My Valentine’s prayer for Mr and Mrs Bowring

February 15, 2023 10:38
Photo: RTHK

Spare a thought for Claudia Mo Man-ching, especially this Valentine’s Day.

The former legislator has been remanded for nearly two years in the ongoing largest national security trial.

What made it even worse was her 80-year-old husband Philip Bowring, a well-respected veteran journalist was in the intensive care unit after catching coronavirus earlier this month, according to online media reports.

Leslie Chan Ka-long, her former assistant, urged Mo to be released on bail to visit Bowring based on humanity.

According to Hong Kong Economic Journal, Mo would plead guilty in the Hong Kong 47 national security trial, but she has yet to instruct her lawyer to apply for leave.

Hong Kong's largest national security trial involving 47 of the city's most high-profile democracy advocates, began last week but most defendants were arrested since 2021, raising eyebrows if the legal procedures take too long for them.

Only 16 out of the 47 are still defending their cases in the hearing that could last for two months.

There is no precedent for the accused to be released on bail because of the spouse’s situation but democrat Wu Chi-wai was allowed to attend his father’s funeral in May 2021.

But assuming Mo can be released on bail to take care of her husband, she might see more make-up time in prison if her sentence turns out to be longer than her time served.

Bowring is a veteran journalist and also a historian. A former editor of Far Eastern Economic Review for 17 years, he co-founded Asia Sentinel and was a regular contributor to International Herald Tribune (now New York Times International Edition) and South China Morning Post.

An honorary member of the Society of Publishers in Asia, which praised Bowring’s lifework “embodies the highest standard of journalistic integrity”, Bowring wrote an opinion piece on Singapore’s paramount leader Lee Kuan Yew that led to a penalty and an apology from New York Times.

Bowring is a distant relative to former governor Sir John Bowring whom he wrote a book titled “Free Trade’s First Missionary: Sir John Bowring in Europe and Asia”.

Yours truly has yet to meet Bowring in person but was told by a Foreign Correspondents’ Club member that he was emotional every time he mentioned he had to go a long way to visit his wife in Lo Wu Correctional Institution.

How we wish they could meet each other face-to-face as soon as possible.

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EJ Insight writer