On the 17th, the Judiciary and Legal Affairs Committee of the Hong Kong Legislative Council discussed the government’s proposal to amend the “Legal Practitioners Ordinance”. When explaining the revision, the Secretary for Justice, Lam Ting-kwok, said that an application mechanism with multiple layers of screening, application and review will be established. The outside world believes that the Hong Kong government has set up numerous checkpoints, which is undoubtedly “rationalizing” the political review mechanism for overseas lawyers.
Lin Dingguo said that under the new proposal, the regulations apply to all cases involving national security, including criminal, civil and judicial review cases.
The processing mechanism is divided into two stages. Before an overseas lawyer applies to participate in a national security case, he must first obtain a letter of approval from the chief executive, and the applicant can then start the application process with the court. Before the court processes the application, it must also submit to the Chief Executive and obtain a certificate.
There is also a “review mechanism” in the amendment. Even if overseas lawyers are approved to serve as lawyers in the case, if new “national security risk considerations” emerge during the trial of the case, the court must also raise the issue on its own initiative or at the request of the Secretary for Justice. Review, and obtain a new certificate from the chief executive, during which the case must be temporarily put on hold.
Lin Dingguo also said that the regulations do not have retroactive effect. When asked whether he could hire an overseas lawyer for the Jimmy Lai case, he said, “I don’t comment on cases that are under legal proceedings.”
The incident aroused heated discussions among netizens.
Some netizens said, “It’s very simple…you can only accept government-appointed lawyers as defense lawyers (that’s fine). Everyone knows Yi Ming, so don’t talk too much (you don’t need to talk so much).”
Some netizens also satirized, “following the steps of the Iron Curtain countries”, “the party’s overreach of the law is (the) imperial decree.”
Ren Jianfeng, the former convener of Law and Politics, told Free Asia that the content of the NPC’s interpretation of the law is limited to cases involving “national security crimes” where the chief executive’s approval is required, but the Hong Kong government has expanded the scope of approval to include non- Criminal cases are definitely infinitely magnified by the Hong Kong government.
Ren Jianfeng pointed out that the new proposal actually “rationalized” the political review mechanism for overseas lawyers, reduced the court to a rubber stamp, and deprived the defendant of the right to choose.
Li Zhiying, founder of Next Media, involved in national security cases, causing controversy over the employment of overseas lawyers. The Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress of the Communist Party of China interpreted the “Hong Kong National Security Law” earlier, requiring the approval of the Hong Kong Chief Executive and issuing a certificate for national security cases before hiring overseas lawyers. Hong Kong The government is also required to amend the “Legal Practitioners Regulations” to cooperate.
Accelerated integration between China and Hong Kong?Li Jiachao’s visit to Beijing releases signal
The two sessions of the Communist Party of China closed a few days ago. Chief Executive Li Jiachao, who went to Beijing to attend the meeting, did not return to Hong Kong immediately. Instead, he paid non-stop visits to various central ministries and commissions for several days, which aroused the attention of the outside world.
According to the Hong Kong government news website, since the 14th, Li Jiachao has successively visited the Ministry of Finance, the Ministry of Science and Technology, the Ministry of Culture and Tourism, the General Administration of Customs, the Ministry of Commerce, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Ministry of Education, and the Ministry of Public Security.
During the meeting with officials of various ministries and commissions, Li Jiachao not only thanked Beijing for its support, but also expressed that he would fully cooperate with Beijing’s development strategy in terms of economy, national security, diplomacy, technology and education, promote cooperation between China and Hong Kong, and tell a good story about Hong Kong and China.
In the past three years, due to the Hong Kong government following the mainland’s zero-clearing policy and the implementation of the “Hong Kong version of the National Security Law”, a large number of Hong Kong local and overseas talents have flowed out, and Hong Kong’s international status has been declining.
After Li Jiachao took office, he actively pursued the patriots governing Hong Kong required by Beijing, and launched a series of policies to please the mainland and promote the integration of China and Hong Kong. At the same time, the mainland has also opened up mainland talents to come to Hong Kong for exchanges and visits in scientific research, culture and education, health care, law, business, etc. through the Greater Bay Area plan and other means. Concerns are growing that Hong Kong is gradually transforming into another big city in China.
Some analysts pointed out that Hong Kong is a bridge between the mainland and international exchanges, but the premise of being international is to serve Beijing’s interests. Li Jiachao’s visit to Beijing this time will further promote the all-round integration of China and Hong Kong, and help Beijing achieve the goal of “strictly controlling Hong Kong politically, reducing Hong Kong’s autonomy, and preventing Hong Kong from affecting the regime security of the mainland.”
At the beginning of the year, the National Security Department of the police searched and arrested many people at the “Hidden Market” in Yincheng shopping mall in Mong Kok. Three of them were charged with the crime of “conspiring to commit one or more acts with seditious intent”. The case was heard at West Kowloon Magistrates’ Courts on Friday (17th).
The three defendants are the male businessman Li Longxian (52 years old), who is the owner of the “Yingbai Mi Grocery Store”, and the other two are the accused pastor Jiang Jiawei (31 years old) and the female pet groomer Chen Shangen (48 years old), who assisted in the operation. .
The case states that the store posted on social platforms in December 2022 and announced that it would set up stalls in the market at the address from the same month to January of the following year. The post promotes an untitled, over 300-page publication about the Hong Kong anti-extradition incident in 2019, calling on the public to order and saying that it will be available at the stall.
During the period, three police officers disguised themselves as customers and bought the publication for 260 yuan. Later, the police searched the stall at the above address and three people were arrested.
In addition to including 47 publications without titles and related to the 2019 social movement, the prosecution also listed more than 2,000 items of goods as “environmental evidence.” However, the judge repeatedly questioned that the practice was unfair to the defendant. The prosecution finally clarified that it only prosecuted the publication and agreed to amend the content of the case.
Three defendants pleaded guilty to the charges. The case will be adjourned until next Monday (20th) for pleading and sentencing.
The “hidden bazaar” case is the largest raid since April last year. A few days ago, Beijing appointed Zheng Yanxiong, the head of the Chinese Communist Party’s commission in Hong Kong, as the head of the Liaison Office.
The Wall Street Journal stated that the “Hidden Bazaar” is a market that sells books, accessories and souvenirs that support democracy. A priority for the Hong Kong government.
The Hong Kong Film Directors Guild Annual Dinner and Annual Awards Ceremony was held in Tsim Sha Tsui on the evening of the 16th.
A total of seven awards were presented at the conference. Sammi Cheng, who had previously won Best Actress in the 29th Hong Kong Film Critics Society Awards, once again won the title with “Flowing Water and Falling Flowers”.
Louis Koo described Sammi Cheng as a complete winner, and after receiving the award, Sammi Cheng also shouted: “I’ve been affirmed, thank you very much.”
The Best Actor was won by Lau Ching Wan for “Detective War”, and the Best New Actor was won by Lin Nuo, a young South Asian actor in “Youth in the Day”. The new director is Ho Jut-tin, and Wai Ka-fai, who directed “Detective War”, won the “Best Director”. Zhang Tongzu was awarded the honorary award.
The controversial documentary “To My Nineteen Year Old” won the Best Film Award again after being awarded Best Film by the Society of Film Critics earlier. Director Maggie Cheung was absent, but Huang Hui, the film producer, delivered the award speech and said: “If time goes back, I will take this job without hesitation.”
The “Hong Kong Directors Guild Annual Awards” is regarded as the vane of the Hong Kong Film Awards. The outside world is concerned about whether Sammi Cheng and “For Me at 19” will win three awards at the Hong Kong Film Awards next month.