatening and insulting teachers. They ended up making the hole even deeper by making these "Chin Tai-hong, I fuck your mother" posters for their Democracy Walls. This reinforces the worst public impressions of university students as a whole.

- Well, if saying "fuck" at a teacher was a slip of the tongue, then is writing "Chin Tai-hong, I fuck your mother" a slip of the hand?

- Fourth-year HKBU student Agnes Chow Ting said that we should focus on the putonghua issue and not be distracted by the student behavior. Fine, I am trying to but you stick this "Chin Tai-hong, I fuck your mother" poster in my face. How am I going to concentrate on your issue when you insist on thrusting more distractions in my face?

P.S. (Oriental Daily) January 25, 2018. Spray-painted graffiti were found on the walls of a private residential building across the Hong Kong Baptist University campus. The words are "Discrimination," "Don't want putongua" and "NOPTH" (for "No putonghua"). The owners association will have to pay to remove the graffiti on its property. The police are investigating this case, which is categorized as criminal destruction of property.

- Under the Theory of Occupy Central, the owners of the private residential building will blame the Hong Kong Baptist University president Roland Chin Tai-hong for not capitulating to the demands of the students. None of this would have happened if only Chin acted like a surrender monkey.

- If I were one of those owners, I would be saying "HKBU students, fuck your mothers!" because I have to pay for the graffiti removal.

P.P.S. (HKG Pao) January 25, 2018. Former Chinese University of Hong Kong Students Union president Ernie Chow posted on Facebook: "Communist-licking beast Chin Tai-hong, I fuck your mother! (Vice-chancellor Rocky Tuan: I am notifying you that a CUHK student is using obscenities to curse out the president of a neighboring school. Will suspension be forthcoming?)."

- Dear Vice-chancellor Tuan, are you going to tolerate this like Joseph Sung did? Or will you suspend him like HKBU is doing?

P.P.P.S. (SCMP) January 25, 2018. Roger Wong Hoi-fung, a member of the school’s governing council and a representative of the university’s 2,000 teaching staff, said the video indicated that staff were threatened. He said some workers had even cried when he spoke to them about the incident. Wong said he disagreed with the university president’s suspension of the pair before an investigation, but that it would help if Lau and Chan went to the language centre to apologise directly to staff.

“Their ideology and objective can be very great and just, but it cannot be an excuse for their actions. It is right for students and staff to fight for [causes] but this time they really did cross the line,” he said. “From our observations, the staff did feel threatened and abused. Their perception is very important too. This was eight hours … 20 students outnumbering the staff in a small area, and most [staff] were women.”

- (Speak Out HK https://www.speakout.hk/%E6%B8%AF%E4%BA%BA%E8%8A%B1%E7%94%9F/30717/-%E9%AB%98%E4%B8%8B%E7%AB%8B%E8%A6%8B-%E5%8A%89%E5%AD%90%E9%A0%8E%E9%99%B3%E6%A8%82%E8%A1%8C%E7%88%86%E7%B2%97%E5%85%87%E8%80%81%E5%B8%ABVS%E5%8F%97%E8%BE%B1%E8%80%81%E5%B8%AB%E6%93%94%E5%BF%83%E5%AD%B8%E7%94%9F%E8%A2%AB%E6%8D%95%E6%94%BE%E6%A3%84%E5%A0%B1%E8%AD%A6 ) January 28, 2018. 

On radio, Baptist University governing council member Roger Wong Hoi-fung said that the Language Centre discussed whether to call the police, but they decided not to because they did not want to see the students arrested by the police. They wanted to ask the university security guards to come and help them, but the security guards were stopped by senior lecturer Chan Sze-chi. Wong said that even if you exclude the foul language, the Occupy action that day constituted a threat on that day.

- (SCMP) January 25, 2018.

Hong Kong Baptist University president Roland Chin Tai-hong said the duo had posed a danger to staff at the institution during the eight-hour stand-off last week, which he said made staff feel threatened and insulted, affecting their work.

Lau Tsz-kei, while admitting that the protesters could have handled the matter differently and were “a bit emotional and loud”, maintained that neither he nor any of his fellow protesters threatened staff.

“We were only asking them questions and demanding a dialogue,” he said. “I don’t think this endangered their safety. In fact, they were free to enter and leave [the office], and we even helped them fetch letters ... there was no bodily contact.

- If the Language Centre staff teachers told Roger Wong that they felt threatened and even cried uncontrollably, then it is their fault to misinterpret their situation. They are the ones who must apologize in public to Lau and Chan for causing the disruption in the two's study plans.

-  Lau Tsz-kei and Chan Lok-hang insisted that they did not do anything wrong. This is sounding more and more like the rapist's defense: "I did not think that I was doing anything wrong. She seemed to be enjoying it the whole time. How was I supposed to know that she didn't want to?"

- I grew up watching all the Teddy Boy movies (see highlights). So what happened at the Language Centre is just business as usual in Hong Kong daily life. Lau Tsz-kei and Chan Lok-hang were merely doing whatever Chan Ho-nan (played by Elkin Cheng) and friends did in those movies. What is there to be concerned about? There is no need to be so "protective" of students. When they graduate, they will encounter this real world. You might as well as get them ready to act that way. If you want them to survive in the jungle, you should teach them the jungle rules as early as possible.

P.P.P.P.S. (The Stand https://thestandnews.com/politics/%E5%86%8D%E6%92%B0%E6%96%87%E6%92%90%E5%AD%B8%E7%94%9F-%E6%B5%B8%E5%A4%A7%E6%96%87%E5%AD%B8%E9%99%A2%E5%89%AF%E9%99%A2%E9%95%B7-%E9%AB%98%E5%AE%98%E6%B6%89%E7%9F%A5%E6%B3%95%E7%8A%AF%E6%B3%95%E4%B8%8D%E6%8C%87%E8%B2%AC-%E4%BE%86%E6%8C%87%E8%B2%AC%E5%B9%BE%E5%80%8B%E5%A4%A7%E5%AD%B8%E7%94%9F/ ) HKBU Faculty of Arts associate dean Lo Ping-cheung wrote: "In the adult world, a senior government official for the justice department has knowingly flaunting the law and she will be prosecuting Hong Kong citizens in the name of justice and rule-of-law. Such an absurdity is being ignored. Instead public attention is being diverted against a few university students!"

- Who is diverting attention here? This sentence can be reversed completely into: "Over at Lo Ping-cheung's beloved Hong Kong Baptist University, a few rotten university students falsely imprisoned and criminally threatened academic staff teachers in order to have their grades changed. Such an absurdity is being ignored by this university professor, who wants us to focus our attention instead on the illegal building structures on the properties of the Secretary for Justice."

- Also being advanced forward is the thesis that the two students should not be suspended on account of a single obscenity that slipped from only one of them. The students did not make any physical contact with the staff. Hey, the charge is "criminal intimidation" (see CAP 200 Crimes Ordinance Articles 24 and 27) and not "use of profanity (disorderly conduct)" or "common assault."

- (HKG Pao) HKBU Faculty of Arts associate dean Lo Ping-cheung wrote that the graduation requirement of putonghua should be scrapped because the students obviously don't like to learn putonghua. Bwaaahhh! In most Hong Kong kindergartens, primary and secondary schools (apart from the international schools), children don't like to learn English because it is so hard and unconnected to their lives. By dean Lo's logic, English should be scrapped from the school curricula.

- No, the logic here is that kindergarten, primary and secondary school students are children and therefore must be told what to do. University students are adults (aged 18 or over) and therefore they have the freedom to do whatever they want.

Once the putonghua requirement is eliminated, the student activists will move on to eliminate the requirements on English proficiency, physical education, public speaking, etc.

P.P.P.P.P.S. (Silent Majority HK) Television actor Steven Ma wrote about respecting teachers in his Facebook. For his effort, one person commented: "What is this? Steven Ma, I fuck your mother!" and "What the fuck is this to you, Steven Ma?" Ma said that he was only stating his opinion. Meanwhile, he noted that his mother has passed away years ago due to illness and that there is no reason to insult her. He asked: "Why don't we encourage each other and remind ourselves that we should all learn to be humble and well-mannered?"

- In Hong Kong, we have freedom of speech. Steven Ma can say whatever he wants, and other people can tell him to go fuck himself. Life is good here because we have freedom of speech. this is our core value. Long live FREEDOM, DEMOCRACY, HUMAN RIGHTS and UNIVERSAL VALUES!

P.P.P.P.P.P.S. (Silent Majority HK) Unemployed/unemployable actor/director Chapman To wrote on Facebook: "After seeing many people criticize the students, I finally believe that Facebook is for middle-aged and old wastrels." To added: "I have beaten up my teacher before."

- Chapman To's most recent movie The Empty Hands was a box office flop. It has no mainland China distribution because the actor/director Chapman To is toxic there. In Hong Kong, it grossed just over $HK 2 million, which is not enough to cover distribution/promotional costs much less production costs. In Malaysia, it grossed less than $HK 100,000. So the investors' money were written off as a total loss. Chapman To needs attention now, and he usually gets it when he gives us his obnoxious opinions.

P.P.P.P.P.P.P.S. (Silent Majority HK) Legislative Councilors Roy Kwong Chun-yu (Democratic Party) and Shiu Ka-chun held a press conference this afternoon. They said that if the Hong Kong Baptist University administration fails to establish an independent investigative committee to determine whether the university mishandled this incident, then the matter will have to discussed at the Legislative Council. Shiu said that as a member of Legislative Council Security Matters Committee and Education Matters Committee, he clearly knows that the Legislative Council has the power to do so.

- Time for the pan-democrats to call for another demonstration march to defend institutional autonomy at the universities. Oh wait, this time it is pan-democratic legislative councilors who are intervening! Never mind, I didn't see or hear anything ...

P.P.P.P.P.P.P.P.S. (HKG Pao) Foul-mouthed ex-teacher Alpais Lam said that the HKBU incident is similar to her own incident of using foul language against a policeman. She asked the world not to cling on to this trivial matter. She advised students to avoid foul language because it gives cause for criticism. Isn't it funny that a foul-mouthed person should be teaching others not to use foul language?

- Well, fuck you too, Alpais Lam!

- (DotDotNews) Chan Lok-hang, what are you talking about? January 27, 2018.

Female student: I don't want to disturb you. I want to give you two sheets. If you feel that you have the need, you can look me up. (Words on paper: "I am willing to provide free putonghua tutoring to you. Please stop attacking the university and its teachers.")

Andrew Chan Lok-hang: "Whose is this?"

Female student: "I am a student."

Andrew Chan Lok-hang: "Actually, my putonghua has already met the graduation requirement. Therefore I have no need. Thank you very much. I have passed the graduation requirement. Therefore I have completed my course. I have met the graduation requirement."

Reporter: "Why don't you speak a couple of sentences in putonghua?"

Andrew Chan Lok-hang: "Who are you with? Global Times? Which organization are you with?"

Reporter: "It is written on the microphone."

[Andrew Chan peeks at the microphone but could not identify the outlet.]

Andrew Chan Lok-hang: "Which organization are you with? Because I have discovered that certain leftist media have been following me every time that I make a public appearance. For example, at the press conference yesterday, there were certain media outlets with ulterior motives asking me whether I am a pro-Hong Kong independence element. "

- You make a public appearance (e.g. hold a press conference) and the media show up. What is the problem with that? If the leftist media outlets don't show up, you would say that they are boycotting you.

- (Oriental Daily) January 28, 2018. Yesterday on radio, Baptist University Foundation Alumni Committee chairman Wong Hak-ken posed several questions in putonghua to Andrew Chan Lok-hang. Chan replied in putonghua. Afterwards Wong said that his foreigner colleagues spoke better putonghua than Chan.

- (Silent Majority HK) January 30, 2018. There is a professional political agitator among the Hong  Kong Baptist University students who laid siege to the Language Centre. Liu Wai-lim is a core member of the political party Demosisto. He has many prior records, including (1) attempted intercept of National People's Congress Standing Committee deputy secretary-general Li Fi at his hotel in 2014; (2) attempted intercept of National People's Congress Standing Committee chairman Zhang Dejiang at the Hong Kong Science Park in 2016; chanting slogans at the 2017 national flag raising ceremony on October 1st.

After the Language Centre incident, Liu was notified to attend a university disciplinary committee hearing as one of the students who took part in the action as recorded on video. Afterwards, Liu cursed out university president Roland Chin Tai-hong on his Facebook and called for a student class strike. He said that if he is "suspended", he will go "all the way" with the school. He said that he was only applying pressure on and not threatening the Language Centre teachers. He did not think that he did anything wrong and he refused to apologize.

- (Ming Pao) Editorial. January 29, 2018.

Two students have been temporarily suspended following the occupation of the Baptist University's language centre, pending a hearing by the disciplinary committee. Some commentators have linked the incident with the general decline of moral standards of young people, while others have accused the school of "political suppression" and "meting out punishment without trial".

Two aspects have provoked debate in the BU administrators' handling of the matter. The first is whether the students involved threatened teaching staff, and the second is whether the university "meted out punishment before trial in breach of proper procedure". Lau Tsz-kei and Andrew Chan Lok-hang, the students involved in the incident, insist that they did not make the teachers feel threatened. Chan maintains that he did not use foul language or come into physical contact with the staff. However, as Roger Wong Hoi-fung, who sits on the BU council, has said, the two staff members involved twice said that they had been threatened, and one of them even recounted the incident later in tears. The treatment of verbal abuse, threats or arguments should involve the consideration of the context as in the treatment of sexual harassment. People in the street might intersperse their exchanges with swearing, but they do not necessarily do so with mutual malevolence. In a different context, though, a spiteful utterance could constitute a threat even if it does not contain foul language.

According to the footage filmed that day, not only did Lau use bad language, but he also talked and acted in a vociferous and aggressive manner. As for Chan, he bore down on the staff several times, demanding, in a loud voice, that they explain the arrangements for the examination. It is hardly surprising that the female staff felt threatened by Lau and Chan's words and body language when they were surrounded by a dozen students in such cramped conditions. As in many sexual harassment cases, what is important is not whether the accused maintained that they were not offensive or whether the plaintiffs were "too sensitive". What really counts is whether the victims really feel threatened or insulted. Lau and Chan should take stock of their wrongdoings instead of glossing over them.

Then the issue of "meting out punishment without trial". Lau and Chan criticised the school for "skipping all the procedures" and suspending them as a "punishment", preventing them from learning. It is debatable whether the school should have been more lenient. However, it is difficult to say that the mechanism was not followed. According to the university's Student Disciplinary Procedures, the school can deny a student's access to the whole campus if he or she is believed to pose a danger to the safety of other members of the University community. The BU administration has handled the matter in accordance with Article 10.1 of the procedures by temporarily suspending—instead of punishing—the students before a disciplinary hearing is completed. Procedure-wise, this is not wrong, with Roger Wong also agreeing that this should not be regarded as "meting out punishment without trial". The problem is public perception.

The student unions of many universities have shown their support for Lau and Chan after they were suspended, saying that their treatment is "political suppression", "creation of a chilling effect" and "curbing the scope of free speech". Now the matter originated from the students' verbal expressions and body language which they used to threaten and insult the teaching staff. Such being the case, the matter has nothing to do with free speech. The severity of the punishment is debatable. But it can hardly be called political suppression.

That the university wants students to be proficient in English, Cantonese and Putonghua is normal. It is not advisable for people from all sides to conflate any kind of disagreement with the issue of "Hong Kong-China" conflicts.

- (Hong Kong Free Press) February 16, 2018.

Baptist University student Andrew Chan Lok-hang has said he denied all disciplinary charges relating to his participation in a row over a compulsory Mandarin-language test at the school.

Chan and Student Union president Lau Tsz-kin, in addition to Student Senator William Liu and another student, attended a closed-door hearing on Thursday with a five-person disciplinary committee headed by Chaplain Ip King-tak. It is unclear when the results of the hearing will be announced.

Chan told reporters after the hearing that he denied all three charges against him, which include obstruction or disruption of teaching or administration, engaging in inappropriate conduct, and endangering the safety of the school body, RTHK reported. Chan said that the gathering was peaceful and that he did not threaten the safety of the teaching staff or the students. He added that he had been anxious over the matter since Wednesday and is concerned that he will face harsher disciplinary action, such as being kicked out of the school.

- I am totally confused here. If, as Chan says, the gathering was peaceful and he did not threaten the safety of the teaching staffs, then why did the teaching staff said that they felt threatened and why did Chan apologize to them?

- This is standard Yellow Ribbon logic here: I did wrong and I am going to apologize, after which you must let me off because I am youthful with a bright future ahead. Immediately afterwards I am going to say that I did nothing wrong and that apology means jack shit.

(Hong Kong Free Press) January 15, 2018.

Ousted lawmaker Edward Yiu and ex-legislator Gary Fan have won the pro-democracy camp primary election held on Sunday in the Kowloon West and New Territories East constituencies. More than 26,000 Hongkongers voted in the primary to choose one candidate to run in each area ahead of the March 11 Legislative Council by-election. The nomination period will officially begin on Tuesday. The pro-democracy camp has agreed to run just one candidate for each vacant seat in order to avoid vote splitting and maximize their chances against the pro-Beijing camp. The Sunday vote accounted for 45 per cent of the primary results. The results also incorporated phone surveys conducted by the University of Hong Kong’s Public Opinion Programme – which accounted for another 45 per cent of the result. Votes from participating pro-democracy organisations accounted for the remaining 10 per cent.

(Bastille Post) January 15, 2018.

New Territories East
Table 1: Detailed results
Rows are candidates in order of Tommy Cheung Sau-yin, Gary Fan Kwok-wai and Steven Kwok Wing-kin, followed by abstention/null and grand total.
Columns are by mode in order of telephone poll results, physical balloting and organization balloting.
Table 2: Scoring
Rows are candidates in order of Tommy Cheung Sau-yin, Gary Fank Kwok-wai and Steven Kwok Wing-kin, followed by the relative weight
Columns are by mode in order of telephone poll results, physical balloting and organization balloting. Right-hand column has the final score by candidate.

Kowloon West
Table 1: Detailed results
Rows are candidates in order of Frederick Fung Kin-kee, Edward Yiu Chung-yim and Ramon Yuen Hoi-man, followed by abstention/null and grand total.
Columns are by mode in order of telephone poll results, physical balloting and organization balloting.
Table 2: Scoring
Rows are candidates in order of Frederick Fung Kin-kee, Edward Yiu Chung-yim and Ramon Yuen Hoi-man, followed by the relative weight
Columns are by mode in order of telephone poll results, physical balloting and organization balloting. Right-hand column has the final score by candidate.
The cell entries in brackets are the column rankings.

Internet comments:

- In New Territories East, Gary Fan Kwok-wai got 60.9% in the telephone poll and 59.5% in the physical balloting. So the results are quite consistent. But in Kowloon West, Edward Yiu Chung-yim got 48.4% in the telephone poll but 78.8% in the physical balloting. Is this the proverbial "stuffing the ballot boxes"?

- If you look at the counts, then Frederick Fung received 2,036 physical votes compared to Edward Yiu's 9,780. Everybody knows that Frederick Fung's party ADPL is has its home base in the Sham Shui Po district. There were 5,387 ballots cast in the Shek Kip Mei station in Sham Shui Po district. This means that Fung could not even win on his home court.

Is that reasonable? You can have your doubts, but there is no recourse for any complaints.

- Frederick Fung is exactly where he wants to be. During the debates, the other two candidates attacked Fung because of his higher name recognition. Fung counter-attacked Ramon Yuen Hoi-man while ignoring Edward Yiu Chung-yim altogether. So Fung was running for second-place and that is what he got.

Why is finishing second a "winning" strategy"? Because Fung is counting on Yiu to be disqualified by the Returning Officer! If and when that happens, the second-place finisher in the primary election will become the pro-democracy camp's candidate.

-  (Bastille Post) January 16, 2018.

One legal professional believed that when Edward Yiu Chung-yim was disqualified as a legislative councilor for failing to take his oath of office, that disqualification refers to his eligibility for the Legislative Council session of 2016-2020 in any capacity. That is to say, he cannot re-enter the Legislative Council by winning the by-election of another constituency. However, Yiu may be able to run in the 2020 Legco elections in the constituency of his choice.

- Don't count on Agnes Chow Ting being able to get past the Returning Officer. Her situation is even worse than Edward Yiu Chung-yim. Agnes is on the Standing Committee of the political party Demosisto, whose platform features "self-determination 自決." Specifically, this involves one or more public referenda by the people of Hong Kong to determine the future of Hong Kong. As such, this is contrary to the Hong Kong Basic Law. Today Agnes Chow is trying to muddle her way through by changing the keyword to "autonomy 自主."

Here are a couple of exit strategies for her. On one hand, she can resign from Demosisto and thus dissociate herself from "self-determination." On the other hand, Demosisto can renounce "self-determination" and she can retain her membership.

- Demosisto: About Us: Demosistō aims to achieve democratic self-determination in Hong Kong. Through direct action, popular referenda, and non-violent means, we push for the city’s political and economic autonomy from the oppression of the Communist Party of China (CPC) and capitalist hegemony.

- (Hong Kong Free Press) January 16, 2018.

Former lawmaker Edward Yiu says he believes the government would not bar him from running in the Legislative Council by-election in March, given the strong mandate he obtained in Sunday’s pro-democracy camp primary election.

Yiu, who was disqualified from the legislature by a court in 2016 over the additional lines he added to his oath of office, has often been asked about the risk of being barred from running again. “The government would not dare to cancel my candidacy because of the high turnout and the high percentage of support I received,” Yiu said.

- In the 2016 New Territories East Legco elections, there were 975,071 registered voters. On January 14, 2018, 13,699 came out to cast physical ballots in the pro-democracy primary election. The massive voter turnout of 1.4% gave a clear mandate to the winner Gary Fan Kwok-wai.

In the 2016 Kowloon West Legco elections, there were 488,129 registered voters. On January 14, 2018, 12,438 came out to cast physical ballots in the pro-democracy primary election. The massive voter turnout of 2.5% gave a clear mandate to the winner Edward Yiu Chung-yim.

The people of Hong Kong have spoke out in one unified voice on January 14, 2018. Therefore the Hong Kong Communist Government must satisfy their demand. Or else there will be another Occupy Central!

- (Ming Pao) January 16, 2018.

Chief Executive Carrie Lam said that it is up to the Returning Officers at the Electoral Affairs Commission to determine whether a nomination is accepted or denied. She said: "The Chief Executive does not stand there and decide who gets to run or not based upon her view."

Lam said that certain political parties want her to promise that she won't deprive the right of a certain person to run in the election. She said: "This is asking me to break the law. Election issues are not decided at the say-so of the Chief Executive. The Returning Officers make those decisions in accordance with the law."

- What was the purpose of occupying Central for 79 days? It was to fight for "genuine universal suffrage", which means one-person-one-vote with civil nomination. One-person-one-vote was there for the taking, but it was rejected for being fake. Instead, we must have civil nomination (that is to say, anyone who wants to run will be allowed to run).

After all this time, we now have the inaugural pro-democracy primary election. Indeed, anyone who wanted to run could run. Now that the winner have emerged, we go into the full elections with the candidates who will represent the pro-democracy camp:

In Hong Kong Island, the pro-democracy candidate is Agnes Chow Ting. Power for Democracy did not hold a primary election, because the various party bosses had reached consensus among themselves that Agnes Chow Ting will be our Goddess of Democracy PERIOD. P.S. It is still unclear whether she has successfully renounced her British citizenship.

In New Territories East, the pro-democracy candidate is Gary Fan Kwok-wai. He won based upon the results of 1,757 completed telephone calls; 13,699 physical ballots from people who showed their Hong Kong ID's and proof of address out of 975,071 registered voters; and 115 "pro-democracy" political parties/organizations.

In Kowloon West, the pro-democracy candidate is Edward Yiu Chung-yim. He won based upon the results of 2,115 completed telephone calls; 12,438 physical ballots from people who showed their Hong Kong ID's and proof of address out of 488,129 registered voters; and 117 "pro-democracy" political parties/organizations.

In the functional constituency for Architectural, Surveying, Planning and Landscape, the pro-democracy candidate is Paul Zimmerman, who is not even a member of that constituency.

All pro-democracy voters are asked to vote for these and only these designated pro-democracy candidates. If any other pro-democracy person is interested in running, then he/she will be attacked for hating freedom/democracy/human rights/universal values and being saboteurs on the payroll of the China Liaison Office.

What ever happened to the dream of "genuine universal suffrage"? Why are our choices being circumscribed by a small number of faceless citizens and party bosses?

- "Genuine universal suffrage" was the attractive slogan of a distant dream. After all, who can admit to preferring a "fake universal suffrage"? But reality is in the form of the four Legco by-elections on March 11, 2018. The point in any election is to win. In case you gloss over that, let me repeat: The point in any election is to win. "Genuine universal suffrage" allowing all pro-democracy candidates to run will surely lead to losses because the candidates will cannibalize each other. Therefore the choices must be reduced to one and only one  true-blue pro-democracy candidate per election. The decisions will be guided by the sagacious and benevolent party bosses who know best.

(SCMP) January 9, 2018.

A citywide police search was under way on Tuesday for two men who assaulted former student activist Tommy Cheung Sau-yin, who planned to run in a Hong Kong by-election in March.

The 23-year-old former Chinese University student union president was attacked on Chik Fu Street, Sha Tin soon after 11.15pm on Monday after a late-night meal. A passer-by called police. Cheung was taken conscious to Prince of Wales Hospital, where he was treated for minor head and arm injuries.

Speaking in hospital, Cheung said he noticed the two men looking at him when he left the restaurant and was on the way to pick up his car. “I thought I would be fine in the main street, but I was pushed to the floor then kicked and hit with an umbrella,” he recalled. He was discharged from hospital after treatment. Police mounted a search in the area, but no arrests were made.

A police source said crime squad officers were investigating the motive behind the attack, as Cheung, who had been eating alone, said he did not have any prior run-ins with the two attackers. The source also revealed that a letter with a razor blade and a newspaper cutting of the Chinese character for “kill” had been addressed to Cheung and sent to the office of the CUHK student union in Sha Tin. The items, he said, were related to Cheung’s recent allegations of bid-rigging in the provision of estate management, cleaning and security services to local housing estates, amid an ongoing wage dispute between cleaners from a West Kowloon public housing estate and their employer.

The letter was opened on Monday afternoon, but no police report was made before the attack, he said. “We are investigating whether the two cases are linked,” the source said.

Police are treating the cases as assault and criminal intimidation. Detectives from the Sha Tin district crime squad are handling the investigation.

(FactWire) January 11, 2018.

FactWire has obtained closed-circuit television videos from a three-storey building in Tai Wai Village. The cameras were installed on the front and back gates of this building, and were pointed in the direction of Chik Fuk Street, Tai Wai district.

The first video started with the time stamped at 22:33:06. However, FactWire checked and determined the camera clock was slower than actual time by 39:24. Therefore, the actual start time should be 23:12:30. In this video, Tommy Cheung was walking with a red/white/green umbrella in hand. He looked behind his shoulder as he hurried down.

About 10 seconds later, two men came into few. The men are tall with dark skin. One of them wore a blue jacket, blue jeans and a light-colored long scarf. The other wore a zip-up jacket with a hood that covered his head. The two entered slowly and suddenly dashed ahead. They disappeared from view at 23:12:50.

In the second video, Tommy Cheung appeared at 11:13:08 and hurried towards the direction of Chik Fuk Street away from Tai Wai Village.

Several seconds later, the two men reappeared in the first video. They had turned back from Tai Wai Village to go back to Chik Fuk Street. They were about six or seven seconds behind Tommy Cheung to reach Chik Fuk Street.

FactWire went and asked Tommy Cheung about the details of the incident, including the process, positions and routes. Cheung was not aware that FactWire was in possession of the surveillance videos.

According to Tommy Cheung, he parked his car outside the Tai Wai Village office and then he eat dinner at the noodle restaurant at the corner of Chik Fuk Street. At around 11pm, a private car stopped at the road by the Tung Wah Group of Hospitals Sin Chu Wan Primary School and two men of Asian descent got out. The two men were dark-skinned, one of them wearing a light-colored scarf and the other wearing a hooded jacket. They crossed the street and headed in his direction. Because they started at him, he felt that they were hostile. The two went past the noodle restaurant and walked down Chik Luk Lane.

About 10 to 15 minutes later, Cheung left the noodle restaurant to head to his car. Realizing that he had left his umbrella behind, Cheung returned to the noodle restaurant. When he came out, he saw the two men on the other side of the street in front of the dental clinic/hair salon. Cheung hurried off. The two men followed him. To make sure that they don't know where his car was parked, Cheung dashed into a back lane that led into Tai Wai Village to shake off the two men.

But once he got into the back lane, he realized that he is more likely to be attacked inside the village. So he chose to make a U-turn to leave on the other side of the block back to Chik Fuk Street. Cheung said: "They did not follow me all the way down the lane. They intercepted me on the main street (Chik Fuk Street).

One of the men pushed Cheung on the ground, and both attacked him. A foreigner came by and told them to stop. The two men fled in the direction of the Tung Wah Group of Hospitals Sin Chu Wan Primary School. Passersby helped him to get up, called the police and waited for the ambulance with him.

FactWire then showed him the closed circuit television videos. He confirmed that those were the two men who attacked him. "Why did I remember? Because one of them wore a hood and the other wore a scarf. In that lighting, I could not remember the color of his clothes. But I remember that his scarf was beige in color, because it stood out in contrast against his clothes."

Annotated map with the events:

1. At around 11pm, Cheung was dining at the noodle shop (location 2) when he saw two men of Asian descent got out of a car in front of the primary school and started at him before leaving.

2. 10 minutes later, Cheung left the noodle shop and saw the two men across the street in front of the dental clinic/hair salon.

3. At 23:12, the closed circuit television camera recorded Cheung hurrying down a narrow lane leading into Tai Wai Village. 10 seconds later, the two men followed him.

4. The closed circuit television camera recorded Cheung coming out of Tai Wai Village and running towards Chik Fuk Street.

5. Several seconds later, the two men made a U-turn and came back out on Chik Fuk Street.

6. The two men encountered Cheung on Chik Fuk Street and assaulted him. A passerby called out and called the police. The two men fled in the direction of the Tung Wah Group of Hospitals Sin Chu Wan Primary School.

Google Map

Right: Lam Garden Desserts/Snacks/Noodles
Left: Tung Wah Group of Hospitals Sin Chu Wan Primary School

Entrance into back lane from Chik Fuk Street

(Wen Wei Po) Internet comments. January 12, 2018.

- In the video, Tommy Cheung kept looking behind him. So he must know that he was being followed. Why did he choose to take the back lane?

- Any normal person who is being chased and threatened would be running to the crowded main street and going to a business for help. It is incredible that he should rush into a back lane by himself.

- Tommy Cheung said that he was realized that he was being tailed. Why did he still go into the back lane? Was he begging for a beating?

- Only in TVB soap operas do actors chose the back lane instead of the main road to flee from danger. The housewives may laugh at the absurdity, but they come back every evening to watch the same trash because they have no alternatives.

- Tommy Cheung even adopted the actor's routine of looking back over his should in fear at the menace following him.

- Tommy Cheung was courageous and fearless. Instead of sprinting off as quickly as possible, he took the time to look back at his pursuers.

- Tommy Cheung said that as soon as he realized that he was being followed, he immediately dashed into the back lane. Once he got in, he realized that it was a mistake. So he had to make a U-turn to get back on the main street. So do you trust someone who makes such a bad judgment as your representative?

- It was 1030pm. There are still plenty of people in the street. If you run into danger in the street, you should be heading towards a crowded place and calling out for people to help you. Why would you race into a back lane to be beaten up? This is unreasonable. It also happens that Tommy Cheung is running for an election. Did the director screw up, or was the scriptwriter stupid?

- This is clearly different from the case of Lam Tsz-kin. Whereas Lam said that he was kidnapped by (invisible) members of a powerful department, Tommy Cheung has hired real actors. This is a huge breakthrough in scriptwriting. However, choosing to run into the back lane is not what an ordinary person would do in order to flee from danger. The production team has come up with a supernatural story this time.

- Here is a proposed script called The Umbrella Movement based upon the facts as provided by Tommy Cheung.

(FactWire) Tommy Cheung finished dinner and left the restaurant. Realizing that he had left his umbrella at the restaurant, he turned back to retrieve the umbrella. When he came out, he saw the two men on the other side of the street in front of the dental clinic/hair salon. Cheung hurried off. The two men followed him. To make sure that they don't know where his car was parked, Cheung dashed into a back lane that led into Tai Wai Village to shake off the two men. The

But once he got into the back lane, he realized that he is more likely to be attacked inside the village. So he chose to go back on Chik Fuk Street. Meanwhile, he did not realize the two men had turned back and would show up on Chik Fuk Street within seconds.

[(HK01 https://www.hk01.com/%E6%B8%AF%E8%81%9E/147827/-%E5%BC%B5%E7%A7%80%E8%B3%A2%E9%81%87%E8%A5%B2-%E7%AB%B6%E9%81%B8%E8%BE%A6%E5%A4%96%E9%81%AD%E5%85%A9%E7%94%B7%E4%BB%A5%E5%82%98%E6%AF%86%E5%82%B7-%E9%87%8D%E6%A1%88%E6%8E%A5%E6%89%8B%E8%AA%BF%E6%9F%A5 ) According to Tommy Cheung Sau-yin, "they kept looking at me. I decided to get on the main street to avoid them. They pushed me down on the ground. They punched and kicked me. They even broke the umbrella that they used to beat me."]

Once Tommy Cheung met up with the two unarmed South Asians on Chik Fuk Street again, they took away his umbrella and beat him with it so hard that the umbrella broke.

- This case resolves the eternal question: Is the Umbrella An Offensive Weapon?

- Tommy Cheung even provided the weapon of assault to his attackers?

- (Wen Wei Po) January 15, 2018.

On January 9, Tommy Cheung said that he cannot bend his right hand. On January 10, he said that he cannot straighten his right hand. On January 11, his right hand has completely recovered. Let us pray for his recovery.

(SCMP) Outgoing HKU head calls visit to Occupy protesters the ‘defining moment’ of his term. By Danny Mok. December 21, 2017.

Outgoing University of Hong Kong vice-chancellor Peter Mathieson called his visit to protesters during the 2014 Occupy movement the “defining moment” of his presidency, as he highlighted the school’s improved performance in global rankings under his leadership in his final year-end message.

In an eight-page letter to the campus community on Wednesday, Mathieson, who will depart next month to take the helm at Scotland’s Edinburgh University, said his challenge during the 79-day Occupy protests was to adhere to his principles and those of the university to respect freedom of speech while also respecting the law and, most importantly, to ensure the safety of all HKU members and the public.

The Briton said he had no regrets about visiting the occupied site in Admiralty with Chinese University vice-chancellor Professor Joseph Sung Jao-yiu on that “famous night” on October 2, 2014.

The protesters had erupted in cheers and applause at the university heads’ arrival. Mathieson urged them to keep their cool, avoid conflict and take care of themselves, winning public acclaim for helping ease tensions.

In his fourth year-end message, Mathieson said: “[The visit] was a defining moment of my presidency, and if we helped to prevent escalation, as many have said we did, I am delighted.”

On the influence of politics on university life, he said: “Too often, events at HKU have been politicised, sometimes cynically so by those with vested interests.”

Mathieson said he hoped that the focus in the future could be on the excellence of the oldest university in the city, and of other local universities.

The former dean of the University of Bristol’s medicine and dentistry faculty took the helm at HKU in April 2014, five months before the outbreak of the Occupy protests. He shocked the city in February this year with his abrupt resignation, two years before his contract expired in 2019.

Mathieson’s premature departure followed years of tension and clashes between the university’s governing body and students amid allegations of political interference in academic freedom at Hong Kong’s premier higher learning institution.

The outgoing vice-chancellor, who earns an estimated HK$5.8 million a year, will take a huge pay cut after moving to the Scottish university, but he will be joining a globally more prestigious institution – Times Higher Education’s latest ranking of universities put HKU at No 43, while Edinburgh sits at No 27.

Mathieson raised the issue of HKU’s global ranking at the beginning of his message, which came with three charts showing its placing over the past years by ranking compilers Times Higher Education, QS and Shanghai Jiao Tong University.

Referring to those charts, he said that when he arrived in 2014, the university was falling in all three of the world’s major international league tables, but now as he was leaving, it was rising.

“Let me reiterate my often-stated attitude to rankings and league tables: we must never set policy or strategy to satisfy any particular ranking’s criteria, but if we do the right things and focus on excellence in all that we do, improved rankings will surely follow,” Mathieson said.

In the final paragraphs of his message, the president returned to the topic of school rankings.

He said that on all three of these lists, “we are the highest ranked of Hong Kong’s universities, and in all three our position has improved in the last two years”.

Mathieson also boasted of his and his colleagues’ “strong leadership” of the institution, citing the dental school as an example.

When he arrived at HKU, he said, the faculty of dentistry was “a very unhappy place with a culture of allegation and counter-allegation being made between staff members”.

“With some strong leadership from me and from [the faculty’s dean] Professor [Thomas] Flemmig, we addressed this poisonous culture and took steps to end it. I am pleased to say that things rapidly improved.”

In final remarks, Mathieson gave thanks to students, staff, alumni and friends of the university for their help and support.

“I have worked hard for the university throughout my time here. I have always done my very best to adhere to the principles of a modern, internationally credible university and to stand up for what I believe in,” he said.

“Be optimistic, positive, bold, innovative, but above all be proud of HKU. This is a superb university, and it has been my honour to be part of it.”

Dr William Cheung Sing-wai, chairman of the university’s academic staff association, questioned whether Mathieson was trying to play up his accomplishments ahead of his Edinburgh move. Cheung criticised the president for seemingly claiming credit for preventing the escalation of the Occupy protests. “He was only speaking to a group of protesters, and there were also people who were not students there at the Occupy protests,” Cheung said.

The chairman also said Mathieson was being “ignorant” for stressing rankings so much. Cheung said there was a consensus among academics that there should not be so much emphasis on rankings as they could easily change according to the weighting of different criteria used by different ranking companies. “I think he was making use of HKU’s high rankings to highlight his contributions in these four years, as he has not many achievements to speak of,” Cheung said.

(Wen Wei Po) December 22, 2017.

Peter Mathieson said that he found the faculty of dentistry to be a "very unhappy place with a culture of allegations and counter-allegations being made between staff members." So he worked with dean Fleming to put an end to this "poisonous culture."

With respect to the finances at the HKU hospital in Shenzhen, he said that the project finances and agreements lacked transparency. But he used his medical background and relevant experience in Britain to get to the crux of the matter and then used his leadership to change the reporting structure.

HKU alumnus and Education Convergence chairman Hon Hon-kuen said that it is disappointing to see a departing vice-chancellor divulge past problems: "The subtext is that Matheison wanted to show off his contributions to Hong Kong University." But it is improper for a vice-chancellor to use an exposé method to reveal internal problems, which may pose problems for the current administration and the incoming vice-chancellor Zhang Xiang.

Former Hong Kong University Students Union president Althea Suen said that "Mathieson went overboard to make himself feel good by making up a reporting card so that he can be praised by the HKU staff and students." She said that she was very "resentful." She thought that Mathieson was deliberately denigrating his predecessor Tsui Lai-chi while lifting himself up. She said Mathieson was "very disgusting, leaving me to feel angry and sad."

(Wen Wei Po) January 4, 2018.

The Academic Staff Association of the Hong Kong University conducted a survey of its members on December 18-January 2.

Did Mathieson establish leadership in Hong Kong academia? 88% "disagreed strongly" or "disagreed."

Did Mathieson meet his own standards of accountability? 86% "disagreed strongly" or "disagreed."

Did Mathieson protect whistleblowers inside the university and defend academic integrity? 89% "disagreed strong" or "disagreed."

The Academic Staff Association chairman Cheung Sing-wai characterized Peter Mathieson as the worst ever vice-chancellor at Hong Kong University. By resigning prematurely to get another job, Matheison set a bad example of irresponsibility for the students. Cheung said: "I have been working at Hong Kong University for more than 20 years. He is the worst vice-chancellor that I have seen." Very few HKU vice-chancellor failed to finish their first term. Slightly before three years on the job, Mathieson submitted his resignation to take a job elsewhere.

(Wen Wei Po) January 5, 2018.

The Academic Staff Association of the Hong Kong University sent questionnaires to more than 2,000 academic staff members and obtained about 600 completed questionnaires back. The respondents gave their opinions on Peter Mathieson with respect to leadership ability, defending core values, effective communication with academic staff members, etc.

Did Mathieson deliver "an excellent overall performance" during this term? 81% "disagreed strongly."

Did Mathieson "understand the needs of students and workers and communicate with them effectively"? 80% "disagreed strongly."

Did Mathieson "defend institutional autonomy, freedom of academic research and freedom of speech"? 78% "disagreed strongly."

In the open-ended section, one staff member described Mathieson as "incompetent" with no accomplishments whatsoever to speak of. Another staff member said that "Mathieson is the worst ever vice-chancellor at Hong Kong University" and his premature departure is the "best possible gift" to Hong Kong University.

(Bastille Post) January 4, 2018.

After the incident with the student protestors when Chinese Premier Li Keqiang visited Hong Kong University, then vice-chancellor Tsui Lap-chi had to resign. At the time, the University Council decided on the strategy of hiring a foreigner to be the next vice-chancellor. After all, if your English is not so good, you would be less bold to curse him to his face. That was how Mathieson beat out certain better qualified candidates of Chinese descent.

In retrospect, foreigners such as Peter Mathieson knew nothing about Hong Kong (especially politics), felt no commitment to the place and made no contributions to university operations. As a result, Hong Kong University has paid the price. So they will not be looking for any more foreigners as vice-chancellor in the future.

(SCMP) A turbulent tenure: HKU vice chancellor reflects on his time at the helm of Hong Kong’s oldest university. By Stuart Lau. January 8, 2018.

In his simple, uninviting office overlooking Sai Ying Pun’s old buildings and Victoria Harbour, Peter Mathieson turned his back on the sweeping panoramic view, insisting on a particular sofa seat that faced inward.

“I always sit here. I feel comfortable only by sitting here,” the outgoing University of Hong Kong’s vice chancellor said, unmoved by a photographer’s seating advice.

More discomfiting for Mathieson, due to step down this month, were the challenges he faced when dealing with student leaders, colleagues on HKU’s governing council, government officials and even fellow university vice chancellors.

His legs resting casually on a coffee table, eyes away from the bright afternoon sun, the 58-year-old cast his mind back to the “dark moments” so remarkable and arguably inevitable in his stint of three years and 10 months in a post never meant to be free from the politics coursing through Hong Kong.

“Anyone who pretends that their job is always easy, or there are no disappointing moments, I think, would be kidding themselves,” he told the South China Morning Post.

“Yes, there have been some difficult times, and there have been some dark moments.”

At the heart of some of his most wearying headaches: the governing council, whose members are predominantly named by the government. If the members selected had had a less strong political stance, as was the case in the early years after Hong Kong’s handover in 1997, things could have been easier.

But not long after Mathieson took office, the council came under the leadership of Professor Arthur Li Kwok-cheung, a pro-establishment politician whose words are often divisive. (As Mathieson revealed, Li’s failure to engage him on whether to renew his contract prompted him to take up the offer to become University of Edinburgh’s vice chancellor, while he also considered the recent birth of his grandchild in London and his mother’s ailing health before she died.)

Mathieson’s diminished power was fully exposed in 2015, when the council repeatedly delayed and finally blocked the appointment of liberal-minded law academic Professor Johannes Chan Man-mun for a key management position, turning a deaf ear to Mathieson’s support of the candidacy.

“As you know I haven’t always got my way in the council. That has led to some difficult situations,” Mathieson said. “I’m only one member of the council so I have one vote in the council, so I can’t dominate the council’s decisions.”

Chan, who is Hong Kong’s only honorary senior counsel, was cast by pro-Beijing media as an unpromising dean under whom the law faculty achieved lower academic ratings and became the breeding ground for anti-government thought, including the pro-democracy Occupy movement conceptualised by, among others, law academic Benny Tai Yiu-ting.

But Mathieson showed no regret in backing Chan.

“Before I even started my job here, Johannes was portrayed to me as somebody that I should be thinking about promoting to a senior post. People who later didn’t support him were actively telling me in the early stages that this was somebody I should take notice of and I should meet with.”

The ensuing council meetings degenerated into an unauthorised recording and leaking of supposedly confidential minutes, culminating in students storming into the venue and blocking the way out for the members.

Controversially, Mathieson agreed to call police for help, a decision that alienated his earlier sympathisers. Billy Fung Jing-en, the outspoken student union leader at the time, was arrested and brought to court to face charges of disorderly conduct in a public place, criminal damage and attempted forcible entry. He has since been spared a jail term, instead receiving community service.

In retrospect, though, Mathieson was content with the way the protests were dealt with, adding he would not have handled the incident differently.

In a society treading a fine line between academic freedom and political correctness, trial and error seem job requirements for anyone leading a reputable university in the city.

Mathieson’s stint coincided with a period when Hongkongers voiced unprecedented disapproval over the chief executive’s power to appoint council members.

A three-member expert panel was subsequently set up by the council to review the university’s governance structure in 2016, but the suggestion from two of the experts to strip the chief executive’s power was snubbed. The council later endorsed another proposal from a working group made up of council members to have committees advise the chief executive on such matters, reserving the final say for the city’s top official.

As he prepared to leave Hong Kong, Mathieson refused to be drawn into the debate over whether the city’s leader should continue to act as chancellor of universities, a colonial practice that former chief executive Leung Chun-ying dismissed as ceremonial in nature, prompting unease over politicians’ sway over educational autonomy.

Mathieson’s peers leading the city’s other universities were uncooperative when it came to the controversial topic of Hong Kong independence. He revealed to the Post that he failed to get his way when he was “negotiating” with the vice chancellors of Hong Kong’s other publicly funded universities on whether to tolerate the discussion of “Hong Kong independence”. The topic touches a nerve with Beijing and Hong Kong officials alike, who consider it unconstitutional and secessionist.

With banners calling for an independent Hong Kong appearing on some university campuses, Mathieson and his nine counterparts came under pressure to muster a response. What followed was an ambiguous joint statement in September, decrying “abuses” of freedom of speech on campus on the one hand, and opposing Hong Kong independence on the other.

But the wording in the final text went against his wishes. Colonial privilege, academic freedom and chicken feet: reflections of a British veteran HKU professor

“In my mind we were not condemning discussion of Hong Kong independence,” Mathieson said. “Unfortunately, the way the statement came out, those two things got juxtaposed, and people linked them. But in my head, they were two separate issues.”

What he had wanted to condemn, he said, was “hate speech” as propagated in a banner celebrating the suicide of the son of undersecretary for education Christine Choi Yuk-lin.

When asked why “hate speech” was not categorically condemned in the statement, Mathieson said he had put that phrase in the original draft, before it was crossed out after further negotiations.

“If I’d had my own way, I probably would have issued a slightly longer and a slightly more detailed statement which would have explained the position more clearly, and that might have prevented some of the ambiguity.”

The compromise was made in the interest of the university, Mathieson said, adding: “I felt there was a case for us to make a statement for HKU to be part of the joint statement.”

The setbacks he faced in and out of the university would have been unexpected in October 2014, when Mathieson, barely six months after leaving the University of Bristol as medical dean, was hailed as a hero. During the Occupy protests, he walked into a crowd of tens of thousands of protesters, urging for calm and patience amid rumours of police escalating their use of force.

“Various people said [Chinese University vice chancellor Joseph Sung Jao-yiu and I] may have helped by going there – we may have helped prevent escalation,” Mathieson said. “If that was the case I’d be very happy about that.”

He added he was satisfied that the university came through that period with its principles intact, even though there was “no rule book to consult as to what to do or what to say”.

In his parting message to students and staff, Mathieson planned to hail HKU’s rising global rankings in recent years. He also called it a “very lasting contribution” for new deans to be chosen for seven of the university’s 10 faculties during his tenure, taking pride in the “quality of people we have managed to recruit”.

If anything, his message was a veiled rebuttal to all the humiliating remarks he suffered before starting his HKU position, when veteran professors openly doubted his fitness for the job. He hoped his successor – Professor Zhang Xiang, a mainland-born mechanical engineer at the University of California, Berkeley – would be treated fairly.

“Please just give him a chance,” he said. “I was in that same situation ­– all I wanted was to be given a chance.

“I felt there were some people here who prejudged me without knowing anything about me. And I don’t want them to do that to my successor.”

Already, Zhang has raised eyebrows with his call to obtain funding from mainland authorities, leaving staff and students in doubt about his ability to defend institutional autonomy. Mathieson said it was not unusual for HKU to receive funding from the mainland government.

“I think all universities in Hong Kong are very interested. As you know, most access to mainland research funding has to be done in collaboration with a mainland university or other mainland entity. We have explored how we can benefit from that in the same way as everybody else.”

As political observers noted, the city is set to be subject to even stronger attention or even policy direction from Beijing in the coming few years. How far academic integrity can be preserved is a matter of concern for those in and out of the campuses.

In offering advice to Zhang, Mathieson said: “Decide what you believe in, decide what you want to achieve with the university, and make use of all the fantastic resources that you’ve got, particularly in terms of people and facilities and funding. I said to him, if you want to be a university president, this is a great place to do it.”

For Mathieson, however, his efforts had not proved a source of considerable joy. Asked to name a bright spot during his tenure, he could not identify one.

“I think all of my bright spots for my whole life, and especially for the last four years, were personal and connected with my family,” he said. “To be honest I have had very little relaxation time in Hong Kong. I feel like I’ve worked very hard whilst I was here. It’s a busy job – it’s a seven-day-a-week job – and I’ve always worked hard and I’ve given it every ounce of my energy. And I’ve always tried to do the best.”

(SCMP) Outgoing HKU chief says Beijing officials meet him ‘all the time’ and wishes higher education ‘wasn’t so politicised’ By Stuart Lau and Olga Wong. January 8, 2018.

The outgoing head of the University of Hong Kong has described his tenure as filled with “pressure from everybody”, saying that apart from local officials, he was also given advice “all the time” by Beijing’s liaison office.

In a frank, wide-ranging interview with the South China Morning Post, Professor Peter Mathieson also revealed his premature departure was prompted in part by Professor Arthur Li Kwok-cheung, a pro-establishment politician who also chairs HKU’s governing body.

Li did not discuss the possibility of a second term with him despite, Mathieson claims, his entering “the fourth year of a five-year contract”.

Mathieson, who will take up the post of vice chancellor of the University of Edinburgh, called on Hong Kong’s leading university to continue its international approach, rather than focus solely on ties with mainland China.

Due to step down later this month, Mathieson is leaving at a time when HKU’s global rankings have risen, but with the Hong Kong public harbouring suspicion that officials are interfering in academic affairs.

“I wish higher education was not so politicised,” he said. “I think it would be simpler for people like me if politics wasn’t such a complicating factor.”

Mathieson claimed to have conversations “all the time” with Beijing’s liaison office in the city – an organisation that some in Hong Kong perceive as tending to meddle in local administration.

“All the university leaders have had contact with the liaison office, and the office takes an interest in education in Hong Kong, as in other affairs,” Mathieson said. “I consider that part of my job.”

Other officials who talked to him included Chief Executive Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor, her predecessor Leung Chun-ying, Hong Kong’s education secretaries as well as representatives from the mainland’s Ministry of Education.

He said he felt pressure from “everybody” – politicians across the spectrum, alumni, students, staff and the media.

“They can tell me what they think I should do, but basically I do what I believe to be in the best interest of the university,” he said. “Yes, there has been pressure, but I don’t regard that as unreasonable.”

Mathieson conceded he sometimes held a minority voice on the university’s governing body.

“I haven’t always got my way in the council, and that’s led to some difficult situations.”

He dismissed any “interpersonal difficulties” with council chairman Li, but admitted to feeling uncertain when Li made no effort to discuss what would follow when his contract as HKU vice chancellor was due to expire in 2019.

“I was coming into the fourth year of my five-year contract and … there had been no discussions with the council chairman about whether I would be offered a second contract,” he said. “Facing that uncertainty, when it became clear that Edinburgh was interested in me, I had to decide whether to participate in the contest.

“When the search firm first approached me, my initial reaction was: ‘I don’t need a job. I’ve got a perfectly good job and I’m quite happy here’,” he recalled. “But as time went on, I thought about it a lot ... and it became obvious that I should at least consider it.”

Mathieson argued that while it was important for HKU to seek mainland funding, it was equally important to keep an international profile. He cited his busy schedule meeting academics from “super partners” such as Stanford University and Johns Hopkins University, and also HKU’s dual degree programmes with University College London and Science Po in Paris under his leadership.

“For HKU, we have this great position of being able to work with China but also being able to work with the rest of the world,” he said. “It’s a symbol of international collaboration between similar universities. It’s a sign of respect for each other.”

(RTHK) January 8, 2018.

Based upon Peter Mathieson's description, Education sector legislative councilor Ip Kin-yuen said that the China Liaison Office may be seriously interfering with the universities in Hong Kong. He said that there is no problem with the China Liaison Office or the HKSAR Government communicating with the universities for information purposes. But if they are offering leading opinions, then it would be interfering with the school and taking away their autonomy.

He said that Peter Mathieson should disclose the contents of those conversations and state clearly whether there was interference. The China Liaison Office and the HKSAR Department of Education should also detail those conversations as well as promise not to interfere with the universities. He said that Mathieson should have said so earlier.

(Bastille Post) January 8, 2018.

After the survey results by the Academic Staff Association came out, Peter Mathieson sought out South China Morning Post for another interview to relieve the pressure. Mathieson also revealed his premature departure was prompted in part by Professor Arthur Li Kwok-cheung, a pro-establishment politician who also chairs HKU’s governing body. Li did not discuss the possibility of a second term with him despite, Mathieson claims, his entering “the fourth year of a five-year contract”.

Clearly, Mathieson did not want the negative staff opinions to herald his appearance at the University of Edinburgh.

Wait a minute here! Peter Mathieson showed up at Hong Kong University in April 2014. He announced his resignation on February 2, 2017, which was 2 years 10 months later. He had resigned already, so what does he care if Arthur Li won't offer him a contract by the fourth year?

(Wen Wei Po) January 9, 2018.

The University of Edinburgh was the first to announce that Peter Mathieson will be their new vice-chancellor. How long does it take to hire a university vice-chancellor?

In the case of Hong Kong University, the vacancy for the vice-chancellor position was made known on February 2, 2017. The University Council met on February 28 to form a search committee and then a selection committee. The process was completed on December 15, 2017 when Zhang Xiang was announced to be the 16th Vice-Chancellor. So it took more than 9 months.

In the case of the University of Edinburgh, they began looking for a new vice-chancellor in mid-2016. At the time, Mathieson has only been at Hong Kong University for just over 2 years.

So the timing is all wrong. Somewhere about 2 years 6 months after arriving in Hong Kong, Peter Mathieson hooked up with the University of Edinburgh. But now he blames Arthur Li for not discussing contract renewal almost four years into the job?

(Wen Wei Po) January 10, 2018.

Before making his exit, Peter Mathieson threw dirty water at the China Liaison Office by hinting that the China Liaison Office often applied pressure on him over Hong Kong University matters. But the truth is that the Hong Kong University has a campus, a research institute and a hospital in Shenzhen, and therefore requires the China Liaison Office to mediate between HKU and the various Shenzhen government departments. Mathieson must know that this type of contact is normal and essential. He gave no hints about any likely problems during his whole time here, but tossed out a bomb on his way out.

(Wen Wei Po) Internet comments. January 9, 2018.

- When the university won't extend your contract, it means that your abilities are limited and you failed to do the job. It is better for all concerned that you should leave. So why bring this up?

- Does it mean that the China Liaison Office is not allowed to communicate with the university vice-chancellors?

- Given the results of the Academic Staff Association survey are objective and reliable, it is logical that Mathieson's contract should not be extended.

- It was smart not to extend his contract. He does not do enough to justify his salary.

- Mathieson was the one who abetted the students' law-breaking activities.

- He contradicts himself all the time. A decent worker does not badmouth his ex-employer when he leaves. His ill-considered comments meant that he is unfit to be a vice-chancellor.

(SCMP) HKU council chairman calls Post interview with outgoing vice chancellor Peter Mathieson ‘fake news’. By Su Xinqi. January 10, 2018.

The chairman of the University of Hong Kong’s (HKU) governing body, Arthur Li, on Wednesday repeatedly accused the South China Morning Post of publishing “fake news” in its interview with the institution’s outgoing vice-chancellor, Peter Mathieson.

Li alleged that the article misquoted Mathieson as saying Beijing’s liaison office in the city regularly interfered with his work, even though this was not how the Post reported the university don’s remarks during a recent farewell interview he gave to the paper.

Mathieson was appointed in April 2014 for a five-year term but announced his resignation last year.

In a frank hour-long interview conducted in December [see below for an excerpt of the Q&A], he told the Post that like all university leaders, he had conversations with Beijing’s representative in the city.

He also revealed that he felt pressure from “everybody” – politicians across the spectrum, alumni, students, staff and the media.

However Li, in a live webcast on Wednesday, said he was shocked to read the article, as it “seemed to me that Mathieson had been under pressure from the liaison office all the time but he never told me about those communications”.

Li added that when he quizzed Mathieson about the article, the outgoing vice-chancellor denied saying there was “interference” from the liaison office.

During the interview, hosted by former lawmaker Emily Lau Wai-hing and with reporters from the city’s media organisations present, Li took out his mobile phone and read out his exchange of text messages with Mathieson.

“Peter, you didn’t tell me that there were interferences from the liaison office. Please elaborate and clarify for me. [From] Arthur,” Li said.

He continued: “Peter said ‘SCMP typically misquoted me. They asked if I was put under pressure. And I said, all the time. They asked if the liaison office talked to me. And I said yes. They then conflated the two. I never called it interference. I talked about advice.’”

However, the two articles featuring Mathieson’s comments and published in the Post on January 8 neither carried the word “interference” nor at any point conflated the pressure Mathieson claimed he faced with interference from Beijing.

According to the audio recording of the interview reviewed by the Post again on Wednesday, Mathieson’s response to the question on whether he had contact with the liaison office was: “Oh yes, several times. That’s part of my job. All the university leaders have had contact with the liaison office. And the liaison office takes an interest in education in Hong Kong, in the same way as it does in other affairs. I consider that as part of my job. If there is a meeting that involves political officials that I’m invited [to], then I usually go and try to contribute.”

The original article had incorrectly reported Mathieson as saying he had conversations “all the time” with the liaison office.

The question was a follow up to Mathieson’s admission that he had received advice from senior government officials in the city.

He had said: “Yes I’ve talked to senior officials. I’ve talked to chief executive, both chief executives that I’ve worked with, education secretaries, UGC [University Grants Committee], the liaison office, the Ministry of Education in Beijing, the various press offices and all sorts of people, I have all sorts of discussion and that’s my job.”

But during Wednesday’s studio session, Li, a member of Chief Executive Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor’s Cabinet, acknowledged a reporter from the Post in the audience and said: “The article made me feel that the liaison office was interfering in our university. You wrote the article in that way. That is why I called it fake news.”

He repeated the term “fake news” nine times in both Cantonese and English during his one-hour session in the studio.

The Post has contacted Mathieson for his response but has yet to hear from him.

On the webcast, Li also disputed Mathieson’s claim that he considered another job after Li did not begin a discussion with him on the possibility of a second term, despite him “coming into the fourth year of [a] five-year contract”.

Instead, Li claimed Mathieson had requested an extension in 2016, when he was “a bit into his second year” at HKU, but it was a university “rule and convention” to discuss such matters only after the vice-chancellor had completed at least three of the five contracted years.

To Lau’s question on whether he had intended to renew Mathieson’s contract, Li merely said: “It is difficult to remove a university head unless he made a huge mistake. Mathieson was doing not bad. He put in much effort, especially on international affairs. I think most people would agree to renew his contract. We only needed to have a longer period of his performance on the post for review to make the decision.”

Mathieson, 58, will become Edinburgh University’s principal and vice-chancellor next month. He told the Post that several factors made him respond to Edinburgh University’s interest in him – Li’s failure to engage him on a possible contract renewal, his mother’s ailing health before she died and the recent birth of his grandchild in London.

The incoming vice-chancellor of HKU is Professor Zhang Xiang, a mainland-born mechanical engineering expert at the University of California, Berkeley in the United States.

Peter Mathieson on the pressures he faced at HKU

On December 18 last year, outgoing HKU vice chancellor Peter Mathieson gave an hour-long interview to the South China Morning Post where he spoke of the highs and lows of his tenure, which began in April 2014. Two articles based on the interview were published on January 8. Here is an excerpt of the Q&A where he talks about the politicisation of higher education and the pressures he faced at HKU.

Q: Of course it has become such an overpoliticised issue of who to appoint as vice chancellor, and what he should do, how he should behave. Would you be able to tell us a little bit more about how you feel [about] this kind of overpoliticisation or whether it’s good for Hong Kong’s academic development?

A: I’ve spoken and written about this publicly, I wish education and in particular higher education was not so politicised because I think there is a place for politics in the university, but it shouldn’t ever get in the way of the university dealing with its core mission, delivering excellence in teaching, research and knowledge exchange. That’s our job and politics is ever present and it’s not just in Hong Kong. There is a bit of a tendency in Hong Kong sometimes to think that some of these phenomena are only happening in Hong Kong, but actually higher education is being politicised all over the world and you got any number of examples of that. So I think it would be simpler for people like me if politics wasn’t such a complicating factor, but we also have to be realistic. We live in a very politicised world, and Hong Kong is a very politicised place and everything in Hong Kong is politicised, so to have the idea that you could exist in some sort of vacuum where you don’t have to take any notice of the political context I think would be unrealistic. I do think that people like me – I’m a kidney doctor, medical researcher and teacher by background. I’m not trained to be a media expert, I’m not trained to be a politician, and I’ve had to learn and do things that I’ve probably never expected as a university leader. But again I don’t think it’s only true in Hong Kong. I think you’ve seen this happening with the universities all over the world, so we have to recognise that that’s the reality, and we have to try and take advice where we can get advice. We have to stick to our principles, we have to try and do whatever we think is best for the university and for the society and I’ve always tried to do that.

Q: There is a very fine line between politicians expressing their views on academic affairs and actually interfering in academic affairs. In your time here at HKU was there any moment that you felt [you were] subject to some kind of interference either directly or indirectly?

A: People say to me, have I been put under pressure? My answer is yes. I’m put under pressure by everybody. So I’ve been put under pressure by politicians all the way across the political spectrum. I’ve been put under pressure by staff, by alumni, by students, by media, by everybody. My job is to soak up pressure and to make sure that I always do what is in the best interest of the university. Yes, there have been pressures, but I don’t regard that as unreasonable. My job is to lead the organisation the best I can. If people want to give me their opinions, if people want to tell me what they think I should do, they are very welcome to, but it doesn’t mean I [am] necessarily going to agree with them. But obviously I will listen to people’s opinions and together with my team I will do whatever is in the best interest of the university.

Q: Back to political interference in academic affairs, are you saying you have not encountered any such incidents?

A: I did not say that. I told you everybody puts me under pressure. I’ve encountered all sorts of statements or advice or comments by various people about all sorts of the aspects of the university, including sometimes the most mundane aspects of the university … members of the public write to me, people stop me on the street ... even taxi drivers giving me advice on how to run the university. So I get advice from everybody and that’s my job.

Q: But any advice from senior officials?

A: Yes I’ve talked to senior officials. I’ve talked to chief executive, both chief executives that I’ve worked with, education secretaries, UGC [University Grants Committee], the liaison office, the Ministry of Education in Beijing, the various press offices and all sorts of people, I have all sorts of discussion and that’s my job.

Q: But you don’t regard that as academic interference?

A: No. Because they can tell me what they think I should do but basically I do what I believe to be in the best interest of the university.

Q: So you actually had contact with the Liaison Office?

A: Oh yes, several times. That’s part of my job. All the university leaders have had contact with the liaison office. And the liaison office takes an interest in education in Hong Kong, in the same way as it does in other affairs. I consider that as part of my job. If there is a meeting that involves political officials that I’m invited [to], then I usually go and try to contribute.

(Ming Pao) January 11, 2018.

HKU Academic Staff Association chairman Cheung Sing-wai said that he was shocked by the revelation that Arthur Li communicates with the China Liaison Office. This proves that Hong Kong University has regular communication with the China Liaison Office over a long period of time. Cheung said that Hong Kong University is subsidized by the Hong Kong Government and not by Beijing, so it is "completely unnecessary" to "report" to the China Liaison Office.

(Education18.com) 71 out of 450 secondary school principals responded to a mailed survey in May-June 2017.

Q1. On a scale of 0-10, please evaluate the overall performance of each university after taking into consideration its local and international reputation, facilities and campus environment, qualification of its teaching staff, academic research performance, conduct and quality of students as well as its learning atmosphere, diversification and level of recognition of its courses, with 0 representing the worst, 10 representing the best and 5 being half-half. (Average scores reported)

8.27: Chinese University of Hong Kong
8.00: University of Science and Technology
7.89: Hong Kong University
6.94: Polytechnic Universtiy
6.74: City University
6.45: Hong Kong Baptist University
6.34: Education University of Hong Kong
5.51: Lingnan University
5.32: Hong Kong Shue Yan University
5.16: Open University of Hong Kong

In 2008, HKU was first at 8.49, CUHK second at 8.38 and HKUST third at 7.69. This year, HKU has clinched third place this year. Cheers for the magnificent leadership of Peter Mathieson.

(Wen Wei Po) According to a HKU-POP poll of the general public, the top three Hong Kong universities are University of Science and Technology, Chinese University of Hong Kong and Hong Kong University. According to a HKU-POP of university graduates, University of Science and Technology is first, Chinese University of Hong Kong is second and Hong Kong University is fourth.

Q4. Why do you think are the qualities which most Hong Kong university students lack?

62.0%: Work attitude
59.2%: Commitment to society
52.1%: Social-interpersonal skills
50.7%: Conduct honesty
42.3%: Global prospect/foresight
36.6%: Emotional stability
31.0%: Critical thinking and problem-solving ability
23.9%: Communication skills
23.9%: Job opportunity
22.5%: Proficiency in Chinese, English and Putonghua
16.9%: Social/work experience
16.9%: Creativity
12.7%: Academic and professional knowledge
11.3%: Financial management
  9.9%: Self-confidence
  7.0%: Others

(Hong Kong Free Press) Maligned, befuddled and misunderstood: HKU’s Peter Mathieson exits just how he entered. By Kent Ewing. January 15, 2018.

Outgoing University of Hong Kong Vice Chancellor Peter Mathieson appears to be leaving the city pretty much the way he came in—maligned, befuddled and misunderstood. His troubled, abbreviated tenure as head of Hong Kong’s oldest and most prestigious university can only be described as a failure during which HKU’s standing and reputation have been diminished.

The fact is, however, the accomplished, previously much-honoured English nephrologist never stood a chance in the shark-infested waters of Hong Kong. He was simply eaten up by the city’s polarised politics—at which, even now, as he prepares to depart this month less than four years after he assumed his post in April of 2014, he remains a hapless ingenue.

The biggest shark, of course, was HKU governing council chair Arthur Li Kwok-cheung—aka “King Arthur” and “The Tsar” for his domineering personality and autocratic leadership style—who outmanoeuvred and undermined Mathieson at every turn. This relationship was a one-sided mismatch from the get-go.

The 58-year-old Mathieson, formerly dean of the faculty of medicine and dentistry at the University of Bristol, came into his HKU post as a mild-mannered academic with a liberal democratic political worldview and little knowledge of the inner workings of Hong Kong. Li, on the other hand—although, like Mathieson, a Cambridge University-educated doctor of medicine—is the scion of a prominent Hong Kong banking family steeped in the city’s power politics both prior to and following the 1997 handover from British to Chinese sovereignty.

Li, 72, grandson of Bank of East Asia founder Li Koon-chun, has been hobnobbing with Hong Kong’s political and business elite for decades. He currently sits on the chief executive’s Executive Council and during his time as vice chancellor of Chinese University (1996-2002) and secretary for education (2002-2007) built a reputation for an imperial management style that often flattened opponents and left underlings cowed and dispirited.

While technically Mathieson, as HKU president, was not an underling, that is certainly how he was treated by Li on the governing council. The most vivid example of this occurred when, on September 29, 2015, the council voted to reject the appointment of Johannes Chan Man-mun as pro-vice chancellor after Chan, who served admirably as dean of the faculty of law from 2002 to 2014, had been unanimously recommended by a selection committee headed by Mathieson.

During the prolonged Chan controversy, Li acted as the council’s hatchet man for the central government’s liaison office and then Chief Executive Leung Cheung-yun, who had appointed Li council chair for situations precisely of this nature. The powers that be in Beijing did not want anyone like Chan—a prominent human rights and pro-democracy advocate who had supported the student-led, 79-day Occupy movement in 2014—to assume such a prominent position at Hong Kong’s best-known university.

Thus, aided by a concerted anti-Chan campaign in pro-Beijing media outlets such as Wen Wei Po and Ta Kung Pao, Leung and Li went to work behind the scenes.

After much wrangling, rowdy student protests and repeated delays, a secret council ballot was taken, and Chan was voted down, 12-8.

Mathieson—who, along with then CUHK Vice Chancellor Professor Joseph Sung Jao-yiu, had won cheers and applause from student protesters when he stepped into the streets during the Occupy campaign to urge them to eschew violence as they exercised their right to free speech—never regained his authority following the Chan fiasco.

In the end, he wound up speaking out of both sides of his mouth, expressing respect for Li and council decisions while at the same time claiming to uphold the interests of faculty and students who felt their university’s institutional autonomy had been compromised and academic freedom put under threat.

In the ensuing years, the rising support for Hong Kong independence on university campuses clearly bewildered Mathieson. His liberal inclination to support freedom of speech conflicted with the central government’s pronounced “red line” against advocacy of independence.

Under pressure from all sides, he agreed last September to sign an ambiguously worded joint statement issued by 10 Hong Kong universities condemning “recent abuses” of freedom of expression while opposing “Hong Kong independence, which contravenes the Basic Law.”

In an extensive interview with the South China Morning Post published last week, Mathieson said that he signed on to the statement to avoid isolating HKU even though he disagreed with its wording, which he thought wrongfully conflated abuses of free speech with discussion of Hong Kong as an independent city-state.

In the SCMP interview, Mathieson also stated that he had intended to stay on at HKU but became discouraged when, approaching the fourth year of his five-year contract, Li had not mentioned the possibility of renewal to him. So when the University of Edinburgh came calling, he jumped at the opportunity to be vice chancellor there, albeit at a lower salary than he earned at HKU.

If Mathieson had hoped to escape all the maddening pressures of his job in Hong Kong as he transitions to Scotland, he was sadly mistaken. Indeed, his checkered HKU legacy has preceded him to Edinburgh and is already fodder for British media and no doubt a hot topic of discussion among faculty and students at his new place of employment.

The exceptionally poor ratings Mathieson received in a HKU Academic Staff Association survey conducted in December through early January drew particular attention in The Guardian. In that survey, 78 per cent of the respondents did not feel Mathieson had “effectively protected academic freedom” while 80 per cent said he did not understand “the needs of the students and the staff.”

In Mathieson’s defence, only 609 of the 2,060-member staff responded to the survey, but nevertheless the results are damning and surely raise alarms in Edinburgh prior to his arrival.

Mathieson may also have hoped that he could leave town after finally, via the SCMP interview, getting the last word in his fraught relationship with Li, but he should have known King Arthur would never let that happen. Appearing on an Internet radio show hosted by former Democratic Party chairwoman Emily Lau Wai-hing last week, Li dismissed the SCMP interview as “fake news” and read out text messages he had received from Mathieson saying the Post reporter had misquoted him about political pressures, including calls from the liaison office, that he was under as HKU chief.

The SCMP later corrected a sentence in the article stating that Mathieson was offered advice by the liaison office “all the time” to read “several times,” but that correction did not alter the overall impression given by the article of a vice chancellor under siege from the beginning to the end of his time at HKU.

“I wish higher education was not so politicised,” Mathieson told the reporter at one point. “I think it would be simpler for people like me if politics wasn’t such a complicating factor.”

Will things be any different for HKU’s incoming vice chancellor, Zhang Xiang, a mainland-born naturalised American citizen who created the world’s first “invisibility cloak” as a professor of mechanical engineering at the University of California at Berkley?

Like Mathieson in the immediate aftermath of his appointment, Zhang, 54, has come under attack for the scant knowledge of the city and its politics that he displayed during his December visit. He was also very cautious, if not downright dodgy, in his answers to media questions about threats to HKU’s institutional autonomy and academic freedom.

With many observers worried that Hong Kong itself is gradually losing the autonomy it was promised under the “one country, two systems” agreement determined at handover, Zhang’s mainland background and academic connections are an additional source of concern.

Daggers are already out among the staff association and student body, so Zhang should expect no honeymoon period and will require a steep learning curve to navigate the increasingly politicised world of Hong Kong’s universities.

And, of course, King Arthur aims to be his guiding light.

(SCMP) Let's bid good riddance to Peter Mathieson. By Alex Lo. January 12, 2018.

Arthur Li Kwok-cheung is barking up the wrong tree. His beef should be with his departing colleague Peter Mathieson, not this newspaper. Mathieson, the outgoing University of Hong Kong chief, has often tried to have it both ways. Now that he has prematurely resigned from HKU to take up the top job at the University of Edinburgh in Scotland, he has hinted that he was being squeezed out by Professor Li, chairman of the HKU’s governing council.

In a controversial interview with the Post, he said Li did not discuss renewing his contract after it had entered the fourth year of a five-year term. That was why when Edinburgh came calling, he jumped at the chance. Whatever the truth, Li should be pretty upset to hear such a public claim from Mathieson. But who cares! Professor Mathieson is clearly less than fully committed to HKU or our city, though he has claimed otherwise. His departure is not to be regretted.

He said Beijing’s liaison office in Hong Kong had contacted him “several times”, as did local government officials and politicians of all stripes. “Basically, I do what I believe to be in the best interest of the university,” Mathieson said.

I think it was this claim about the liaison office that upset Li and led him to accuse the Post of reporting “fake news”. Li read it as claiming that Beijing was interfering in HKU affairs. But the report made no such claim, though Ip Kin-yuen, the troublesome pan-democrat lawmaker for education, did try to fan the flames and called on Mathieson to spill the beans.

But Mathieson wasn’t trying to be a whistle-blower. He has been under criticism, though, from the yellow-ribbon media and Academic Staff Association at HKU for supposedly failing to stand up for free speech by joining the heads of nine other universities in a joint statement stating “freedom of expression is not absolute” and describing calls for Hong Kong independence on campuses as “abuses”.

I thought it was rather brave of the university chiefs, even though Mathieson’s action had been reported by anti-China British newspapers like The Guardian in less than flattering terms. In an interview with The Scotsman, he had tried to play down his involvement and claimed he signed the joint statement to avoid “isolation”.

Whatever, professor! We hope you do better in Scotland than you did in Hong Kong.

(Hong Kong Free Press) January 8, 2018.

No candidates have applied to run in the cabinet elections for the Hong Kong University Student Union. It may become leaderless for the first time in eight years. The nomination period expired in December with no candidates vying to run for any posts in the 14-member central committee. Nominations were then re-opened in accordance with union regulations, but the deadline passed on Friday, again with no candidates.

In recent years, the union has been led by student activists such as Yvonne Leung, a leader during the Umbrella Movement, and Billy Fung, who was sentenced to community service over protests against university council governance.

Incumbent union president Wong Ching-tak told HK01 that few people are willing to stand in the elections because the union is at the forefront of social movements, and leaders could get arrested: “Not everyone is willing to stand at the front.” He added that the recent Department of Justice appeal to lengthen the sentences of Northeast New Territories and Umbrella Movement protesters discouraged students from joining social movements and becoming involved in student affairs.

(SCMP) No candidates for HKU student union leadership as fear of political repercussions cited. The nomination deadline was extended once but still no one applied. January 8, 2018.

For the first time since 2010, the University of Hong Kong’s student union could be left without an executive committee, with some believing a fear of political repercussions has chilled participation.

Student magazine Undergrad announced on its website on Saturday that no nominations were received for the union’s 14 executive positions, including that of president, when the deadline passed at noon Friday. The nomination deadline was extended once, from December 27, after no one applied for the posts.

Current president Ed Wong Ching-tak has said he will continue to serve in the role in an acting capacity until April, when the body will hold another election to try to form an executive committee team. But he said he would need to step down by April even if no one submitted a nomination in order to focus on his studies, which he had taken a year off from.

If no executive committee was formed by April, the union’s council would appoint members to various posts, he said. Two to three students had expressed a willingness to help out.

Wong believed the general lack of interest could stem from students not feeling prepared to face political consequences, with the union taking part in many political activities and “many discouraged by the oppression they faced”. Union executives usually step down by February each year as new members are elected during the union’s annual election.

Mak Tung-wing, union president in 1987, believed the recent court convictions of student leaders could be deterring people from running for the executive committee.

“When you’re a student union leader, it’s expected that you’ll take a critical political stance,” he said.

With the unions increasingly involved in local political movements, including the 79-day pro-democracy Occupy protests of 2014 and Hong Kong independence advocacy in 2016 and 2017, student leaders have been thrust into the spotlight and come under criticism.

Last August, high-profile activists Joshua Wong Chi-fung, Nathan Law Kwun-chung and Alex Chow Yong-kang – a former external vice-president of HKU’s student union – were jailed for between six and eight months for their actions in the Occupy movement.

After a few months in custody, the three were freed, pending appeals to the city’s top court over their jail terms.

In September, former HKU student union president Billy Fung Jing-en was handed a community service sentence of 240 hours for leading hundreds of students in besieging a university governing council meeting in 2016. They were pressing for an immediate review of the institution’s governance structure, which they believed was vulnerable to political interference.

Mak recalled that nobody ran for executive posts at the HKU body in 1988 when his team was slated to step down. He said he also had to serve as acting president beyond his term until a committee appointed four members to take up executive posts.

According to Undergrad, a similar situation transpired in 2010 when the only cabinet running for the leadership comprised eight members and they failed to obtain a majority vote of confidence. That resulted in the union council appointing students to several posts.

If you believe in so much as 10% of what Undergrad reports, both your eyes will go blind! Here is what really happened:

(Line Post) January 9, 2018.

The fact of the matter was that there were six applicants before the deadline of noon on January 5, 2018. Shortly afterwards, Undergrad rushed out to announce that there were no applicants.

All the media reports on January 6, 2018 were based upon what Undergrad reported. For example, HK01 said: "According to Hong Kong University Students' Union publication Undergrad's website, the nomination period for the election ended on January 27, 2017. However, 14 executive positions had no nominations, so the nomination period had to be extended until yesterday. But still nobody applied."

Here is another media report:

Eight years later, the Hong Kong University Students' Union once again won't have a cabinet. After the nomination period ended yesterday for the new elections, 14 executive committee positions had no nominations. HKU Students' Union president Ed Wong Ching-tak said that he will stay in the position until April, but he is afraid that he won't be able to do so for the rest of the year.

Here are the facts:

1. The extended nomination period was supposed to end at noon on January 5, 2018. At around 11am, six students were down at the office to submit their nominations. The two mainland students who were in front of the queue did not have all their documents. So the Students' Union staff had to make some calls to get instructions about how to handle their nominations. In the end, the two nominations were rejected and the two mainlanders were told to go back and fetch the missing documents. Meanwhile, there were four Hong Kong students still waiting. The workers told them their nominations will be processed. The fastest of the four Hong Kong students finished the processing at 12:05, which was after the deadline. Nevertheless these four students were given the "Receipt of Nomination Form for Annual Election 2018" to indicate that their forms have been filled in appropriately and the documentation is complete.

2. By that time that the two mainlanders came back, the nomination period had expired and their nominations were rejected. At 3am on January 6, 2018, the four Hong Kong students received emails from the Annual Election Commission to the effect that they have been disqualified because their nominations came in late and that there were mistakes in the way that their forms were filled out.

3. In the past, the time of nomination is the moment when the applicant entered the office, so that the applicants are not prejudiced because of the presence of a long waiting line or other complications. At the time, the Students' Union staff told these applicants that their nominations will be accepted because they had entered the office ahead of the deadline. Furthermore, the workers gave them each a "Receipt of Nomination Form for Annual Election 2018." Nevertheless, the Students' Union went back on its promises and disqualified the applicants.

4. When the Students Union staff issued the "Receipts," it means that they have confirmed that there were no technical problems in the applications and that the nominations were accepted. They should not be disqualifying people on the basis of minor technical issues detected afterwards. At a minimum, the Annual Election Commission should be consulting with the applicants instead of issuing a unilateral and uncontestable verdict of disqualification.

5. As for the technical flaws, one applicant was disqualified because the form was not filled out in BLOCK LETTERS in accordance with the requirement. Instead the student used both capital and small letters. When the student filled out the title of the nominated post, he/she would flip to the back of the nomination form where the titles of the posts are listed and copy the title over. Guess what? The titles are not written in BLOCK LETTERS! So if you copied it word for word, you will be disqualified!

Regardless of procedural justice, even more problematic are the announcements:

1. At 3am on January 6, the Election Commission sent emails to the four Hong Kong students that they have been disqualified. At 635am on January 6, the Hong Kong University Students Union publication Undergrad announced that there won't be a cabinet next year. But Undergrad chose to gloss over the fact that there had been applicants for the executive posts on January 5.

2. In the past, major news from the Students' Union is usually reported first by Campus TV with additional commentary from Undergrad. In this case, Undergrad usurped the role of Campus TV with a breaking story at 635am while ignoring to report that there had been several disqualified applicants. After reading the Undergrad report, the four applicants were duly disheartened by their "disappearances."

3. This leads to the question as to whether even more applicants had been disqualified for whatever reasons.

At 5pm on January 7, 2018, the four applicants sent letters of complaints by email to Annual Election Commission 2018 chairman Michael Fung Kei-lap and members of the Students' Union Council.

How did the Hong Kong University Students' Union handle the complaint? At 635pm on January 7, its publication Undergrad published the letter and listed the name of one student (Hua Sulin) and the respective department.

At 11pm on January 7, Campus TV published the names/departments of all four students.

Every HKU student becomes a member of the HKU SU automatically, with the rights to vote as well as be elected. They have the right to complain. The HKU SU has the responsibility to safeguard these rights. The HKU SU should be handling the complaint in accordance with the procedure which includes the Students' Union Council hearing testimonies at the January 16 meeting.

- Ughhh! How did Alex Chan Ho Man get accepted by Hong Kong University?

Before the process is complete, the HKU SU should protect privacy and maintain silence. Instead, the HKU SU has published their names/departments and thus create public pressure against them. This is reckless and irresponsible.

Why did the HKU SU do this? There may be political reasons, or there may be technical issues, or there may be individual misconduct. At this time, we don't know yet. If they are doing this over technical reasons, then this HKU SU is acting like an unresponsive bureaucracy. If there is misconduct, then the HKU SU must explain how it happened and apologized to the four students as well as the student body as a whole.

Internet comments:

- Hong Kong University is a bastion for the cause of Hong Kong independence, with Undergrad as the outlet for theory and praxis. Therefore the HKU SU and its media outlets cannot be allowed to be taken over by the minions of the China Liaison Office.

In recent years, famous HKU SU presidents included Yvonne Leung Lai-kwok who was one of the student leaders of Occupy Central. She was all set to be arrested until law school exams intervened.

Yvonne Leung was succeeded by Billy Fung Jing-en, who led the siege of the university council. Fung was sentenced to 240 hours of community service for threatening to kill university council chairman Arthur Li Kwok-cheung, criminal trespassing and criminal destruction of property.

Billy Fung was succeeded by Althea Suen, who began her term with an avowal for the cause of Hong Kong independence. During Suen's term, nothing happened with Hong Kong independence at HKU SU.

Althea Suen was succeeded by Ed Wong Ching-tak, who began his term with an avowal for the cause of Hong Kong independence. He promised to take a year off in order to devote all his time to the HKU SU. During Wong's term, nothing happened with Hong Kong independence at the HKU SU.

For the year 2018, there are no candidates for HKU SU president. Ed Wong will continue serving as president until April 2018, when he wants to resume his studies. If there is no pro-independence president, then HKU SU is better off headless.

- The HKU SU will not become headless. A president will be appointed by the Students' Union Council. As long as the virtually faceless council is loaded with pro-independence warriors, the appointed president will still be pro-independence.

- The HKU SU elections would be less controversial if the election rules are made more explicit with a "No Mainlanders or Dogs Allowed" sign (see No Chinese or Dogs Allowed).

The reasoning was made very clear in the Case of Eugenia Yip. Yip was a mainland HKU student running for the post of social secretary. The fact that she is from the mainland means that she is a member of the Communist Youth League/Communist Party and that means she cannot be allowed to take up any position in any organization in Hong Kong. As social secretary, she may turn the Students Union-sponsored parties into brainwashing sessions. Or something.

- I am very curious as to what the missing documents were for the two disqualified mainland students.

- Undergrad reported that the name of one of the four students was Hua Sulin. That is a pinyin spelling, which means that the student is either a mainland student or else a Hongkonger who was born in mainland China. As such, a reason had to be found by any means to disqualify him/her/it.

- (Hong Kong Economic Times) By Chris Wat Wing-yin. January 16, 2018.

My friend is an exchange student from Taiwan. He went into a convenience store to buy something the other day. As he was leaving, he heard the worker whisper: "Another mainlander ..." My friend understands Cantonese. He could not help turning around to say: "Actually, I am Taiwanese."

Around the world, putonghua is becoming more and more popular. Young people are learning to speak "bo po mo fo". In South America and Africa, Chinese is listed as the second language taught in school ahead of English. But in Hong Kong today, putonghua is a virus language. If you speak putonghua, you will be brainwashed! So anyone who speaks putonghua is a Black Five Type who is a member of the Chinese Communist Party/Communist Youth League.

This type of attitude is arguably plausible before 1997. But this is 20 years after the handover, and we are still wary of people who speak putonghua or have "red backgrounds." This is political censorship, this is political oppression, this is discrimination.

Recently the Hong Kong University Elections Committee announced that there are no nominees for the student cabinet posts. Everybody is saying that the HKU Student Union has done things that alienate the students such that nobody wants anything to do with it.

In truth, there are at least six candidates. Two of them are mainland students. Three of them come from 'patriotic' schools; they are new immigrants and do not speak fluent Cantonese. So these labels caused them to lose their right to be elected. They handed in their forms, but they were disqualified and excised from the records.

I attended a 'patriotic school." The Black Five Types label has stuck on me and continue to stick on the many generations of our kind.

When I was in secondary school, I wanted to be a police officer. My teacher told me: "Don't even think about it! Nobody from this school has ever managed to join the Disciplinary Services or the public service."

I refuse to accept fate. After I graduated, I applied to become a police inspector. One year. Two years. I was never accepted. At the time, the economy was booming and no university student was interested in the "blue collar"-type of work in the police force. Basically, the police was taking in any physically capable university graduate. My extracurricular activities included basketball, table tennis, swimming and dancing. It was clear that I was rejected because of my "red background."

Several decades later, Hong Kong has been handed back to China but having a "red background" is still a sin.

- (Wen Wei Po) January 17, 2018.

At the meeting of the HKU Student Union Council, union president Wong Ching-tak admitted that he witnessed the four students submitting the application at 1150am. But he said that when the student unions staff finished confirming the information, it was after 12 noon. Therefore Wong insisted that the applicants were 'late.'

Undergrad editor-in-chief Tse Hiu-sing said that the personal information of cabinet candidates is disclosed to the general membership. Those four students were not cabinet candidates because they were disqualified. Nevertheless their names and departments were published without their permission. Tse said that Undergrad obtained the information through "legal channels" and they published the information to defend "the public's right to know." He said that it was a "huge achievement" to not publish their personal telephone numbers and student ID numbers.

- (Hong Kong Free Press) January 17, 2018.

The governing council of the University of Hong Kong Student Union has ruled that it will not accept the nomination forms for four students to run for office, as their information was submitted incorrectly and late. The team did not directly answer questions about connections the applicants allegedly have with Beijing officials in Hong Kong.

Hua Sulin, one of the team of four applicants, said that they submitted their form to stand in the union elections before the deadline. It was accepted by a staff member at the student union office. However, when the process was complete, it was already ten minutes past the deadline. They also did not write down the positions they were running for in block letters as required.

After they were disqualified, they filed a complaint with the student union council. But Michael Fung, chair of the annual election commission, said at a council meeting: “There were no political considerations.”

Former student union chief Althea Suen said any error on the form would make it invalid. She said students should have enough time to fix the mistakes before submission and bear the risks of submitting in the final moments before the deadline.

The four students refused to attend the council meeting on Tuesday night, but Hua and another member – Huang Zhiyi Daniel – held a press conference in the afternoon. The pair responded to three questions during the 25-minute press conference and refused to answer more questions owing to “time constraints.”

When asked if they have connections to the China Liaison Office in Hong Kong, Hua said: “I don’t know where this information of connections with the Liaison Office came from.” She said that they were running for students’ welfare.

Hua also criticised HKU Campus TV and Undergrad student magazine for releasing her team’s names without authorisation. Huang said Undergrad was “fake news,” claiming it falsely reported that no candidates had applied to run in the cabinet elections.

Hua was asked why she hosted the press conference if she was afraid of her information being released. She refused to answer citing time constraints.

The president of Campus TV and the chief editor of Undergrad both said their information could be obtained from public information released by the council and the election commission. The outlets did not release their student numbers, emails or phone numbers, they said.

Both Hua and Huang studied at the pro-Beijing Heung To Middle School. Hua joined the Military Summer Camp For Hong Kong Youth in 2014 which was co-organised by the Education Bureau and the People’s Liberation Army Garrison in Hong Kong.

- The fact that Hua Sulin was in the Military Summer Camp For Hong Kong Youth automatically disbars her from joining the HKU SU cabinet, or running for district/legislative councilor posts, or any public service job, or teaching at all levels from kindergarten to university. She should go back to her own kind in mainland China. We the people of Hong Kong don't want her here.

Statement of the Hong Kong Bar Association in Response to Personal Attacks on Magistrate (2018.01.06)

The recent conviction and sentencing of a former police superintendent has aroused much public attention.

There are reports of personal and insulting attacks (and worse still with racial overtones) made against the Magistrate concerned.

We repeat what we stated in our statement dated 20th February 2017 which arose out of sentencing of seven policemen arising from the Occupy Central incident.

Whilst everyone enjoys freedom of expression and may comment on any judicial decision or ruling, personal attacks against the court or the judicial officer concerned, as in this case against the Magistrate with insulting and racist or xenophobic words and actions, undermine the respect for the court, and the due process of the law and the course of justice, which should be shown by members of the public in a society that abides by the Rule of Law.

Such conduct may even constitute contempt of court. The Hong Kong Bar Association strongly condemns such conduct, and invites the relevant authorities to take swift action to deal with such serious and offensive conduct.

Internet comments:

Statement of the Hong Kong Bar Association in Response to Personal Attacks on Judge (2017.02.20)

A recent judgment in a criminal case concerning seven policemen has caused much public attention. Whilst everyone enjoys freedom of expression and may comment on the judgment, personal attacks against the Judge with insulting and threatening words and actions are of no assistance to any rational discussion, but undermine the respect for the court which should be shown by members of the public in a society that abides by the Rule of Law. Such conduct may even constitute contempt of court. The Hong Kong Bar Association condemns such conduct, and urges people with different views to express them in a manner conducive to rational debate.

- Relevant links:

#675 Martyrs of the Umbrella Counter-Revolution - Part 1 (Seven Evil Cops) (2017/02/16) This is the case that the HKBA statement of February 20, 2017 refers to. This is great reading on the history of the crime of "scandalising the judiciary."

#818 Martyrs of the Umbrella Counter-Revolution - Part 2 (The Case of Frankly Chu King-wai) (2017/11/07) This is the case that the HKBA statement of January 6, 2018 refers to.

- I don't object to punishing those who insult judges/magistrates. But I want to see rule-of-law and not rule-of-man.

Here are some other well-known cases:

2015.07.30: At the sentencing of five Restore Yuen Long defendants, their supporters chanted that the dog judge was shameful. The judge said that he had been threatened.

2016.10.25: After Raymond Wong was found guilty of throwing the glass cup at Chief Executive CY Leung, he called the judge "a dog judge from the top of his head to the bottom of his feet." His supporters wished death upon the judge's entire family.

2017.08.15: The 13 defendants of the New Territories East development protests were re-sentenced. Some supported cursed the judges as "dog judges."

2017.08.17: The 3 students who led the charge into Government Headquarters were re-sentenced. Some supporters cursed the judges as "dog judges" and "may all t heir family members be paralyzed from the waist down."

Why haven't these people been prosecuted under the same laws?

- How come the Hong Kong Bar Association has nothing to say about these other cases? Why are these not an existential threat to the Hong Kong judiciary?

- If you ask the HKBA, they will say that they are not aware of the specifics of the case and therefore they cannot comment. Then they will make sure that they never ever learn about the specifics of the case and therefore they won't ever have to comment.

- (SCMP) Bar association condemns insults directed at non-Chinese judge in Hong Kong who jailed senior policeman. January 7, 2018.

The Hong Kong Bar Association slammed recent personal attacks on the non-Chinese ethnicity of a magistrate who jailed a retired senior police officer for three months for attacking a bystander at a 2014 protest, urging authorities to take swift action. Releasing a statement on Saturday, the association said it had documented insulting, racist or xenophobic words and actions directed at Indian-born principal magistrate Bina Chainrai. Educated in Hong Kong, Chainrai was called to the bar in 1982 and appointed a permanent magistrate in 1990.

I get it totally. This is only about racism/xenophobia. It is unacceptable to call Bina Chainrai an "Indian bitch" or David Dufton a "white-skinned pig." But it is acceptable to call Chan Pik-kiu and Sham Siu-man "yellow-skinned Chee-na running dogs" because this is a statement of fact and not racism/xenophobia.

Oh why oh why didn't they make this clear before?

- Hong Kong's legal system is based upon common law, which relies on case precedents. If they prosecute the critics of David Dufton and Bina Chainrai, they would have to prosecute those in the other cases. That means more business for the lawyers. Life is good for lawyers here in Hong Kong.

- Why do judges get preferential treatment? In Hong Kong, you can freely criticize everybody else from the restaurant waiter to the bus driver to the police officer to the school principal to the Chief Executive, but you cannot criticize judges. This is a violation of freedom of speech under Article 27 of the Hong Kong Basic Law.

- It is a cinch to win a judicial review. But I won't file one because there are legal fees. Instead, I will find a 79-year-old illiterate and indigent grandma to file (and I will assist her to get legal aid, of course).

(Hong Kong Free Press) January 16, 2018.

A woman has been arrested for allegedly insulting a magistrate following a series of protests against the recent jailing of retired superintendent Frankly Chu. The 63-year-old woman, surnamed Kwok, was arrested Monday on charges of contempt of court. A police spokesperson said she allegedly made insulting remarks against judicial personnel outside the Eastern Magistrates’ Courts on January 3. Kwok was accused of making the remarks outside court, where Principal Magistrate Bina Chainrai sentenced Chu to three months in prison for hitting a pedestrian with a baton during the 2014 pro-democracy Occupy protests.

Dozens of Chu’s supporters hurled insults at the Indian-born magistrate, calling her a “dog” and uttering racial slurs against her. They said foreign judges were not welcome and that it would only be fair if “Chinese people were tried by Chinese judges.” The protesters said the judiciary was being unfair and called the jail sentence “an international joke.”

Kwok has been released on bail and is required to report to the police next month.

- (SCMP) Those who criticise our judges should be ashamed of themselves. By Alex Lo. January 8, 2018.

When retired police superintendent Frankly Chu was jailed for three months for assaulting a passer-by mistaken for an Occupy protester, the worst elements of the blue-ribbon, pro-government mob were out in force denouncing the sentence. Principal Magistrate Bina Chainrai has been called by all sorts of nasty and racist names, many of which are unprintable in a family newspaper. Some are calling for an all-Chinese bench.

Chu has launched an appeal and may yet have the sentence overturned. But assuming the judgment stands, the punishment is quite lenient, considering the offence could carry a heavy sentence that counts in years rather than months. Of course, the real punishment is not the jail time, but Chu’s expected loss of his pension.

In a rare consensus, not only the yellow-ribbon media and the Bar Association but also some of the bluest pro-government news outlets such as HKG Pao and Speakout.hk have all rounded on those who attacked the judge.

Those who made the most offensive remarks may have committed contempt of court. If a few of them are ever charged, no one would shed a tear.

But the blue-ribbon mobs haven’t been the only ones going after judges. Yellow-ribbon thugs were doing the same thing when their own people were jailed. Last year, 13 pro-democracy activists were sent to prison for their violent protest against a government development plan in the northeastern New Territories. Likewise, three former student leaders of the Occupy protests had their community service penalties toughened to jail terms after government prosecutors appealed against their sentences. In response, the opposition went into a paroxysm. Some of its more uncouth supporters were calling the ethnically Chinese judges in the two cases “Chee-na men” and “communist running dogs”. Meanwhile, some of the most respected Western publications and some former senior foreign government officials were calling for the release of the trio, as if it were a political decision rather than something that required due process, and that our judiciary was some kind of kangaroo court.

The worst and most extreme elements of the blue and yellow-ribbon mobs behave in much the same despicable way. Those who shout loudest about threats to the rule of law in front of foreign media are helping to undermine it.

Our judges, who maintain a dignified silence and diligently administer justice, are the real heroes of Hong Kong.

- (Oriental Daily) January 6, 2018.

Judges are humans. They have emotions and desires and they have political positions. In Hong Kong, everything is politicized. It is clear that judicial decisions have political leanings.

After the reacting to the sentences given to the seven police officers, the public is now reacting to the three month sentence given to retired police superintendent Frankly Chu. Both cases are sideshows to Occupy Central, and the defendants were jailed over their actions during law enforcement. Meanwhile the instigators of Occupy Central, including Next Media boss Jimmy Lai and Hong Kong University professor Benny Tai, have still not faced any legal consequences. So enforcing the law is a crime whereas breaking the law is not; loving Hong Kong is punished, but causing chaos in Hong Kong goes unpunished. It is a joke to say that we are all equal before the law.

There are many examples of injustice. As one example, someone caused others to charge at the Legislative Council building by falsely proclaiming the enactment of an Internet Article 23 law. Many persons were arrested and found guilty of unlawful gathering and criminal destruction of property. In his infinite wisdom, the judge decided that the defendants were indigent and rejected the prosecutor's request for economic damages.

As another example, the 13 defendants in the New Territories East development protests were sentenced to community service. In his infinite wisdom, the magistrate praised the defendants as "speaking out for the oppressed people" and "defending public justice."

Even more absurd was the case of the three students who led the invasion of Government Headquarters that precipitated Occupy Central. They had clearly broken the law. At the trial, the judge heaped praises on them: "They are still young, they are filled with ideals, they genuinely care about society and they did not do this for personal interests." It was as if the defendants were heroes and the court was holding an awards ceremony.

Dear judges and magistrates, did you think that the seven police officers, or Frankly Chu, or even the three persons who threw pig entrails at Jimmy Lai did not care about society or are not filled with ideals? Which of them did it for personal interests?

How come the Blue Ribbons are always punished and the Yellow Ribbons are always let off?

- The answer to the rhetorical question is obvious: Because the judges/magistrates are Yellow Ribbons who help their own and punish their enemies.

- (HKG Pao) January 6, 2018.

Yesterday was the police recruitment day for the winter season. The 2,300+ applicants was the second highest number on record. So there was no fall-off in spite of the smears on the Hong Kong Police by the Yellow Ribbon media.

(Oriental Daily) January 7, 2018.

At Hong Kong University, the Students Union election had 14 posts with no candidates, including all the cabinet members. In recent years, the Hong Kong University Students Union has been embroiled in political issues such as Occupy Central, Hong Kong independence, etc. Alex Chow was sentenced to 8 months in jail for the taking of Government Headquarters. Billy Fung was sentenced to 240 hours of community service for criminal destruction of property and forcible entry.

- More generally, if your resumé shows that you were on the Students Union executive committee, you are assumed to be a radical pro-independence violence-prone law-breaking agitator. That limits your employment opportunities.

- The above is an assumption. There are no data to support this hypothesis one way or the other. But it provides an explanation as to why there is little or not interest in the cabinet openings.

- The situation may be so, but your language of description is wrong. The correct description should be along the line of "There are no Students Union candidates due to the unprecedented suppression of student activism by the Hong Kong Communist Government under the orders of the China Liaison Office."

- Twelve steps for Color Revolution

11. Add in violent agent provocateurs to provoke the police to use force. This will cause the target government to lose the support of other countries and become “delegitimized” by the international community.

There are job openings for martyrs and butchers for the Umbrella Revolution. Any takers?

(Oriental Daily) January 5, 2018.

At the Discussion Board of Bus Facebook, there was a photo of a man sitting on the stairwell of the 69C double-decker bus this morning. This man was listening to music while standing there. The bus driver stopped the bus and approached the man to remind him that the operating rules do not permit standing in the stairwell. The man immediately sat down and asked the bus driver: "Is that okay?" The man refused to budge from the position. The bus driver was forced to arrange for all the passengers to transfer to another bus.

Internet comments:

- CAP 230A Public Bus Service Ordinance

13A. General conduct of passengers and intending passengers

(1) No passenger or intending passenger shall

(a) willfully obstruct, impede or distract the driver or the bus or any authorized person;
(c) willfully do or cause be done with respect to any part of the bus or its equipment, anything which

(i) obstruct or interferes with the workings of the bus or causes damage; or
(ii) causes injury, discomfort, annoyance or inconvenience to any other person;

(2) No passenger shall stand

(a) on any part  of a bus other than the gangway;
(b) on the upper deck of a bus; or
(c) on a single-decked bus or on the lower deck of a double-decked bus, forward of the rearmost part of the driver's,

while the bus is moving.

13. Power to remove passengers etc.

(1) Any person who is an employee of a grantee and who is in uniform and on duty may remove from a bus any person whom he has reasonable cause to believe has contravened these regulations.

(2) Any person who is an employee of a grantee and who is in uniform and on duty may require any passenger whom he has reasonable cause to believe has contravened these regulations to give his name and address and produce proof of identity.

(3) Any person who is an employee of a grantee and who is in uniform and on duty may arrest without a warrant any person whom he has reasonable cause to believe has contravened these regulations and may detain such person until he can be handed over to a police officer.

(4) A police officer, to whom a person is handed over under subregulation (3), shall take such person into custody without a warrant and thereafter sections 51 and 52 of the Police Force Ordinance (Cap. 232) shall apply.

- Facebook comments: What to do?

- All the other passengers should band together and curse the fucker out!
- As soon as the bus driver spoke, all the other passengers should have started to curse.
- He made all the passengers get off this bus and take another bus. They should curse him out! The only issue is whether they do it to his face, or on the side.
- Why is there still an option to do it on the side? He should been shown a red card and ejected.
- Not everybody is as courageous as you are. Some people are afraid of being cursed back.
- It would have been better if he was the only one to take another bus.
- Why is this discussion being restricted to cursing the man or not? The bus was filled to capacity, so there were more than 100 other passengers. They should have acted together and tossed the guy out of the door! Instead they marched meekly to get on another bus.

- This isn't the whole story. When the other passengers transferred to another bus, what happened to the man? Did he go with them and continue to sit in the stairwell? That would show that he is a righteous civil rights activist. Or did he charged ahead first and grabbed a seat for himself? That would show that he is a selfish prig.

- Many drivers won't speak out. But since he had already stopped the bus to speak to the man, he should finish the job by telling him to get off. If the man refuses, the driver should summon the police.
- What can the driver really do? They have to follow the rules of operation, for which they are often criticized for lack of flexibility. They make just over $10,000 a month. Is that worth being cursed out by various passengers for all sorts of reasons over the entire shift?
- The driver is being criticized for speaking out to the man and then making the passengers switch buses. If he did nothing, there will be a different Facebook post about him letting people stand/sit in the stairwell. And if there should be an accident in which someone is injured on the stairwell, he faces criminal liability.

- We need to issue an APB (All-Points Bulletin) to identify this man, his family members and his business associates. We need to find out where his son goes to school and then the classmates will get to ask the son about the behavior of his father. We will ask his employer whether this type of selfish behavior stands for standard operating behavior and corporate image over at the company.

- This is the after-effect of Occupy Central -- it's all about what you want and the hell with everybody else!
- "I want genuine sitting on the stairwell" and the hell with the other passengers!
- So what if I violated some law or the other? Benny Tai said that this is just civil disobedience.
- Hong Kong University law professor Benny Tai tells us that we can break the law to achieve justice.
- The Public Bus Service Ordinance prohibits standing on the stairwell of a double-decked bus. It does not say anything about sitting on the stairwell. Therefore the man will surely win his case in court.
- Occupy Central taught everybody to fight for their rights. In this case, the man on the stairwell had the absolute right to sit there. His action is just like Rosa Parks, who exercised her absolute and inalienable right to sit in the front of the bus.
- Even if the Public Bus Service Ordinance explicitly prohibits sitting on the stairwell of a double-decked bus, the man should be fighting against such an unjust law. There is no reason why a person cannot sit on the stairwell. The bus was in motion and nobody was going up or down the stairs.
- It will no doubt be argued that it was dangerous to stand/sit in the stairwell. If the bus has to swerve suddenly, a person in the stairwell may lose balance and fall down. That is utter nonsense. It is my fucking life and I will bear the consequences of my actions. If I should get hurt in this manner, I will sue the bus driver for reckless driving and the bus company for imperfect safety features. It won't cost the public a cent. Just let me be.
- Occupy Central also taught us that the maximum penalty for breaking the law is just a few hours of community service, if that. More likely, if the bus driver summoned the police to arrest this man, charges would be dropped before trial anyway due to chronic understaffing at the Department of Justice. Three years after more than 200 persons were arrested for contempt of court during the clearance of Occupy Central, only 9 have been charged. When you ask Chief Executive Carrie Lam, ex-Secretary for Justice Rimsky Yuen or current Secretary for Justice Teresa Cheng for an update, they turn their backs and flee.

- Here is what I just did. I was on a Number 1 bus going to Star Ferry. At Tak Shing Street, nobody asked to get off. Since the preceding bus was a Number 1A going down the same route to the same destination, my bus driver was not going to stop. A man dashed out of nowhere and wanted to board my bus. Fortunately the bus driver braked in time and let the man on. This man proceeded to curse the bus driver out and promised to lodge a complaint. Some passengers argued with this man. I was too much of a coward and I shut up. But as I got off, I told the bus driver that I had already called the Bus Customer Service Center to tell them what just happened. I do what I can and I hope that this will help the bus driver.

(Hong Kong Free Press) December 29, 2017.

Hong Kong pro-democracy marchers are “not ruling out” an overnight protest at Civic Square following the annual New Year’s Day rally on Monday.

The Civil Human Rights Front has been granted a letter of no objection from the police to end its march at the symbolic area outside government headquarters. It was closed by then-leader Leung Chun-ying in 2014, but was re-opened by current Chief Executive Carrie Lam on a limited basis on Thursday.

Known formally as the East Wing Forecourt of the Central Government Offices, the area is open to the public from 6am to 11pm daily, but protesters will only be allowed to gather there on Sundays and public holidays.

The march on January 1 is scheduled to end at 6:30pm after beginning at 2pm in East Point Road, Causeway Bay.

“We don’t worry [about being cleared out by the police],” Civil Human Rights Front convener Sammy Ip told RTHK. “Firstly it depends on the headcount. If many people turn up, [the police] don’t have an excuse to clear us out, because our march will not have ended. Secondly, it’s clear that re-opening Civic Square is a piece of political engineering by Carrie Lam. I don’t think she would want to do something ugly at the very first large-scale protest.”

The police told RTHK that they have not yet assessed the risks of Civic Square being “re-occupied”. They cited the march’s organisers as estimating that around 2,000 participants will turn up.

(RTHK) January 1, 2018.

The Civil Human Rights Front is organizing a demonstration march from Causeway Bay to the east wing forecourt of Government Headquarters. They estimate that 10,000 will participate. According to Civil Human Rights Front convener Sammy Ip said that the recent controversy over the Co-location Arrangement may drive up participation. If the demonstrators don't want to leave at the destination point, they will continue to stay.

(Oriental Daily) January 1, 2018.

The Civil Human Rights Front vice-convener Carlos Hung said that they have set up a stage outside the entrance of the East Wing Forecourt of Government Headquarters and the demonstrators can use the East Wing Forecourt itself. He said that the assembly will last one to two hours with various guest speakers.

At around 1pm, Tam Tak-chi (People Power) claimed that a man dressed in black has destroyed their demonstration tools. The police arrested a 56-year-old man named Chan on suspicion of criminal destruction of property.

The march began at 225pm with 500 people assembled. The end of the queue departed at 306pm with a total of 1,200 participants in the march.

There were flags of more than 20 organizations. Apart from the traditional political parties, there were many university social work students. However, the university student unions were not present.

During the march, the police stopped the procession several times in order to let citizens and cars pass. The demonstrators were upset and hollered that they be allowed to proceed.



Epoch Times

Internet comments:

- Another vertical banner was erected on Mount Parker yesterday morning. The first banner on Lion Rock on the day before said: "Safeguard Hong Kong." This second one on today said: "Safeguard Hong Kong, New Year's Day march." There was no time for the third most crucial one: "Safeguard Hong Kong, New Year's Day march, Donate money to Lau Siu-lai."

- The baseline should have been double the 1,200 figure but half of the regular marchers are participating in the Falun Gong march in Kowloon. The Civil Human Rights Front could have used the Falun Gong's hired marching bands and dancers as well as the airlift of Taiwanese demonstrators.

- (Apple Daily) 14:32 January 1, 2018. At least 2,000 people are gathered at the assembly point. East Point Road is completely filled, with spillover into Cannon Street.

- (Oriental Daily) January 1, 2018. The Civil Human Rights Front announced that 10,000 citizens marched today. The police said that the peak number was 6,200. Last year, the Civil Human Rights Front announced 9,150 while the police said 4,800.

- (Wen Wei Po) The Hong Kong Police estimated that 360,000 persons watched the fireworks display on both sides of Victoria Harbour at midnight on New Year's Eve.

- This is clearly a plot by the Hong Kong Communist Government to reduce turnout at the Safeguard Hong Kong demonstration march.

- (Oriental Daily) Thousands of people came to the Tsim Sha Tsui Cultural Centre to watch 300 lion-dancing teams perform at the Eighth World Lion Dance Festival on New Year's Day.

- This is clearly a Communist plot to reduce turnout at the Safeguard Hong Kong demonstration march.

- (Wen Wei Po) On New Year's Day, the Hong Kong Jockey Club held 11 horse races at the Sha Tin Racecourse. Total attendance was 85,124 persons who placed a total of $1.65 billion in bets.

- This is clearly a Communist plot to reduce turnout at the Safeguard Hong Kong demonstration march.

- Here is a photo of the people who drove attendance down: The pro-Hong Kong independence people who want to return to British rule. (Oriental Daily) January 1, 2018.

(YouTube) Pro-independence demonstrators chanting "Hong Kong independence" and "I am a Hongkonger." All five of them.

- They are obviously being paid by the China Liaison Office to provide the justification for Article 23 National Security Legislation.

- (SCMP) Hong Kong returning to ‘Great’ Britain? You are having a laugh. By Niall Fraser. January 2, 2018.

Over the years I have witnessed more political protest marches in more places about more things than you can shake a placard stick at. In fact, if protest miles were a thing, my place in the Che Guevara Lounge of Revolutionary Airways would be assured.

After nearly 40 years, starting as a student agitator against “[Margaret] Thatcher the Milk Snatcher’’ in late 1970s Scotland to journalistic observer of the mass tumult which toppled and led to the execution of Romanian dictator Nicolae Ceausescu in 1989 and countless Hong Kong pro-democracy marches, if asked today “What do we want?” and “When do we want it?” my most likely answer would be: a toilet, now!

Over the years, the banners brandished and slogans shouted have ranged from the downright rubbish and hopelessly unachievable to the incredibly effective and laugh-out-loud funny – my personal favourite being the absurd “Free Bill Posters”

However, at the New Year’s Day pro-democracy march in Hong Kong this week, being held aloft was a placard that took the ridiculous biscuit, crumbs and all. Unless, of course, the person carrying it was a foot soldier of the agent provocateur wing of the Chinese Communist Party.

It read: “Make Hong Kong Great Britain Again.’’

Putting to one side the not insignificant faux pas of plagiarising the campaign slogan of a semi-literate president of the United States for whom democracy represents a means to nefarious authoritarian ends, if whoever penned the words on this placard was serious, I suggest they stem the flow with a double dose of verbal Imodium and read on.

As a British passport holder as well as a permanent resident of Hong Kong, I will no doubt be considered a treacherous turncoat to Queen and country for what I am about to say. But say it I will and to anyone who wants to shoot the messenger, you know where to find me and I can supply the gun if you aren’t tooled up.

Any country which feels the ongoing need to prefix its name with “Great” – whatever the etymology of that word in this context – is by definition nothing of the sort. So, as was the case for incumbent British Prime Minister Theresa May not so long ago, your slogan is starting to fall apart.

In any case, Hong Kong never was and never will be Great Britain. It was like so many other places around the world, a stolen plunder of empire, an empire over which generations of schoolchildren were taught the sun never sets.

As has been said by greater men and women than I could ever imagine to be, the real reason eternal pink daylight shone across the British imperial map was because God could never trust the Brits in the dark.

Our placard-waving friend would do well to ponder that sentiment, given that two decades after your shining white knight left Hong Kong, it has shown absolutely no sign that your trust and love will ever be reciprocated, not as long as there is a deal to be done and money to be made.

I certainly don’t have ready-made solutions for the difficult and deep-rooted problems this city faces, but I know one thing for certain, they do not lie in clinging to a past which is well and truly in the past and placing your trust in the untrustworthy.

And if you think that treachery is a trait the British establishment ditched as the letters of their empire dropped off one by one, read the official documents released by the Irish government last week. They revealed that British intelligence sought the services of a loyalist terrorist gang in Northern Ireland to murder the democratically elected prime minister of Ireland, Charles Haughey, in 1987.

Be careful what you wish for. Perfidious Albion indeed.

- (Oriental Daily) January 1, 2018. At around 4pm when the demonstrators arrived at Government Headquarters, People Power, Neo Democrats and Co-location Concern Group members took turns to charge at the flagstaff platform. A security guard was injured and taken to the hospital.

The action began with People Power member Chin Po-fun charging up the dais. She was stopped by a large number of security guards. Several minutes later, People Power member Tam Tak-chi charged up the platform to demand to see if Chin Po-fun has been injured. Another man successfully climbed onto the platform. During the struggle, a male security guard was injured and taken away by stretcher. The man who climbed onto the platform claimed to have sustained injuries on his finger and neck; in fact, he said that he felt pain all over this body. Ten minutes later, another man charged up and was blocked by the security guard.

- (Video)
- (Video)

- This is what I saw: The bespectacled guy named Wong grabbed a female security guard by the collar and buried his head into her breasts. She screamed and pushed him away. He took a dive onto the ground and screamed "police brutality."

- ... and therefore you must donate even more money.

- This is what I saw: The dark-blue-uniformed security thugs roamed the scene looking to pick fights with citizens. They pounced upon the bespectacled guy named Wong. They tried but failed to break his arm. They picked him up from the platform and threw him onto the ground below. They went over and tried to stomp on him. A blond-haired white dude threw his own body to cover the assault victim. Outraged citizens condemned the thugs, who just stood there smirking. This is the darkest day for democracy in Hong Kong.

- ... and therefore you must donate even more money.

- (The Stand News) Civil Human Rights Front convener Sammy Ip said that the police and the security guards have greater numbers and therefore have greater responsibility to handle any clashes. He said that they will maintain contact with those protestors and provide assistance to them if required.

- ... and therefore you must donate even more money.

- (The Stand News) Nathan Law (Demosisto) said that this was only a "fake re-opening of Civic Square but actually a stage show." He told citizens to distinguish truth from lies. He emphasized: "We cannot tolerate being ordered about by the North. The people of Hong Kong have their own dignity."

- That's about right. Xi Jinping ordered Civic Square closed before and re-opened now. After all, Hong Kong is the center of the universe and Nathan Law is the center of the center.

- ... and therefore you must donate even more money.

- (SCMP) January 3, 2017.

Officials released two pictures showing Chief Secretary Matthew Cheung Kin-chung visiting groups of security officers of the Tamar site. According to the captions, Cheung was “thanking them for their dedication and professionalism in assisting to maintain order at [the government headquarters]”. “[Cheung] also expressed concern for two security guards injured while carrying out duties in the East Wing Forecourt and wished them a rapid recovery,” the captions stated.

Sammy Ip Chi-hin, convenor of Civil Human Rights Front, the organiser of the New Year’s Day march, said the move showing Cheung interacting with the guards was “provocative”. “Hong Kong people are unhappy about governance and they took to the streets to protest and now a top official comes out to praise those who have tried to suppress the protesters,” Ip said.

- ... and therefore you must donate even more money.

- After all the bellicose posturing, it ended with a whimper: (SCMP) At about midnight, only four protestors remained, and security guards moved in. Three protestors left without incident, and the fourth had to be carried out.

- The number of demonstrators was never the point. This is really about the amounts raised by various organizations. This is one of the three most important money-raking days of the year, together with June 4th and July 1st.

Justice Defense Fund: $370,000
League of Social Democrats: $260,000
Demosisto: $220,000
Teacher Siu-lai's Democracy Classroom: $120,000
Civic Party: $80,000
Democratic party: $78,000

- (HKG Pao) January 3, 2018.

One slogan in this New Year's Day march is that the Hong Kong government is "destroying the rule of law." Of course, it is also the law that anyone soliciting donations from the public must apply for a permit from the Home Affairs Bureau. On this day, the only two organizations (People Power and Power for Democracy) had those permits. All other political parties (including the Civic Party, the Democratic Party, the Labour Party, Demosisto, etc) did not have permits.

Under the law, violations can result in a fine plus 3 months in jail.

- ... but since these people are "pro-democracy", the normal laws cannot be applied to them. Or else Amnesty International/Human Rights Watch/Hong Kong Watch will scream about political oppression.

- (Oriental Daily) January 3, 2018.

Over the past several demonstration marches, the political parties had pledged their takings to the Justice Defense Fund. But the practice has been discontinued this time. League of Social Democrats chairman Avery Ng said that their members have enough legal problems of their own, so they are keeping their receipts to "defend their own justice." The Civic Party, Democratic Party and Demosisto are doing likewise.

The problem with the Justice Defense Fund is that the goal posts kept being moved. At first, they were there to support the DQ4 legislative councilors. Then they added the Occupy Central Nine to the list. Who knows how the list is going to be augmented again in order to extend the project? No wonder the political parties are walking away.

- Karl Marx used the term "permanent revolution" to describe the strategy of the revolutionary class to pursue its class interests independent and without compromise, despite overtures for political alliances and despite the political dominance of opposing sections of society.

The Hong Kong pro-democracy movement has evolved and refined "permanent revolution" into "permanent crowdfunding." History has shown that this is a green, sustainable and self-perpetuating movement.

(Hong Kong Bar Association) Statement of the HKBA dated 28 December 2017 on the Decision of the NPCSC of 27 December 2017 on the Co-operation Agreement

1. The Hong Kong Bar Association (HKBA) refers to –

(a) The Decision of the Standing Committee of 12th National People’s Congress adopted on 27 December 2017 at its 31st Session on Approving the Co-operation Agreement between the Mainland and the HKSAR on the Establishment of the Port at the West Kowloon Station of the Guangzhou-Shenzhen-Hong Kong Express Rail Link for Implementing Co-location Arrangement (the NPCSC Co-location Decision);

(b) The Explanations given by Director Zhang Xiaoming of the State Council Hong Kong and Macao Affairs Office to the NPCSC Session on 22 December 2017 in respect of the Draft NPCSC Co-location Decision (the Explanations); and

(c) The Co-operation Agreement between the Mainland and the HKSAR on the Establishment of the Port at the West Kowloon Station of the Guangzhou-Shenzhen-Hong Kong Express Rail Link for Implementing Co-location Arrangement (the Co-operation Agreement) that the HKSAR Government published on 27 December 2017.

2. The HKBA notes that the Co-operation Agreement provides in –

(a) Paragraph 2 that the HKSAR provides to the Mainland the Mainland Port Area of the Port at the Hong Kong West Kowloon Station (WKS) of the Guangzhou-Shenzhen-Hong Kong Express Rail Link (XRL) for use and exercise of jurisdiction by the Mainland in accordance with the Co-operation Agreement; and that the acquisition, duration and fees for the use of the site of the Mainland Port Area shall be provided by a contract between the said parties.

(b) Paragraph 4 that the Mainland Port Area shall, from the date of its commencement of operation, be subject to Mainland jurisdiction in accordance with the Co-operation Agreement and Mainland laws (including judicial jurisdiction), with the Mainland Port Area being regarded as within the Mainland for such purpose.

(c) Paragraphs 5 and 6 that Mainland authorities shall be stationed at the Mainland Port Area to carry out duties under Mainland laws in respect of entry/exit border check, customs supervision and examination and quarantine.

(d) Paragraph 9 that passengers bound for the HKSAR shall be treated as within the Mainland before they leave the Mainland Port Area and if any one of them contravenes a Mainland law, the Mainland authorities stationed there shall take appropriate legal measures according to the law and the specific circumstances.

(e) Paragraph 10 that passengers bound for the Mainland shall be treated as within the Mainland after they have entered the Mainland Port Area and if any one of them contravenes a Mainland law, the Mainland authorities stationed there shall take appropriate legal measures according to the law and the specific circumstances.

(f) Paragraph 12 that HKSAR officers may enter the Mainland Port Area to assist in respect of sudden and emergency incidents only at the request and authorization of the Mainland authorities stationing there.

3. On 19 October 2017, the HKBA issued a statement indicating that it has been monitoring the development in respect of the "Three-step Process" closely and will publish its views if and when appropriate. Now that the HKBA has access to the details of the first two steps of the "Three-step Process" following yesterday’s events, we consider it necessary to state our views on the legal and constitutional issues involved.

4. The HKBA refers to the Explanations and considers that its claim at page 5 that the high degree of autonomy enjoyed by the HKSAR is the source of authority for the HKSAR to enter into the Co-location Arrangement with the Mainland is erroneous in material respects. The HKBA makes the following observations on the provisions of the Basic Law used to support this claim:

(a) The HKSAR’s authority to maintain its own immigration control system pursuant to Article 154(2) of the Basic Law is the reason for the HKSAR, not the Mainland authority, to maintain exit control check for Mainland-bound passengers using the XRL and entry control check for Hong Kong-bound passengers using the XRL.

(b) Although the directions in Articles 118 and 119 of the Basic Law for the HKSAR to formulate appropriate policies to promote and co-ordinate the development of various trades and to provide an economic and legal environment for encouraging investments, technological progress and the development of new industries may suggest or make it desirable for the adoption of certain policies by the HKSAR Government to promote, co-ordinate or facilitate economic development, they do not authorize the HKSAR Government to act inconsistently with the systems provided for under the Basic Law.

(c) While Article 7 of the Basic Law may enable the HKSAR Government to enter into an agreement with another person in respect of the granting of the use of a piece of land within the HKSAR, it does not authorize the HKSAR Government to divest all institutions of the HKSAR (including the HKSAR courts) from having the jurisdiction they have pursuant to the various provisions of the Basic Law over that piece of land.

5. Accordingly, the HKBA is of the firm view that none of the Basic Law provisions referred to the Explanations provide the source of authority for the Co-location Arrangement in the Co-operation Agreement, the implementation of which will clearly mean the disapplication of the systems of the HKSAR provided for by and under the provisions of the Basic Law, pursuant to Article 31 of the Constitution of the People’s Republic of China and Article 11 of the Basic Law, in respect of the land within the HKSAR at the Mainland Port Area at WKS. Given that Article 11(2) of the Basic Law provides that not even legislation of the HKSAR can contravene Article 11 of the Basic Law, the Co-operation Agreement (being an agreement entered into between the HKSAR Government and the Guangdong Provincial Government), by itself, has no authority to override Article 11.

6. In this regard, the HKBA considers that the suggestion in the Explanations that the Co-location Arrangement does not contravene Article 18 of the Basic Law because Mainland laws only apply to a part of the HKSAR (i.e. the Mainland Port Area) – which will be regarded under the Co-location Arrangement as being situated in the Mainland – and not the entire HKSAR, goes against any plain reading of the Article. Such logic, if extended, is capable of authorizing the application of Mainland laws to any part of the HKSAR designated by the HKSAR Government (e.g. the High Court Building) as long as it does not cover the whole of the HKSAR, and completely by-passes and emasculates the requirement under Article 18(3) of the Basic Law that only national laws listed in Annex III of the Basic Law shall be applied to the HKSAR.

7. The HKBA is appalled by the NPCSC Co-location Decision, which merely states that the NPCSC approves the Co-operation Agreement and "confirms" that the Co-operation Agreement is consistent with the Constitution of the People’s Republic of China and the Basic Law without stating how this is so. This is followed by a provision phrased in terms of an "obligation" of the HKSAR to legislate to ensure the implementation of the Co-operation Agreement. This plainly amounts to an announcement by the NPCSC that the Co-operation Agreement complies with the Constitution and the Basic Law "just because the NPCSC says so". Such an unprecedented move is the most retrograde step to date in the implementation of the Basic Law, and severely undermines public confidence in "one country, two systems" and the rule of law in the HKSAR.

8. The NPCSC does not exercise power out of a vacuum. Its functions and powers are provided in Article 67 of the Constitution of the People’s Republic of China, and its functions and powers are prescribed (and circumscribed) in Articles 17, 18, 20, 90, 158, 159 and 160, and Annexes I and II to the Basic Law. The NPCSC must abide by these provisions of the Constitution of the People’s Republic of China and the Basic Law when it makes a decision in respect of the HKSAR.

9. The HKBA considers that the assertion in the NPCSC Co-location Decision that the stationing of Mainland authorities at the Mainland Port Area at WKS to exercise their duties under Mainland laws there is different from the situation under Article 18 of the Basic Law of national laws being implemented in the whole of the HKSAR begs the question of how this is different. The assertion that it is appropriate to make provision under the Co-operation Agreement to provide for the division of jurisdiction and the application of laws in the WKS Port and to confirm that the Mainland Port Area (a part of the HKSAR) shall be regarded as "being in the Mainland" again begs the question of why this is appropriate. The assertion that the establishment of the Mainland Port Area in the Port at WKS does not alter the extent of the HKSAR, does not affect the high degree of autonomy of the HKSAR enjoyed according to law, and does not limit the rights and freedoms the Hong Kong residents enjoy according to law, plainly begs the question of how and why they are so.

10. The NPCSC Co-location Decision is both wholly unconvincing and unsatisfactory in achieving its purported purpose, namely to provide a firm legal basis for the Step 3 local legislation being the last of the "Three-step Process". The Co-location Arrangement’s disapplication of the systems of the HKSAR provided for by and under the provisions of the Basic Law means that the Step 3 local legislation will, by reason of Article 11(2) of the Basic Law, appear to be inconsistent with specific provisions of the Basic Law, including Articles 4, 11, 19, 22(3), 31, 35, 38, 39, 41, 80, 87. The HKBA does not regard as a satisfactory explanation any reliance by the HKSAR Government of the NPCSC Co-location Decision in answer to any of the above questions of inconsistency.

11. The HKBA considers that the NPCSC has, by reason of the NPCSC Co-location Decision and the way the NPCSC has adopted it, generated a strong perception among the legal community in Hong Kong and in the wider legal and political communities outside Hong Kong that the NPCSC is prepared to make decisions at the request of the Chief Executive of the HKSAR and the HKSAR Government under her leadership just because the subject matter concerned "is a good thing", without due regard and respect for the provisions of (and restrictions in) the Constitution of the People’s Republic of China and the Basic Law. The HKBA notes, with utmost concern and regret, that such a strong perception will surely impair and undermine the confidence of the local and international communities on the maintenance of the rule of law and the "one country, two systems" policy in Hong Kong, both of which are provided for by the Basic Law, which was enacted pursuant to Article 31 of the Constitution of the People’s Republic of China. Through the combined efforts of the HKSAR Government, the State Council and the NPCSC in producing NPCSC Co-location Decision, the integrity of the Basic Law has now been irreparably breached.

Internet comments:

- History:

September 16, 2017. Statement of the Hong Kong Bar Association (“HKBA”) in Response to News Reports Regarding HKBA’s Stance on the Co-location Arrangement

1. The HKBA is deeply concerned about certain news reports on the alleged disclosure of the discussion within the Bar Council concerning the Co-location Arrangement ("News Reports"). These news reports, which appeared in the past 2 days, include references to an internal paper prepared for the Bar Council’s consideration by the Bar Council’s sub-committee on Constitutional Affairs & Human Rights ("Paper").

2. The HKBA is aware that a Court hearing has been fixed towards the end of this month for argument to be heard on legal issues arising from the Co-location Arrangement. In these circumstances, the Bar Council has resolved that it is inappropriate to comment on the relevant legal matters at this stage. Further, in light of the fact that discussions of the Bar Council are confidential, the HKBA will not be making any substantive response to the News Reports. HKBA wishes to emphasise that all decisions of the Bar Council (including the decision to issue this Statement) are the result of the collective deliberations of the Bar Council with the benefit of full and candid discussions.

3. However, in order to dispel any misunderstanding in relation to the HKBA’s position on the Co-location Arrangement and for the avoidance of doubt, we must emphasize that the Bar Council is still considering and discussing the various complicated and multi-faceted legal issues arising from the Co-location Arrangement, and the Paper forms part of this continuing process. The HKBA emphasizes that it has not yet made a decision or adopted a position on whether the Co-location Arrangement is or is not permissible under the Basic Law.

4. News Reports of what transpired in the Bar Council’s discussion are incorrect and misleading. The HKBA strongly denounces the misrepresentations made to the media and the disclosure of HKBA’s internal material in breach of confidentiality. It is deeply regrettable that this may have caused the public to misunderstand the HKBA’s position on the Co-location Arrangement.

October 19, 2017. Statement of the Hong Kong Bar Association (“HKBA”) in Relation to the Co-location Arrangement

1. The HKBA notes the public discussions concerning the legal and constitutional issues in relation to the Government’s Proposed Co-location Arrangement.

2. The HKBA urges the Government to keep the general public timeously informed of the details of the "Three-step Process" to facilitate a proper, constructive and rational discussion on the legal and constitutional issues involved.

3. The HKBA is monitoring the development closely, and will publish its views if and when appropriate.

(SCMP) Legal eagles led by Philip Dykes to run in Hong Kong Bar Association polls, vowing to ‘stand fearlessly’ for judicial independence. December 23, 2017.

Shock waves were sent through Hong Kong’s legal circles on Friday after it emerged that a star-studded line-up – led by prominent human rights lawyer Philip Dykes SC – will contest the Bar Association election next month amid criticism that the legal body has recently been less vocal in defending the city’s rule of law.

Dykes – who was chairman of the Bar Council, the association’s governing body, in 2005 and 2006 – will run for the same post again after a decade.

Joining him are several legal heavyweights aiming for council membership, including Lawrence Lok Ying-kam SC and Professor Johannes Chan Man-mun, the former law dean of the University of Hong Kong and the city’s first and so far only honorary senior counsel in Hong Kong.

Barristers Erik Shum Sze-man, Joe Chan Wai-yin and Randy Shek form the remaining three on the six-person list, which has the campaign slogan: “A strong bar, a strong rule of law”.

“Our vision is a strong bar that stands up fearlessly for the rule of law and judicial independence,” the group said in a statement. “We want to work closely with our young members who represent the future. We believe in healthy competition.”

Dykes is set to run against incumbent chairman Paul Lam Ting-kwok SC, who earlier hinted at securing a second term. It is rare for any incumbent chairman to face competition, with an unspoken rule that the person stays in the post for two years.

The Bar Association courted controversy in October for issuing only a three-paragraph statement responding to the controversial joint checkpoint plan for a cross-border express rail link to mainland China.

A number of lawyers and scholars, including Johannes Chan, questioned the legal basis for the proposal, which would for the first time allow mainland officials to enforce national laws in part of the rail terminus in Hong Kong.

In the statement, the Bar Association only “noted” public discussions concerning the legal and constitutional basis of the joint checkpoint arrangement, and “urged” the government to keep the general public informed to facilitate a constructive discussion, pledging to “monitor” developments closely.

Shek said they decided to run as they foresaw several controversial legal issues that could arise from coming events in the current political climate. These included the enactment of a local version of the national anthem law and the introduction of national security legislation.

“We hope the Bar Association can contribute to society by issuing a clear stance [on these issues] as Hongkongers have great expectations of the body,” Shek told the Post.

“The association has the duty to be seen by society as a professional body that would defend the city’s principles, rule of law and judicial independence.”

Shek, also a member of the Progressive Lawyers Group, said most of the current Bar Council members focused on civil law with very few specialising in criminal law and public law.

“There will be a lot of debates on constitutional matters in the coming two years and we hope we can bring our knowledge and experience to the council,” he added, describing Dykes and Johannes Chan as “impeccable” in their knowledge of public law.

When asked if Paul Lam’s performance was the catalyst triggering them to run, Shek said they were neither targeting anyone nor planning to take over the council, which consisted of 20 members.

“We are not focusing on what has [been improperly done] in the past, but more on what we can do in the future.”

The Bar Council election will take place on January 18.

- Election campaign consultants and pollsters tell "leftist" candidates that they should "move to the right" and "campaign to the center" with positions that are "between the 'left' and the 'right'." This is the way, they say, to "attract swing voters."

For example, let us suppose that the voters are divided into 33% leftists, 34% centrists and 33% rightists. Campaigning as a true-blue leftist will get you 33% + 17% = 50%. Campaigning as a centrist and positioning your opponent as an extremist whacko rightwing thug will get you 33% + 34% = 67%. That is the calculus.

In the Hong Kong Bar Association elections, the incumbent Paul Lam has to move to the left in order to defang his opponent. And that is why the December 28th 2017 statement of the Hong Kong Bar Association has such a belligerent tone. Lam may just win the HKBA election, but only at the cost of losing popular support for his organization.

- People who overdo triangulation usually end up losing because they are perceived as insincere and cynical.

- What is the end game of this fight against the Co-location Arrangement?

In the short term, the Co-location Arrangement may be shelved via judicial reviews in Hong Kong and the High Speed Rail will not depart from West Kowloon Station as scheduled even though the service will be ready to go. Hongkongers who want to use the High Speed Rail can take local transportation (bus/subways) to Guangzhou South. But instead of 48 minutes via High Speed Rail, they take more than 3 hours. They will know that their time is being wasted for which they will blame the pan-democrats and the Hong Kong Bar Association with their politicking.

- Economic Times/Sky Post online poll

Yesterday, the National People's Congress Standing Committee voted unanimously to pass the Co-Location Arrangement. Do you believe that this arrangement is consistent with One Country Two Systems and the Basic Law? (1120 respondents)

79%: Yes
19%: No
2%: No opinion

In the long term, the National People's Congress Standing Committee may introduce an amendment to the Basic Law to enable the Co-location Arrangement. Since the NPCSC is the highest legislative authority in China, there will be no possibility of judicial reviews by Hong Kong courts. High Speed Rail users will applaud this development. The amendment will open the way for further NPCSC actions including the enactment of Article 23 National Security.

- According to Cable TV, HKSAR Basic Law Committee deputy chairperson Elsie Leung noted that Basic Law Article 158 is relevant to any judicial review of this National People's Congress Standing Committee decision: when the courts of Hong Kong consider affairs which are the responsibility of the Central People's Government, or concerning the relationship between the Central Authorities and the Region, they shall, before making their final judgments which are not appealable, seek an interpretation of the relevant provisions from the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress through the Court of Final Appeal. When the Standing Committee makes an interpretation of the provisions concerned, the courts of the Region, in applying those provisions, shall follow the interpretation of the Standing Committee.

- (HKG Pao) By Chris Wat Wing-yin. December 30, 2017.

I have not previously written about the Co-location Arrangement because I felt that it was an unnecessary question: "Would you like to haul your luggage and be inspected once or twice?" What kind of stupid question is this?


A couple days ago, legislative councilor Tanya Chan led the Co-location Concern Group to demonstrate outside the West Kowloon Station. On that day, there was a total of nine demonstrators (seven men and two women). In mathematics, this is a single digit number.

NOW TV gave this group a 90-second on-air report. They described the size of the group as "about 10 persons" so that the count was now a two-digit number. Still, NOW TV considers a 9-person demonstration to be a newsworthy event.


And then we have the government television station RTHK. The National People's Congress Standing Committee has just passed a resolution on Hong Kong. Immediately, the RTHK Facebook posted a 1:44 minute Commercial Radio interview of legislative councilor Tanya Chan. We have no idea what Li Fei, or Carrie Lam, or Rimsky Yuen think or say. We only have 1:44 minutes of Tanya Chan. Worse yet, this video was made not by RTHK but by its competitor Commercial Radio. Why is RTHK running promotions for a politician and its rival station?

As Tanya Chan likes to say, the government is forcibly raping public opinion with the Co-location Arrangement. But wouldn't it be really forcible rape if the government decide to foist the preference of nine persons (seven men and two women) upon the people of Hong Kong?

- If the pan-democrats and the Hong Kong Bar Association cannot beat the National People's Congress Standing Committee on their home ground, they will have to seek international help. But both United Staes and United Kingdom will be embarrassed because they have their own co-location arrangements up and running for many years already. How are they supposed to argue against themselves?

- Any comments by the United States or the United Kingdom will be rebutted by Hua Chun-ying as interference with the internal affairs of China. So this is just shadow boxing.

Besides, even American and British politicians know to pick issues that they can sell to their own constituents. In this case, how they tell their constituents that Hong Kong travelers should be forced to get off in the middle of their journey for customs/immigration/quarantine?

As much as the Hong Kong Bar Association wants to, they cannot go to the Supreme Court of the United Kingdom, because the latter does not have jurisdiction over Hong Kong affairs.

If the United Kingdom goes to the United Nations over the apparent violation of the Joint Sino-British Declaration, there is no case because both signatories must agree to be heard.

- High Speed Rail did not exist in 1984, so how could the Joint Sino-British Declaration have anything to say about it one way or the other?

It gets back to common sense: "Which would you prefer -- hauling your luggage to be inspected once or twice?" If your reading of the Joint Sino-British Declaration leads you to conclude that the answer must be twice, then you should seek an appointment with a psychiatrist.

- (HKG Pao) December 30, 2017.

In the legend of the Gordian knot, Alexander of Macedonia untied the intricate knot by a simple stroke of his sword. This is often used as a metaphor for solving a seemingly intractable problem by creative thinking ("cutting the Gordian knot").

In the matter of the Co-location Arrangement, "thinking inside the box" would mean debating the texts of Basic Law articles 2, 18, 20, 118 and 119 with the pan-democratic legislative councilors and senior barristers. Do you think that you will ever get anywhere with them? They will enjoy it and they may even be handsomely paid for their work in the judicial reviews. But you should not expect to ever reach resolution.

"Thinking outside the box" requires just answering a few questions with obvious answers:

(1) Under One Country Two Systems, which stands higher: the Country or the HKSAR? Answer: The Country.

(2) China is a rule-of-law and not rule-of-man country. Which is the highest legislative body in China? More pertinently, which legislative body has the highest power of interpretation under the Basic Law? Answer: The Standing Committee of the National People's Congress.

(3) The Standing Committee of the National People's Congress has discussed and voted to pass the Co-location Arrangement. Does that imply legal authority? Answer: Yes.

(4) As Li Fei said, the decision of the highest legislative body of the country is the law. Does that imply legal basis? Answer: Yes.

(5) When the highest legislative body in the People's Republic of China voted to pass certain laws for the HKSAR, can it be overruled by a bunch of pan-democrats and senior barristers in Hong Kong? Answer: No.

- (SCMP) Hong Kong lawyers can oppose the joint checkpoint plan for the high-speed rail, but they should not deny its legal basis. By Ronny Tong. January 2, 2018.

I have been a member of the Hong Kong Bar for over 40 years and have the highest respect for its council. I also firmly believe that when a professional body deals with an important issue, it must do so in a fair and professional way, and always be on guard to avoid using emotive and intemperate rhetoric. This is particularly so when it comes to interpreting a constitutional document like the Basic Law.

You can therefore imagine my shock and sadness at reading the Bar Association’s statement on the co-location clearance proposal of the Hong Kong government for the cross-border rail link, and on the corresponding decision by the National People’s Congress Standing Committee relating to that.

Don’t get me wrong; I respect the association’s view and do not expect it to coincide with mine. But I also expect a more restrained and measured statement, much in the vein of the statements that previous Bar Councils – the governing body of the association – have issued in the past.

The dispute over the legality of the co-location proposal comes down to one question: is it in contravention of Article 18 of the Basic Law? This article, which defines the very essence of “one country, two systems”, reads, “National laws shall not be applied in the Hong Kong SAR except those listed in Annex III to this law … [which] shall be confined to those relating to defence and foreign affairs as well as other matters outside the limits of the autonomy of the region as specified by this law.”

But what does it mean?

Our Court of Final Appeal has said on many occasions in interpreting the Basic Law that it is an aspirational document and one must adopt a purposive interpretation. This means the Basic Law is forward-looking and not enslaved by dated concepts. When we read the Basic Law, we must read it as a whole, try to discern its purpose, and give effect to it in accordance with such a purpose.

Adopting this approach, at least one reading of Article 18 is that its purpose is to prevent Chinese national law from applying to the whole of Hong Kong, thereby undermining “one country, two systems” and, in particular, the rights and freedoms of the people of Hong Kong. On this reading, if the proposed co-location clearance arrangement has no such effect but, on the contrary, is necessitated by economic development, then Article 18 is not contravened.

In any event, there is a separate legal argument for the proposal. If local law is eventually passed “deeming” the immigration and customs clearance area that has been leased to mainland authorities as being outside the borders of Hong Kong, then Article 18 will not be engaged either. If so, it follows that the other provisions of the Basic Law will provide the necessary powers to the special administrative region government to set up the co-location border control. Such is the legal basis of the proposal.

You can say this legal basis is weak, or even wrong. But you cannot say there is no legal basis at all; nor can you say Article 18 admits of no such reading at all. Nor can you then build on this restricted view to make the accusation that the rule of law is being “severely undermined”.

There is another disturbing aspect. If there is a legal basis for the proposal – albeit one you do not agree with – then there was a procedure whereby the arguments in support were put forward openly in writing, and officials from the SAR government were invited to participate in meetings where the proposal was discussed, then voted upon by the NPC Standing Committee. Thus, one cannot say this is a case of “mere say so” by the NPC Standing Committee. One may disagree with the procedure, challenge its representativeness, or disagree strongly with the final decision, but it was no “mere say so”.

Besides, the NPC Standing Committee is the highest executive, constitutional and legal authority in the land and its decision on any view deserves some measure of respect, even if you strongly disagree with it. This is all the more so under “one country, two systems”. Not respecting the NPC Standing Committee is akin to not respecting the “one country” of “one country, two systems”, and if we don’t respect the “one country”, how can we expect the “one country” to respect the “two systems”?

- Johannes Chan's argument is that the international financial community will have lose its confidence in Hong Kong if they see how the National People's Congress Standing Committee can intercede so freely. The counter-argument is that the international financial community will lose its confidence in Hong Kong if they see that the Hong Kong legal eagles are powerful enough to cut off the economic benefits of a High Speed Rail service against all economic rationale.

- Former Bar Association chairman Paul W.T. Hsieh said that the whole NPCSC decision was built upon "air". Well, actually, how did he think One Country Two Systems came about? Was there any basis within the Constitution of the People's Republic of China? Were there any precedents anywhere else in the world? No, it all came because one person (Deng Xiao-ping) thought so and ordered a Basic Law Draft Committee to proceed. That was about as rule-of-man as possible. Will the Hong Kong Bar Association challenged the lack of a constitutional basis for One Country Two Systems/Hong Kong Basic Law?

- (SCMP) December 23, 2017. In 2003, the Bar Association – then led by Civic Party veteran Alan Leong Kah-kit SC – played a key role in opposing legislation on a national security law. The bill was eventually shelved after 500,000 people took to the streets, fearing their rights and freedoms would be curbed.

- In 2003, it was the Bar Association and the People vs. the Central Government/Hong Kong SAR Government. Fearmongering against the national security law lined the People up with the Bar Association.

In 2017, it was the Bar Association vs. the People and the Central Government/Hong Kong SAR Government. Any normal person can see that the Co-location Arrangement will make travel easier for common folks and that this will be good for the long-term economic prosperity of Hong Kong. If the law stands in the way, it should be brushed aside. It is impossible to argue against travel convenience and economic prosperity.

- (Bastille Post) When Paul Lam's team faces Philip Dykes' team next month in the HKBA elections, it will be just like the moderate pan-democrats running into the extremist Localists in a Legislative Council election. Under pressure from the radicals, the moderate incumbent Paul Lam has to be just as radical as the radicals.

- In 2017, the poster boy for the fearmongering campaign against the Co-location Arrangement was Howard Lam Tsz-kin (#775 and #778).

Lam does not want to be forgotten, so here is his latest missive:

I have been maligned for too long; I have almost lost my opportunity for advanced studies at Yale University. This has hurt the bodies and minds of me and my family.

Today, the Hong Kong court may not be able to render justice on my behalf.

But some day you will eventually find out that I was innocent and framed. This has been thoroughly a case of cross-border enforcement, including torture, imprisonment, etc.

(*I hope that when the case officially to try, you will carefully scrutinize the so-called evidence. If you just look at it superficially, it will be like a blind man feeling the elephant and make you believe the superficial evidence. You must think carefully and then you will perceive the absurdity!"

*** I think some of my genuine friends for believing and supporting me! I will keep my promise to continue even if I have to die! This is not my personal issue; I have the duty to be faithful to Hong Kong history.

- Indeed. That is why we must all get together on New Year's Day to march to stop the Co-location Arrangement. Our slogan will be "We are all Lam Tsz-kin!"

- How not to mobilize public opinion:

(Oriental Daily) December 30, 2017.

At around 6am, a citizen call the police that there was a vertical banner (3 meters by 25 meters) hanging down from Lion Rock. Because the banner was not securely fastened, the top fell down. This means that the banner was hung backwards and upside down. There were concerns that the banner could fall down on the road underneath and endanger traffic safety. The words on the banner were "defend Hong Kong." Several firefighters were taken to Lion Rock peak by a Civil Aviation Department helicopter to remove the banner.

- In Chinese custom, hanging a banner upside down means that you support the anti-message. Like the thumbs-up and thumbs-down signs.

(SCMP) December 21, 2017.

A Greenpeace protest ended in a fiasco on Thursday as 19 members involved in a plot to storm the 60-metre-high observation wheel at the Central waterfront were arrested by police. The recently reopened attraction was forced to cease operations for the day, prompting disappointed visitors to criticise the green group for being “selfish”. Eleven women and eight men were arrested. Five were at the site taking part in the event, according to police. They were arrested for causing a nuisance in a public place.

Superintendent Chan Hin-kwan of Central Police Station said the activists were on the wheel for more than six hours. They climbed down soon before 1.30pm. Chan said the force condemned the activists’ act for endangering their own safety as well as that of bystanders and for causing disorder in a public place. Some metal objects fell to the ground while they were climbing the wheel, police said. Detectives from the Hong Kong Island Regional Crime Unit are handling the case.

Greenpeace campaigner Andy Chu Kong said the original plan was to hang a banner on the wheel in the early morning as a protest against uncontrolled plastic waste pollution and to remove it by 11am, when the wheel was open to the public. “But there was a sudden wind, which damaged the large banner. That was unexpected. We needed to consider the safety of our [climbers],” Chu said.

“We would like to apologise to all affected citizens and visitors. But we hope Hongkongers, businesses and the government can understand that the problem of plastic pollution cannot be left unrestrained any more,” he added. On Thursday morning, Chu told the Post that the group had considered the legal risks before their protest and would be responsible for what they did.

Twelve Greenpeace members in orange suits and safety helmets were spotted climbing the wheel on Thursday early morning. A man alerted the police at 7.15am. More than 40 firefighters, including those from the high angle rescue team, paramedics and police officers were sent with an air cushion to handle the situation described as “persons in dangerous position” in the incident report.

A Greenpeace spokesman said the climbers were trying to hang a banner 12 metres high and 30 metres wide on the wheel. On the banner were four large Chinese characters saying “Plastic-free Now”.

The action was designed to raise public awareness on plastic use “in a most straightforward way, on a landmark of the city and during the morning traffic peak when people are on their way to work,” Chu said.

The observation wheel would not open at all on Thursday due to the action of Greenpeace, chief operating officer Robyn Joseph said. The operator previously anticipated that the wheel might be able to resume services at 6pm and visitors holding tickets could take their rides until 11pm, the normal closing time for the attraction.

“Representatives from the Fire Services Department and our technical staff are still in the wheel cutting free the banner, and ropes that Greenpeace’s protesters were incapable of removing,” Joseph said on Thursday evening. A full assessment of the wheel, which could take a few hours, would be carried out after the banner was removed, she added.

Disappointed visitors criticised the activists for being “selfish”.

“Originally I supported them, but now I oppose them … Greenpeace can protest below [the observation wheel],” said Jacqueline Yan, who has lived in Norway for more than 30 years and recently returned to Hong Kong for a month-long holiday. She arrived at 11am and planned to take the wheel with her husband, but left disappointed after waiting for more than two hours. “They can freely express their opinion to the government but should not affect others,” Yan said.

Lo Pak-kai, who had come from Sheung Shui to Central to ride the wheel with his wife on their day off, was also very disappointed. “I think the protesters are very selfish,” Lo said. He had chosen to take the ride on Thursday as ticket prices were reduced when the wheel reopened on Wednesday after a dispute between the former and current operators. The fare was cut from HK$100 to HK$20 per person.

(Agence France Presse) Greenpeace attempts to display banner on Hong Kong ferris wheel. December 21, 2017. Members of environmental group Greenpeace attempt to display a banner that reads "Plastic Free Now" on the 60-metre (196-foot) high ferris wheel in Hong Kong during a protest against single-use plastics, but are taken into police custody after they came down.


- (Speakout HK)

Yesterday Greenpeace members climbed the Central ferris wheel to hang out a "Time to skip plastic" banner to call the government to pay attention to the plastic pollution problem. But the banner was damaged by high winds and the action "failed." Nineteen persons were arrested by the police for creating a "public nuisance."

In this age when protests are as regular as meals, even Greenpeace supporters don't support them.

When I was in university, my sociology professor invited the Greenpeace director to speak to us about 'resistance.' At the time, the speaker said that Greenpeace use "creative" methods of resistance to air their demands. As a 20-something-year-old, I was very impressed by these innovative and attention-grabbing ideas.

In recent years, Greenpeace actions often involve "creative" methods such as having members/volunteers climb to high spots to hang out banners. This may be "creative" but it is also risky. For example, when the Greenpeace members climbed up the ferris wheel this time, they may have accidents even though they have received professional training? Or they may affect the structure of the ferris wheel when they get up there? Or they will place others persons (policemen, firemen, emergency service workers, etc) in danger? Is this necessary?

Meanwhile the citizens have become inured or even hostile to such methods which no longer arouse public attention. I suggest that Greenpeace and other environmental protection groups find some legal but not dangerous ways to express their demands. If they don't think this is enough, they can run more online campaigns which should get even more attention.

The notion of "creative resistance" is outdated. I don't mean to say that "resistance" is outdated. I mean to say that using dangerous methods to resist is wrong. Nobody wants to see resisters or innocent others get injured in dangerous situations or even die.

- (SCMP) ‘Liking, sharing Facebook posts won’t bring change’: Hong Kong Greenpeace activist urges city to wake up ... and smell the wasteJune 24, 2017.

- The people of Hong Kong are just pigs that must be led to the trough in order to be fed. That is why we need Leninist vanguardism such as Greenpeace to lead the pigs.

- (HKG Pao) By Chris Wat Wing-yin. December 24, 2017.

I have always supported environmentalism. I donated money regularly to environmental conservation/protection groups. But ever since the environmental protector Eddie Chu Hoi Dick was elected Legislative Council, I began to re-think about whether I should give money to those who sabotage society while claiming to be "protecting society."

Eddie Chu was elected with the highest number of votes in New Territories West more or less because people were sick of the business-as-usual ways of the pro-establishment and non-establishment camps. They wanted to give the "rookie" a try. All along, this "rookie" had been hiding in his dream cave without competing in the cruel world. So once he came out, he only knew to CHARGE CHARGE CHARGE!, and his actions were even more unthinkable than the traditional opposition camp.

The bull spirit has extended into the entire environmental protection movement. A few days ago, 19 Greenpeace demonstrators climbed up the Central ferris wheel to hold an "Occupy ferris wheel" movement. As a result, the ferris wheel was shut down for the entire day and several thousand visitors were turned away. Interviews at the scene as well as online opinions were united unanimously against the Occupy people, who were said to be selfish and indifferent to safety considerations. The people wanted the operator to seek civil damages and the police to press criminal charges.

After watching this "Occupy ferris wheel" incident, I have made the decision to discontinue all donations to environmental conservation/protection groups. Today Greenpeace is no longer peaceful; they are the same ilk as the oppositionists.

When 19 persons climb up the ferris wheel, how much manpower, resources and money had to be spent to bring them down safely? How much time and money have they wasted of tourists, lovers, children and families? I don't know what they mean to express when they shut the ferris wheel down for the day. I only know whom they had harmed.

From the Copyrights Bill (Amendment) to the Medical Registration Ordinance to the Co-location Arrangement to the amending of the Legislative Council rules of procedure, the oppositions used filibusters so much that the citizens hate them and even their supporters are demoralized.

One after another mass mobilization yielded paltry responses. Public opinion had been the oppositionists' main weapon in their arsenal but they are losing it now. This time, they risked their lives to occupy the ferris wheel. They couldn't buy a LIKE if their lives depended on it; instead, they got a ton of boos. People are turning away from them now.

Recently Chinese University of Hong Kong Department of Government and Public Administration senior lecturer Ivan Choy Chi-keung wrote:

Filibustering has been over-used and become routinized. As such, it has been overspent with no aura left ... the pan-democrats have always been a minority within the Legislative Council. In 2003, they did not win because of the Legco voting, but because they were able to join with the society outside to form a massive opposition front. If the pan-democrats lose public backing, they have nothing left."

By comparison, Joshua Wong announced immediately after he came out of jail: "How come there are only several hundred people at these assemblies? ... Nowadays the assemblies are more like press conferences than mass assemblies."

At least Ivan Choy was willing to reflect on the causes and consequences. But since the oppositionists chose to make a bunch of Yellow Guards lead the way, will anyone listen to old farts like Ivan Choy anymore?

- Greenpeace took this action in order to draw public attention. They drew a lot of public attention.

Greenspace was looking for a huge public reaction. They got a huge public reaction.

Mission accomplished? Not really. Not when the huge public reaction was mostly negative (as in, "I will never ever donate another cent to any environmental conservation/protection cause.")

- The Greenpeace action was directly based on the Occupy Central modus perandi.

Occupy Central has the goal of "genuine universal suffrage". Greenpace wanted to stop plastic pollution.

The government won't implement "genuine universal suffrage" or ban plastic use.

Occupy Central took Central (plus Causeway Bay and Mong Kok) hostage. Greenpeace held the Central ferris wheel hostage.

When the victims in Central (plus Causeway Bay and Mong Kok) got angry, Occupy Central told them that it is the government's fault. When the ferris wheel visitors got angry, Greenpeace told them that it is the government's fault.

Actually the people ended up hating Occupy Central and whatever their causes were. And now the people are hating Greenpeace and whatever their cause was.

Same old noble goals, wrong methods and bad consequences.

- And they never seem to learn because they keep recycling this failed model.

- Well, actually, the most important thing is to have skin as thick as a dinosaur's hide. Look at the case of Taipei mayor Ko Wen-je:

- (NDTV) October 14, 2014. Taipei City mayoral candidate Ko Wen-je said about Hong Kong's Umbrella Movement: "If the government chooses to suppress this pursuit for universal values, then it is wrong as well as unworkable. More suppression will only lead to greater resistance by the people. Therefore from my personal angle, I think that the Hong Kong government has taken certain measures that are failures."

- (The Stand News) December 25, 2017. In Taipei, labor groups organized a demonstration march. The organizers said that the march would be over by 6pm, but the demonstrators refused to leave. They occupied the roads outside the Executive Yuan as well as in Ximending to continue to protest. Early morning, the police cleared the scene and took away 80 persons including lawyers. Taipei mayor Ko Wen-je insisted that he respects the right of the people to protest. But blocking the streets and paralyzing traffic is more than what he can tolerated. "This is not allowed."

So all you have to do is to declare victory regardless of the actual circumstances.

- Greenpeace needs to imitate the Tai Mo Shan Woman. Instead of apologizing to the policemen, firemen and emergency workers, they should be attacking them: "On one hand, it is my life and the Basic Law says that I have the freedom to go wherever I want. If I want to put my life in danger, then I am fully responsible for it. On the other hand, you are highly paid public servants. It is your job to save me if I get in trouble."

(Hong Kong Free Press) December 22, 2017.

The Hong Kong Journalists Association (HKJA) said it was extremely concerned over news site HK01 allegedly pulling reports on details of the Tiananmen massacre recorded in declassified UK files.

The files contained telegrams sent by then-British ambassador Alan Donald to the foreign office. Donald cited a member of the Chinese State Council as estimating that at least 10,000 civilians were killed in the crackdown on June 4, 1989.

HK01 published two reports on the documents on Wednesday morning but they were taken down within hours. HKJA said the reports were only republished at 5 pm after demands from HK01’s news department, and after multiple changes had been made, including the Chinese translation for “member of the Chinese State Council.” The Association said it understood that HK01 planned two days of coverage, but Thursday’s coverage was pulled.

“We are extremely concerned about self-censorship owing to the political sensitivity of the reports,” HKJA said in a statement. “It is suspicious for HK01 to publish the first batch of reports, retract them, and republish only after modifications. It is also unusual for the second batch of reports to be shelved, causing worries over political factors.”

The HK01 website was launched in January 2016 and its weekly publication was launched in March of that year. Often carrying breaking news, investigative reports and political gossip stories citing unidentified sources, the site has been criticised for its conservative, if not pro-Beijing editorials. It courted controversy after Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying was spotted at the newspaper’s launch party.

In one of the reports republished on Wednesday, the phrase “over 10,000 civilians dead” was removed from the headline, and “27 Army shooting soldiers” was changed to “27 Army shooting – students and soldiers both shot.”

Among the paragraphs removed in the updated version of the report was a quote from the documents: “Students understood they were given one hour to leave square but after five minutes APCs [armoured personnel carriers] attacked. Students linked arms but were mown down including soldiers. APCs then ran over bodies time and time again to make ‘PIE’ and remains collected by bulldozer.”

The updated version also removed information from the document including the name of the commander of the 27 Army of Shanxi Province, the troop responsible for the massacre. Its commander was Yang Zhenhua, the nephew of Yang Shangkun, China’s president at the time.

“[The 27 Army] were kept without news for ten days and told they were to take part in exercise,” another quote removed from the report said.

HKJA said Lung King-cheong, chief editor of HK01, denied that the news site pulled the first batch of reports. He said they made changes after considering news angles. He also told HKJA that he did not know about the second batch of reports as he never saw them.

HKJA also said that Chik Pun-yip, HK01’s executive chief editor, did not directly confirm whether the second batch was shelved. He said two reports were already published on Wednesday and there was no plan to publish more related reports.

Apple Daily cited unnamed “HK01 internal sources” as saying that the outlet’s owner Yu Pun-hoi ordered the reports published on Wednesday to be retracted.


- With respect to the media nowadays, the rule is to always go to the source and then you can re-read the readings and interpretations imposed by the reporters/editors. For example, you should always read the judge's reason for a verdict instead of the newspaper's 100 word summary written in accordance with the political position of the newspaper.

In this case, HK01 has provided the photocopy of the original document written in English.

(HK01 https://www.hk01.com/%E6%B8%AF%E8%81%9E/140801/-%E5%85%AD%E5%9B%9B%E5%AF%86%E6%AA%94-%E8%8B%B1%E5%BC%95%E4%B8%AD%E5%9C%8B%E5%9C%8B%E5%8B%99%E9%99%A2%E6%88%90%E5%93%A1-27%E8%BB%8D%E6%8E%83%E5%B0%84-%E5%AD%B8%E7%94%9F-%E5%A3%AB%E5%85%B5%E7%9A%86%E4%B8%AD%E6%A7%8D )

- (Hong Kong Citizen News https://www.hkcnews.com/article/8972/%E9%A6%99%E6%B8%AF01-%E5%85%AD%E5%9B%9B-%E4%BA%8E%E5%93%81%E6%B5%B7-8972/%E3%80%8A%E9%A6%99%E6%B8%AF01%E3%80%8B%E5%85%AD%E5%9B%9B%E8%A7%A3%E5%AF%86%E6%96%87%E4%BB%B6%E5%A0%B1%E9%81%93%E4%B8%80%E5%BA%A6%E4%B8%8B%E6%9E%B6-%E5%A4%9A%E8%99%95%E4%BF%AE%E6%94%B9%E5%A2%9E%E5%88%AA%E5%BE%8C%E5%86%8D%E5%88%8A%E5%87%BA ) December 21, 2017.

The HK01 report first issued at 830am had the heading: 英引中國國務院情報 27軍掃射軍人 逾萬平民死亡  (British cited Chinese State Council information; 27 Army shooting soldiers; more than 10,000 civilians dead). At around 11am, the link went to "404 OOPS! Can't locate web page." By night, the link was restored to a revised report with the heading 英引中國國務院人員:27軍掃射 學生、士兵皆中槍 (British cited Chinese State Council personnel: 27 Army shooting; students, soldiers both shot).

HK01 editor-in-chief Lung King-cheong said that the reason had nothing to do with any HK01 position with respect to the June 4th incident. Instead, there were problems with the reporting. "The report was not well-written." He said that the original report contained misleading content.

A comparison of the two versions (morning versus evening) showed these major differences:

(morning title) British cited Chinese State Council information; 27 Army shooting soldiers; more than 10,000 civilians dead

(evening title) (British cited Chinese State Council personnel: 27 Army shooting; students, soldiers both shot

(morning version) The HK01 reporter read  several thousands of declassified files at the National Archives (United Kingdom) and restored history

(evening version) The HK01 reporter read declassified files at the National Archives (United Kingdom)

(morning version) In one of the files dated the day after the bloody suppression by the People's Liberation Army, the British ambassador Alan Donald received information from a committee member of the Chinese State Council (member of State Council) with details on the clearance mission of the 27th Army, including "random" shooting" to kill students, civilians and unarmed soldiers of the Shenyang Military Region. The internal estimate of the State Council is that at least 10,000 citizens died.

(evening version) In one of the files dated the day after the clearance by the People's Liberation Army, the British ambassador Alan Donald received information from a member of the Chinese State Council about the clearance mission of the 27th Army. During the process, some students, civilians and unarmed soldiers of the Shenyang Military Region were shot.

(morning version) The identity of the source who cited the information from the Chinese State Council was blacked out.

(evening version) The identity of the source of information was blacked out, and therefore so far unknown

(morning version) In another telegraph from Donald to London, there is a detailed description of how a committee member of the Chinese State Council (member of State Council) provided information to a source for the British.

(evening version) In another telegraph from Donald to London, there is a detailed description of how a member of State Council provided information to a source for the British. Compared to other United Kingdom Foreign Office files, information from ordinary workers is most often attributed to "staff" and "member&quo