What our city lacks most is respect for the rule of law.
Not only do the people in power such as the chief executive often see our law as a tool to wipe out political opponents; our police, politicians and even the so-called “revolutionaries” are also blatantly bending the rules to serve their own purposes.
Not only our government leaders, but also some of the representatives we elected into office should be held equally accountable for the deterioration of the rule of law.
Their trampling on the rule of law is shredding the fabric of our society.
Luckily, there is still hope. The conviction of former chief executive Donald Tsang Yam-kuen and former member of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference Lew Mon-hung, who was just released from jail on Monday, indicates that the rule of law in our city remains largely intact and functioning, even though it has continued to come under attack from Beijing since the handover.
Both Tsang and Lew were given a fair trial, during which due process was fully observed, and they were both rightfully convicted by impartial juries which had reached their verdicts after weeks of trials as well as days of deliberation and scrutiny based on substantive evidence.
Justice has been served. Both received the punishment they deserved.
Unfortunately, both Tsang and Lew seemed to have no remorse for what they did, let alone be willing to reflect on their own mistakes and apologize to the public.
Worse still, some self-proclaimed guardians of social justice such as the hypocritical pan-democrats also echoed the load of nonsense pulled by Tsang and Lew and rallied to their defense, hoping that the public would buy into their stories.
For example, some pan-democratic propaganda apparatuses gave massive coverage of the petition letters submitted by pro-democracy heavyweights to the court asking for leniency on Donald Tsang, in an apparent effort to depict the pan-democrats as righteous and steadfast people who would always stand by their friends when they were in trouble.
That begs the question: How on earth could the pan-democrats justify standing by a corrupt official who has committed an outright breach of public trust and failed the people of Hong Kong?
Any act to plead leniency for Tsang amounts to an endorsement of his wrongdoing, and would send a very bad and misleading message to society, particularly our young people.
There is absolutely no moral or legal grounds for feeling sympathy for Donald Tsang. And all of us in this city should be thankful that he was eventually brought to justice.
His conviction illustrates that our city is still governed by the rule of law and we still have an impartial and transparent judiciary to deliver justice for all.
This is definitely something that we must treasure and defend.
Suffice it to say that Tsang’s conviction has helped restore public faith in the rule of law and judicial independence.
There is another opportunity lying right before the people of Hong Kong through which the rule of law can be further secured, and that is retired judge Woo Kwok-hing’s bid to become the next chief executive.
If he is elected into office, he might not be able to make a huge difference in terms of our democratization process, but his devotion to preserving the rule of law will definitely be unquestionable.
He is by far the only CE candidate who has vowed to launch a full-scale investigation into Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying over his failure to declare his receipt of HK$50 million from the Australian firm UGL once elected, while all other CE aspirants have avoided touching the issue.
I was thrilled to learn that Woo had managed to get the endorsement of some 160 Election Committee members and become an official CE candidate.
Because that means hope for our city and the rule of law!
This article appeared in the Hong Kong Economic Journal on Feb. 28
Translation by Alan Lee
[Chinese version 中文版]
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