HK lawyers grill western media in complaint to UN

Top News | Staff reporter 28 Jul 2020

Some 116 lawyers signed a joint petition to the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, saying those who support the national security law to suppress violent protests are denied a voice in western media.

The lawyers, who are not named, said voices in support of the law have been "unfairly vilified and simplistically dismissed" as communist sympathizers, with incidents of protesters' violence under-reported in western media.

"When we see western commentators applauding the minority who have ripped apart Hong Kong's social fabric through violence and untrammeled demands for regime change, we are reminded of an English textbook from our Hong Kong schooldays - Lord of the Flies," said the lawyers, referring to the novel about a group of boys stranded on an island and their disastrous attempt to govern themselves.

"We only have one demand: all other countries should immediately stop interfering with our city's and our country's internal affairs," the lawyers said.

The lawyers said the security law has become one of the many weapons used by foreign politicians to bash China to extract political advantage.

The Chinese government passing the security law did not breach the Sino-British Joint Declaration and the law itself does not breach Hong Kong's Basic Law, the group said.

Most of the lawyers were born and bred in Hong Kong, according to the letter.

Although they are Chinese, many of them were educated in English and they were not brainwashed by Chinese media, clarifying that they were not "Chinese stooges."

"But isn't it pathetic that we have to defend our stance in this manner?" The lawyers said their letter is "to keep faith" with more than two million supporters of the security law as pro-Beijing politicians announced in June that they had collected 2.93 million signatures in support of the law.

"Two million-plus voices were not important enough to hit the radar of western media. Why? Because it's not news when the population supports their government and their country. It's boring. It doesn't sell. Plus it doesn't bring about regime change, which has been ingrained in the DNA of American foreign policy," they said.

The lawyers also mentioned that a national security law has been imposed in Macau for more than 11 years while personal freedoms in that other SAR in the past decade have been as strong as Hong Kong's. After the national security law for Hong Kong took effect on June 30, the United Nations human rights commission expressed alarm at the arrest of protesters during the July 1 handover rallies under the new law.

"We are alarmed that arrests are already being made under the new law," the UN human rights office said on Twitter. "Definitions of the offenses are vague and overly broad, which may lead to discriminatory or arbitrary interpretation and enforcement."

But representatives from more than 20 countries, including Russia and Laos, expressed support for the enactment of the law at the United Nations Human Rights Council in Geneva on July 1 and 2, following a joint statement that Cuba made on June 30 on behalf of 53 countries to welcome the passage of the law.

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