Hong Kong: The Citizens’ Battle for the preservation of the Rule of Law

The hundreds of thousands of citizens who marched on the streets of Hong Kong 15 days ago demonstrated that the Liberal democratic beliefs of the people of Hong Kong remain unchanged and strong despite Hong Kong’s transition (1997) from British domination to Chinese sovereignty.

The problem that caused the protests

Hong Kong’s long and politically entrenched civil liberties seem like a thorn in the eyes of China’s wholly politicized judicial system. The occasion of all these persistent demonstrations was a bill that was tabled for vote in Parliament of Hong Kong in which that specific bill allows for the issuance of suspected criminal offences from Hong Kong ‘s jurisdiction to China.

In fact, and behind this bill lies the opening of many “doors” that will lead sooner or later to contraction if not the abolition of the rule of law that exists in Hong Kong.

In such cases, in addition to the criminal offences related to expulsions of suspects to China, a legal precedent is created where this law will also allow the expulsion of political opponents or dissidents to the Communist Party of China (CCP), from Hong Kong to China for trial in China.

The term political rival or dissident of the CCP is blurred in its characterization and there are many interpretations. From the fact that one expresses itself freely until its refusal to follow specific labour rules that affect its personality, they are the different aspects of the definition of a political adversary.

So, the expulsion of a political opponent or dissident of the CCP could be made by various false accusations and accusations or unfounded slander against any political opponents, asking through these lies their immediate deportation in China.

In such a case of application of this bill, it indirectly abolishes the rule of law of Hong Kong by denying the inalienable right of the citizen to defend himself in the face of the independent civil justice.

by Thanos S. Chonthrogiannis-https://liberalglobe.com

Hong Kong: View of Central and Victoria Harbor from Victoria Peak
Photo by Author: Samtri on fr. Wikipedia, licensed public domain,
Source: Originally from fr. wikipedia & janvier 2006 a 15:38 Samtri 1280×960 (564×49)
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Public_domain

Government stance and protests

The Republic of Hong Kong is already under parole. This is because the Prime Minister of Hong Kong must have received Chinese approval to take over his duties, while only half the seats in the Parliamentary house are occupied after elections.

The recent Hong Kong protesters are very similar to the protesters of the French ‘yellow vests ‘ movement. Their similarity lies in the fact that both movements of demonstrators are fighting for the political freedoms of their country and their participation in social welfare, which presupposes the existence of independent political expediency of the rule of law.

Their differences lie that the movement of the Hong Kong protesters is fighting for the preservation of its civil liberties and the preservation/safeguarding of the rule of law, while the “yellow vests” movement is fighting for its equal participation in social well-being of their country which includes a better quality of life (low cost of living in relation to their salaries, securing well-paid jobs, etc.) so that they and their families can start dreaming again.

The effects of Chinese policy on Hong Kong

But the problem in Hong Kong comes from the Chinese policy that wants to exercise its power by applying a policy of “deciding and ordering” to make their political opponents disappear. The situation that is gradually shaping up in Hong Kong is a bad precedent for Taiwan, which monitors the happenings with concern, further increasing the questioning her about any future union with China.

Because of its size (economic, population, social, military, political, etc.) China cannot accept that there should be an independent system of justice on its territory other than the profoundly politicized judiciary system that exists in the Chinese mainland.

China implements an administrative system based on an authoritarian capitalist system which has nothing to do with communism and its results and as applied by its followers during the 20th Century in several countries including China. For example, in the fact that the ownership of the means of production belongs to the people something that Communism was doing, it does not apply in today’s China, as employment contracts are concluded between employees and companies/employers.

What should be done

As the trade war between the US and China continues and intensified, China’s economy will begin to present the usual problems of the world’s developed economies. More specifically:

1. Increased unemployment due to increased labour costs that will force many companies to transfer their business activities and, above all, their production to other countries at lower labour costs.

2. Increasing the individual disposable income (PPP per capita) of Chinese citizens will mean demands from the social base to the country’s administration, for increasingly better public services to citizens (e.g. health, transport, education, etc.).

3. The intensity of the trade war can increase the pace of Chinese business bankruptcies by increasing more effectively the spectrum of unemployment across the Chinese territory.

This social pressure can very easily be transformed into a social uprising since Chinese society finds that its demands are not met. Of course, any harsh treatment of social rebellion by the Chinese government would be mishandling, because it would give the other countries the right to impose even stricter measures, from existing customs duties due to commercial warfare, to the economy of China.

Tackling this ‘social unrest’ is much better achieved by granting civil liberties to society and by the independence of the justice system by the government mechanism.

We would therefore suggest to the Chinese government that it should provide for and carry out an important political reform in Chinese society.

1. The various groups-members of the Communist Party of China (CCP) each representing and different “currents” of communist theory and implementation will must be transformed into autonomous and independent political parties that will claim their election by asking for the vote of Chinese citizens based on their program and always through elections from society and throughout the Chinese territory.

Essentially, the CCP ceases to exist as the only party in China and is transformed into many small and large parties competing among the citizens’ vote in the elections which will take place across the Chinese mainland.

2. The CCP principals could designate any new Chinese constitution, which should explicitly refer to the rights of citizens in every facet of their social and political life (the right to work, the right to healthcare, the right to free expression, the right to free education etc.).

3. The CCP with its current principles will now exist as a framework of principles of the new Chinese Constitution and of course not as a party which will no longer exist.

4. The elected members of the Chinese Parliament will be elected by 2/3 of the elections that will take place throughout the Chinese territory and the remaining 1/3 of members of the Chinese Parliament will be elected by ballot of state, where each party in ballot will report a list of widely recognized/eminent persons who will represent it.

The Chinese citizens will vote for their party of choice for the elections of state based on the choice of these persons.

5. The supreme administration of Chinese justice should also be elected by the people. Each supreme judge candidate for the highest positions of justice should expose his work until then to the members of the Chinese Parliament while transmitting the presentation of his work on television, radio and internet.

In this way, every Chinese citizen will have the opportunity to be informed of the work of each candidate in order to be able to choose whom to vote in the justice elections. 50% of the choice will be based on 2/3 of the votes of the members of Parliament and the other 50% from the result of the elections that will emerge throughout the Chinese territory. The result will be binding on the Chinese President of the People’s Republic of China since he will be the one to designate the leadership of the Supreme courts.   

The results of these reforms will skyrocket global confidence in China, thus attracting even more capital and companies into Chinese territory.

It should be understood that the political reforms should be implemented before the pressure of ‘social steam’ and for whatever reason, in the Chinese society because of the aforementioned problems-requirements (increase in unemployment, high cost of living in relation to wage levels, better working and health conditions, etc.).

Otherwise the outbreak of Chinese society will turn not only to the Chinese government itself but also to the overall structure of the CCP.

Thanos S. Chonthrogiannis

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