(v4.0)

[This website collects certain news and commentary on Hong Kong politics, society and culture. English-news sources exist in abundance, such as South China Morning Post, Hong Kong Free Press, Reddit on Occupy Central, etc). This websites provides transcriptions/translations from Chinese-language sources, including both mainstream media (Hong Kong newspapers, television and radio) and social media (Facebook, YouTube, blogs, discussion forums).]

(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 Kongs 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.

- (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 Sundays 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 party bosses had reached the consensus among themselves. 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 circumscribed by a small number of faceless citizens and party bosses?

- "Genuine universal suffrage" was the attractive slogan of a distant dream. 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 the candidates will cannibalize each other. Therefore the choices must be reduced to one and only one pro-democracy candidate per election, with the choices being guided by the 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 Cheungs 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 schools 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 Scotlands 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 Bristols 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.

Mathiesons premature departure followed years of tension and clashes between the universitys governing body and students amid allegations of political interference in academic freedom at Hong Kongs 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 Educations latest ranking of universities put HKU at No 43, while Edinburgh sits at No 27.

Mathieson raised the issue of HKUs 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 worlds 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 rankings 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 Kongs 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 facultys 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 universitys 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 HKUs 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 dentrist to be a "very unhappy place with a culture of allegation and counter-allegation 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 expos 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 Peter Mathieson. 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 I have ever seen." Very few HKU vice-chancellor fail to finish their first term. Slightly after 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 200 academic staff members and obtained about 600 completion. 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.

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 won over some better qualified candidates of Chinese descent.

In retrospect, foreigners such as Peter Mathieson knew nothing about Hong Kong (especially politics), feel 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 more foreigners in future.

(SCMP) A turbulent tenure: HKU vice chancellor reflects on his time at the helm of Hong Kongs oldest university. By Stuart Lau. January 8, 2018.

In his simple, uninviting office overlooking Sai Ying Puns 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 Kongs vice chancellor said, unmoved by a photographers seating advice.

More discomfiting for Mathieson, due to step down this month, were the challenges he faced when dealing with student leaders, colleagues on HKUs 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 Kongs 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, Lis failure to engage him on whether to renew his contract prompted him to take up the offer to become University of Edinburghs vice chancellor, while he also considered the recent birth of his grandchild in London and his mothers ailing health before she died.)

Mathiesons 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 Mathiesons support of the candidacy.

As you know I havent always got my way in the council. That has led to some difficult situations, Mathieson said. Im only one member of the council so I have one vote in the council, so I cant dominate the councils decisions.

Chan, who is Hong Kongs 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 didnt 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.

Mathiesons stint coincided with a period when Hongkongers voiced unprecedented disapproval over the chief executives power to appoint council members.

A three-member expert panel was subsequently set up by the council to review the universitys governance structure in 2016, but the suggestion from two of the experts to strip the chief executives 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 citys top official.

As he prepared to leave Hong Kong, Mathieson refused to be drawn into the debate over whether the citys 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.

Mathiesons peers leading the citys 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 Kongs 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 Id 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 Id 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 HKUs rising global rankings in recent years. He also called it a very lasting contribution for new deans to be chosen for seven of the universitys 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 dont 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 youve 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 Ive worked very hard whilst I was here. Its a busy job its a seven-day-a-week job and Ive always worked hard and Ive given it every ounce of my energy. And Ive always tried to do the best.

(SCMP) Outgoing HKU chief says Beijing officials meet him all the time and wishes higher education wasnt 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 Beijings 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 HKUs 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 Kongs 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 HKUs 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 wasnt such a complicating factor.

Mathieson claimed to have conversations all the time with Beijings 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 Kongs education secretaries as well as representatives from the mainlands 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 dont regard that as unreasonable.

Mathieson conceded he sometimes held a minority voice on the universitys governing body.

I havent always got my way in the council, and thats 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 dont need a job. Ive got a perfectly good job and Im 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 HKUs 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. Its a symbol of international collaboration between similar universities. Its 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 HKUs 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.

(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 Shenzhen. Mathieson must know that this type of contact is normal and essential. He gave no hints 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 fail 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 earn 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 Kongs (HKU) governing body, Arthur Li, on Wednesday repeatedly accused the South China Morning Post of publishing fake news in its interview with the institutions outgoing vice-chancellor, Peter Mathieson.

Li alleged that the article misquoted Mathieson as saying Beijings liaison office in the city regularly interfered with his work, even though this was not how the Post reported the university dons 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 Beijings 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 citys media organisations present, Li took out his mobile phone and read out his exchange of text messages with Mathieson.

Peter, you didnt 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 Mathiesons 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, Mathiesons response to the question on whether he had contact with the liaison office was: Oh yes, several times. Thats 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 Im 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 Mathiesons admission that he had received advice from senior government officials in the city.

He had said: Yes Ive talked to senior officials. Ive talked to chief executive, both chief executives that Ive 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 thats my job.

But during Wednesdays studio session, Li, a member of Chief Executive Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngors 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 Mathiesons 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 Laus question on whether he had intended to renew Mathiesons 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 Universitys principal and vice-chancellor next month. He told the Post that several factors made him respond to Edinburgh Universitys interest in him Lis failure to engage him on a possible contract renewal, his mothers 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 its good for Hong Kongs academic development?

A: Ive 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 shouldnt ever get in the way of the university dealing with its core mission, delivering excellence in teaching, research and knowledge exchange. Thats our job and politics is ever present and its 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 wasnt 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 dont have to take any notice of the political context I think would be unrealistic. I do think that people like me Im a kidney doctor, medical researcher and teacher by background. Im not trained to be a media expert, Im not trained to be a politician, and Ive had to learn and do things that Ive probably never expected as a university leader. But again I dont think its only true in Hong Kong. I think youve seen this happening with the universities all over the world, so we have to recognise that thats 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 Ive 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. Im put under pressure by everybody. So Ive been put under pressure by politicians all the way across the political spectrum. Ive 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 dont 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 doesnt mean I [am] necessarily going to agree with them. But obviously I will listen to peoples 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. Ive 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 thats my job.

Q: But any advice from senior officials?

A: Yes Ive talked to senior officials. Ive talked to chief executive, both chief executives that Ive 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 thats my job.

Q: But you dont 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. Thats 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 Im 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

(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 HKUs 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 Beijings 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 wasnt 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 Mathiesons 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 Kongs 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 unions 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 unions 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 unions 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 youre a student union leader, its expected that youll 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 HKUs 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 citys 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 institutions 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 taken over by the minions of the China Liaison Office.

In recent years, famous HKU SU president 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-an, 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 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 be 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/Community Party and that means she cannot be allowed to take up any position with any organization in Hong Kong.

- 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 understand Cantonese. He could not help turning around and 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 discrmination.

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 who are new immigrants but 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 Type 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 years. 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.

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 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?

- How come the Hong Kong Bar Association have nothing to say about these other cases? Why are they 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 learn about the specifics of the case and therefore they won't ever comment.

- (SCMP) Bar association condemns insults directed at non-Chinese judge in Hong Kong who jailed senior policeman. January 7, 2017.

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 all 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 "Cheena running dogs."

Oh why oh why didn't they make it 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.

- Why does judges get preferential treatment? In Hong Kong, you can freely criticize everybody else from the restaurant waiter 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.

- (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 Chus 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 havent 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 are have political leanings.

After the public response over the sentence given to the seven police officers, the public is 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 is rewarded. 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 to precipitate Occupy Central. After all, they clearly broke the law. At the trile, the judge heaped praises on them: "They are still young, they are filled with ideals, they care genuinely about society and they did not do this for personal interests." It was as if the defendants were heroes and the court was 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 always let off?

- (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 Student Union election had 14 posts with no candidates, including all the cabinet members. In recent years, the Hong Kong University Student 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 resum shows that you were in the Student Union cabinet, it will be assumed that you are a pro-independence radical activist. That limits your employment opportunities.

- The above is an assumption. There are no data to support it one way or the other. But it provides an explanation why there is little or not interest in the openings.

- 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 deligitimized 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 expertise 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 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 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 was no reason why a person cannot sit on the stairwell. The bus is 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.
- 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 to Star Ferry, 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 when 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 Years 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 dont 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] dont have an excuse to clear us out, because our march will not have ended. Secondly, its clear that re-opening Civic Square is a piece of political engineering by Carrie Lam. I dont 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 marchs 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.

Videos:

RTHK - Viu TV - TVB - NOW TV

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 Years 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 arent 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 dont 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 platform. 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. They went over and tried to stomp on him. A blond-haired white guy threw his own body to cover the assault victim. Outraged citizens condemn the thugs, who stood there and smirked. 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 more 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 Years 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.

- 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 do not apply to them.

- (Oriental Daily) January 3, 2018.

Over the past several demonstration marches, the political parties had pledged their receipts to the Justice Defense Fund. But the practice was 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? 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 Peoples 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 yesterdays 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 HKSARs 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 Peoples 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 Peoples 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 Peoples 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 Peoples 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 Arrangements 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 Peoples 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 Peoples 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 HKBAs 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 Councils consideration by the Bar Councils 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 HKBAs 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 Councils discussion are incorrect and misleading. The HKBA strongly denounces the misrepresentations made to the media and the disclosure of HKBAs internal material in breach of confidentiality. It is deeply regrettable that this may have caused the public to misunderstand the HKBAs 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 Governments 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 Kongs 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 citys rule of law.

Dykes who was chairman of the Bar Council, the associations 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 citys 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 citys 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 Lams 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 a extreme 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.

- 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.

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 Associations 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 Peoples Congress Standing Committee relating to that.

Dont get me wrong; I respect the associations 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 dont 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 logic.

- 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 half fell off. 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 road users. 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 Greenpeaces 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.

Comments:

- (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 on suspicion of 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 arouses public attention. I suggest that Greenpeace and other environmental protection group find some legal but not dangerous ways to expressing 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 inappropriate. Nobody wants to be resisters get injured in dangerous situations. Nobody wants to see other innocent people get hurt or even die.

- (SCMP) Liking, sharing Facebook posts wont 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 opinion 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 spend 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 have 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) get 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 cause was. And now the people are hating Greenpeace and whatever their cause was.

Same old noble goals, wrong methods and bad consequences.

- Well, actually, the most important thing is to have skin as thick as a dinosaur's high. 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."

- 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 when I am 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 HK01s 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 Thursdays 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 newspapers 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, Chinas 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, HK01s 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 outlets owner Yu Pun-hoi ordered the reports published on Wednesday to be retracted.

Comments:

- 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" can be translated as "member" or "staff."

(morning version) At the time, there were 14 committee members within the Chinese State Council, including the premier, vice premiers and the Foreign Affairs Committee members.

(evening version) [This entire sentence was deleted]

(morning version) Donald's telegraph said that the information from this senior Chinese person has proven to be accurate in the past. The source also classified individual information as FACT, SPECULATION or RUMOUR.

(evening version) Donald's telegraph said that the information from this senior Chiense person has proved to be accurate in the past. The document also listed clearly that the Chinese source has classified individual information as FACT, SPECULATION or RUMOUR.

(morning version) The document pointed out that the "atrocities" were carried out by the 27th Army from Shanxi. 60% of those soldiers are illiterate. The commander of the 27th Army was Yang Zhenhua, the nephew of State Chairman and Central Military Commission vice-chairman Yang Shangkun. That is, he is the son of Yang Baibing. The 27th Army soldiers were told that they were on a training mission in Beijing to be filmed. They were not allowed to watch news for the ten days preceding the clearance.

(evening version) [The entire paragraph was deleted.]

(morning version) The armored vehicles arrived and opened fire. Unarmed soldiers and students were shot to death.

(evening version) The armored vehicles arrived and opened fire. Unarmed soldiers and students were shot.

(morning version) Students understood they were given one hour to leave square but after five minutes APCs attacked. Students linked arms but were mown down including soldiers. APCs then ran over bodies time and time again to make quote PIE quote and remains collected by bulldozen.

(evening version) [The entire paragraph was replaced.] During the clearance on June 4th, there were reports of army tanks running over students, including the student Fang Zheng who narrated his own experience. But there has rarely been any information, reports or oral narration of tanks running over soldiers by mistake.

(morning version) "The cruel and bloody night" 10,000 estimated dead

(evening version) There are multiple versions of the number of deaths

(morning version) The source inside the Chinese State Council confirmed that Yang Shangkun is friendly with Deng Xiaoping

(evening version) The person quoted in the document confirmed that Yang Shangkun is friendly with Deng Xiaoping.

(morning version) Finally the document pointed out that the State Council estimated that the minimum number of civilian deaths is 10,000 (minimum estimate of civilian dead 10,000).

(evening version) Finally, that State Council person estimated that the minimum number of civilian deaths is 10,000 (minimum estimate of civilian dead 10,000).

(morning version) Over the years, there have been many versions of the number of deaths. The Chinese Red Cross estimated between 2,600 and 30,000. In 2014, <Next Weekly> cited declassified White House files which cites an informant within the Chinese martial law forces who cited internal Chinese documents to say that 8,726 persons were killed at Tiananmen and Changan Avenue. Together with the 1,728 killed in Beijing outside of Tiananmen, the total number of deaths should be 10,454. This is similarly to the estimate from the Chinese State Council source cited by the British.

(evening version) [The entire paragraph was replaced.] In 2008, Tiananmen Mothers representative Ding Zilin summarized that the total number of dead was 188 after 19 years of searching. Of these, 71 were students. She emphasized that this was surely not the total number of dead, and the bodies of 13 of these have not been found yet.

...

HK01 editor-in-chief Lung King-cheong said that the original report was inaccurate and misleading in places. For example, the "member of State Council" is not necessarily a "committee member 委員" as in the original report. Even the "staff 員工" in the revised report is not necessarily accurate but at least it can be interpreted as a "member成員". Since this was the principal source of information, it must be accurately presented.

Who decided to make these changes? Did the HK01 owner Yu Pun-hoi take part? LUng King-cheong replied: "I don't want to tell you because this is an internal matter. Why should I tell you? Yu Pun-hoi, Lung King-cheong and Ernest Chi (Executive Editor-in-Chief) will bear the responsibility for these revisions." He added: "Whether Yu Pun-hoi took part or not is unimportant. Because I told you what I just said as the Editor-in-Chief. I am good enough to tell you. This is the way HK01 is."

Does this case involve editorial independence? "What is editorial independence? I want to ask you just what is editorial independence? If this same essay were to be placed in either Wen Wei Po or Apple Daily, then Wen Wei Po and Fat Man Lai will have their own ways of handling it. If Wen Wei Po does it their way, is that editorial independence? If Fat Man Lai does it his way, is that editorial independence? Come on! Is that what you think editorial independence is about? Is the reporter or the editor independence? Or is it decided by me as the Editor-in-Chief?"

Why was the estimated number of civilian deaths excised? Lung King-cheong said that the archived file presented one version. "We believe that you can have other versions that you can bring out. When you write this way, you are merely referring to one archived file. As a reporter, you should treat the archives ... you can say so at the time, you can say so in 1989, but today many other facts have emerged. You must be able to make a judgment about this. As a reporter, you cannot treat the archived filed as the whole truth."

Our reporter tried to contact the reporter who wrote this report, but he declined to respond.

- With respect to the three-page document sent by British Ambassador Alan Donald:

1. (BLACKED OUT SENTENCE). He was passing on information given him by a close friend who is currently a member of the State Council. This source has previously proved reliable and was careful to separate fact from speculation and rumour.

So immediately the WHO in the WHO WHAT WHY WHEN WHERE HOW is blocked off for the sake of confidentiality.

In the original HK01 report, the reporter took "member of the State Council" to be a member of the standing committee of the State Council, which at the time had 14 members "including the premier, the vice premiers and the Foreign Affairs Committee members." As such, these persons have the right and need to know all levels of information.

But more generally a "member of the State Council" could be any staff worker ranging from a janitor to a secretary to a minister and all the way up to the premier himself.

So who is this BLACK OUT person? What is his level and access to information? You can't tell. So you cannot trust this person based upon any credentials.

Instead, you will have to scrutinize his information. First of all, does it make sense? Secondly, has it been corroborated? If it could not be validated immediately, this is 2017 now. Has anything emerged from other sources in the 28 years since?

- This person was careful to separate fact from speculation and rumour.

9. FACT. Beijing MR commander had refused to supply outside armies with food, water or barracks. Source said many barracks in Beijing but note TV pictures of tents. 27 Army were using dum-dum bullets. 27 Army snipers shot many civilians on balconies, streetsweepers, etc for target practice. Beijing hospitals ordered had been ordered to accept only security force casualties. So far 6 foreign students and 23 foreign journalists had been killed in the fighting (note: We have no evidence of this).

What is this rubbish!? This reliable source promised to separate fact from speculation and rumour. Under FACT, he reports: "6 foreign students and 23 foreign journalists had been killed in the fighting." The British ambassador Alan Donald notes that they have no evidence of this. Nevertheless Donald forwarded this telegraph as being FACT from a "reliable source." This is 28 years later now. Nobody has ever come up with anything about the 6 dead foreign students and 23 dead foreign journalists. So how much trust can we have in this anonymous source's FACTs now?

- Did the Beijing Military Region commander ostracize the 27th Group Army? Our source said yes, because he saw TV pictures of tents. Now that is FACT and not SPECULATION/RUMOUR.

- 6. 27 Army ordered to spare noone and shot wounded SMR soldiers. 4 wounded girl students begged for their lives but were bayoneted. A 3 year old girl was injured but her mother was shot as she went to her aid as were six others who tried. 1000 survivors were told they could escape via Zhengyi Lu but were then mown down by specially prepared M/G positions. Army ambulances who attempted to give aid were shot up as was a Sino-Japanese hospital ambulance. With medical crew dead wounded, driver attempted to ram attackers but was blown to pieces with anti tank weapon. In further attack APCs caught up with SMR straggler trucks, rammed and overturned them and ran over troops. During attack 27 Army officer shot dead by own troops apparently because he faltered. Troops explained they would be shot if they hadn't shot officer.

- This particular item was not classified under the FACT, SPECULATION or RUMOUR scheme. I personally pick RUMOUR, because the entire sequence sounded like a movie script with too many actors and too many viewpoints. The "member of the State Council" could not have witnessed all of this. So he must be relying on the reports from others. Who are these others?

The 27 Group Army is not going to write a report to the State Council about how they specially prepared M/G positions to mow down civilian survivors, or massacred Shenyang Military Region soldiers, or blew up ambulances, or executed their own officer. [Oh, don't forget about bayoneting the four wounded schoolgirls.]

And if the report comes from various other sources such as students, civilians or journalists, how does the State Council assess the their reliability then? If a member of the State Council Standing Committee does not know how to process information from multiple streams and sources, he/she should not be in that decision-making position.

It is 28 years later now. How would you assess the veracity of this list of atrocities? Not a scintilla of evidence! 1,000 survivors were mowed down in Zhengyi Lu by the 27th Group Army machine guns? They have no families?

- 11. FACT. Yang Shangkun and Deng Xiaoping were very close friends. Some members of the State Council considered that civil war is imminent. Qin Jiwei was forced unwillingly to appear in background on TV programme on 20 May to give aura of unity. Minimum estimate of civilian dead 10,000.

- Three pieces of gossip first in this enumeration of FACTs. Followed by the sexiest quote that made this a news story now: "Minimum estimate of civilian dead 10,000."

How about a little more of WHO WHAT WHEN WHERE HOW to make this more credible? Let me help you: "According to an urgent report submitted by the Beijing Public Security Bureau to the Ministry of Public Security which was forwarded to the Standing Committee of the State Council, the number of known deaths (including civilians, military, police and other government workers) within the Beijing city area between 00:00 June 3rd and 12:00 June 5th was 10,454."

- And what about the Butcher of Tiananmen Square Yang Zhenhua? Where did he go? There is no information on Yang Zhenhua anywhere either before or after June 4th 1989 -- nothing about him becoming the commander of the 27th Group Army, or leaving the post any time afterwards. Was he rewarded or punished for his actions? There is no clue. The biographies of Yang Shangcun and his half-brother Yang Shangzheng (aka Yang Baibing) do not refer to any Yang Zhenhua.

- People refer to the June 5th 2015 article in Next Weekly (see Boxun link) as corroboration of this latest declassified British document. Yes, it is a corroboration of some sort because the facts, speculations and rumours are largely IDENTICAL! This leaves two choices: either British ambassador Alan Donald copied an American report, or else the Americans copied Donald's report. In any case, plagiarism is not corroboration.

For example, the American documents reported this shocking story: About 1,000 students were told by the army that they can hide at Zhengyi Lu near the Peking Hotel. When they got there, they were shot by soldiers waiting in ambush.  Sounds exactly the same, doesn't it? But no one has ever offered the name of any student killed there.

More at Occupy Central Part 9


More at:

Occupy Central Part 1 (001-100)
Occupy Central Part 2 (101-200)
Occupy Central Part 3 (201-300)
Occupy Central Part 4 (301-400)
Occupy Central Part 5 (401-500)
Occupy Central Part 6 (501-600)
Occupy Central Part 7 (601-700)

Occupy Central Part 8 (701-800)
Occupy Central Part 9 (801-)

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