This I did not expect. Hundreds of Law Society members (basically registered solicitors) have already signed up to vote for a motion of no confidence in Law Society president Ambrose Lam. Of course, Lam’s statement endorsing China’s requirement that Hong Kong judges have to ‘love the country’ and that they are ‘government administrators’, speaks for itself. However, Hong Kong is not exactly known for the courage to stand up for one’s beliefs – even the 2003 protests, I always believed, were in large part driven by economic considerations after the property bubble had burst, and after SARS struck. But this is different. These are people who have quite a bit to lose standing up to say ‘no’.
Interesting time. Let’s see what sort of turnout next week’s Silent March will generate. On current evidence, it will be substantial.
After what seems like an eternity, Justice Au of the High Court has granted two individuals leave to apply for judicial review against the government’s decision to deny HKTV a TV licence. I discussed the case and the general problem of the transfer of political decisions to the courtroom here.
While this green light is generally good news, I have a suspicion that these two individuals will lose their case. Usually these days – after the threshold for allowing judicial review cases was raised some years ago – the leave hearing more or less doubles as a hearing on the substantive arguments. In other words, if you get leave you have a pretty good chance of wining the case. However, based on what has been reported so far (the judge need not give reasons if the decision is to grant leave) and on my personal experiences of Justice Au, my sense is that he has already made up his mind not to overturn the decision, in spite of allowing the review to go ahead. One thing I found a bit odd was that Justice Au apparently highlighted the fact that HKTV had begun producing a number of drama series. That may well be true but it is really a very preliminary point. The main issue of course is whether any of the grounds for successful JR are met. The possible grounds are that the government’s decision was 1) illegal, 2) improper/unreasonable or 3) that there was procedural impropriety. So unless there is proof that the CY Leung decided in complete defiance of the consultants’ reports etc, I don’t see this case succeeding. Having said that, I have no doubt that CY Leung took an unreasonable decision based purely on political motivations, I simply cannot see how that can be proven in court – and even if it could be, whether this judge (or any other judge) would go as far as saying that CY Leung made an unreasonable or improper decision based on his political predilection.
It never ceases to amaze how naive/self-indulgent westerns politicians, media and other elitist types are when it comes to China. The game is an old and tired one, but people never seems to learn.
This time around it is the Chinese Premier Li Keqiang who is visiting the UK with full honours, meet & greet with the Queen and all the rest of it, and somehow The Telegraph/David Cameron cannot quite seem to grasp why (or even IF) the guest just might be engaging in mockery and derision against the host. This comes after China’s Global Times went on an absolute rampage about Britain being a “petty”, “eccentric” and “declining” empire. I hate to say it, but the emphatic answer is yes, Li Keqiang and China are ridiculing Britain and that is just how the game is played. In China “face” is everything. What these elitist types keep failing to understand is that making someone lose face is part of the same coin. This means that even making someone lose face is done by way of apparently saving face. After all: saving face is everything. In other words, of course Li Keqiang was always going to give David Cameron, the Queen etc some face by showing up, smiling and shaking hands, and then, the next morning you’ll get the real score via some surrogate, e.g. the Global Times.
The Telegraph headlined it this way: “China tabloid attack hints at Beijing attitude towards ‘declining’ Britain”. Exactly which part about the attack is a hint? Not only is anything and everything in the Global Times writes pre-approved by the powers that be but the timing is coordinated for maximum effect and humiliation. When will the west finally get it and stop prostrating itself before China?
After drifting a bit too much into philosophical chitchat the previous week, last week’s ‘In Conversation’ was back to its very best. The guest this time was Ada Wong, who has dabbled in all sorts of industries and endeavours over the years.
Money quote: “Hong Kong is not known for innovation because we don’t believe in innovation. We believe in property speculation and stock speculation.”
How sad, how true.
Lee Cheuk-yan quote
Lee Cheuk-yan right of course – first you have to chose a pre-determined candidate (or two) and then you have to wait to see whether the very same people who pre-determined that candidate approve your choice. Although, I would have a more suitable analogy would involve the word castration.