China’s Trojan horse: Hong Kong’s new extradition arrangement puts foreigners at risk
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China’s Trojan horse: Hong Kong’s new extradition arrangement puts foreigners at risk

August 21, 2019


Are you an expat living in Hong Kong? Or maybe you have a loved one who is? Is visiting the Pearl of Orient on your bucket list? Or perhaps you are just a kindred soul who cares about Hong Kong and its people? If your answer is “yes” to one or more of those questions, this is a video for you. Hi, I am Vickie, a Hong Kong lawyer and a spokesperson of the Progressive Lawyers Group. In February of this year, the Hong Kong government proposed amendments to the city’s extradition laws Under the government’s proposal, anyone in Hong Kong – whether visitor or resident – can become a subject of extradition to any jurisdiction in the world including places that have poor human rights records and/or dubious legal systems. What that means is that a foreign jurisdiction can request the Hong Kong government to arrest and send back a suspect who has entered Hong Kong to face criminal trial in the requesting jurisdiction Sounds legit, right? I mean, what’s wrong with sending a person back to the place where he/she is a criminal suspect to stand trial? I hope the answer is that easy, but it’s not. If you are from a jurisdiction that has a robust legal system that upholds the rule of laws, then you are very lucky. Unfortunately, there are people who come to Hong Kong from jurisdictions that have a legal system that leaves a lot to desire for. We are particularly worried about what that means for Hong Kong when China is the jurisdiction that requests for an extradition As you may already know, Hong Kong is a SAR of China and is geographically situated just a door step away from the rest of the Mainland. What is very troubling is that, judging from China’s track records, there may be a real prospect of China using the backdoor that is opened by the Government’s proposed amendments to persecute dissidents, political activists, “foreign security threats” or simply anyone the Chinese government perceives as being an eye-sore. And Gosh, do they have lots of eye-sores! You may think, “What does that have to do with me? I have never committed a crime in China. Heck, I have never even set foot in it!” Well, you would be right to have that line of thinking if you are speaking of a place that has laws that don’t extend beyond its national boundaries. But the bad news is, China is not such a place. Under the Chinese criminal law, a foreigner can commit a Chinese criminal offence even if the act in question is committed outside of China. China WILL have jurisdiction over such an act even if it amounts to a criminal offence in the place where the act is done, provided the same act also amount to a criminal offence that carries a punishment of not less than 3 years imprisonment in China. That means, even if you are a foreign national who resides somewhere on the other side of the globe, China can still request the jurisdiction that you are in to send you to China to stand trial. Under its current laws, Hong Kong cannot extradite a person suspected of having committed a Chinese criminal offence to China because: (1) Hong Kong and China have separate legal jurisdictions under the principle of “one country, two systems”; and (2) Hong Kong does not have an existing extradition treaty with mainland China. But all that will change with the passing of the government’s proposed amendments that enables Hong Kong to extradite a suspect to China under its own laws. What’s wrong with standing trial in China, you may ask? What’s the big fuss? For a starter, it may help for you to know that the conviction rate in Chinese courts was 99.9% in 2016 according to the Telegraph. Now, if you go search Google for travel information on China, you will see the US government has issued warning about the possibility of laws being arbitrarily enforced in China. Canada, too, has issued a similar warning. Perhaps, it is no surprise that the Canadian government would issue such warning when 2 Canadian citizens have been thrust into the global limelight because of their arrests by the Chinese government following the arrest of Huawei’s CFO, Meng Wanzhou, by the Canadian government in Vancouver, Canada. Michael Kovrig, a former diplomat, and Michael Spavor, a business consultant, both Canadian citizens living in China, have been detained by the Chinese government for the allegation of espionage since December 2018. Since their arrests, the whereabout of Kovrig and Spavor has been a mystery since they are being remanded and confined in secret detention centers. They have been denied access to lawyers and visits from their families. The Canadian government has condemned the detention of the two men as being “arbitrary and politically motivated”. As you can see, the right to fair trial is not something that is guaranteed by the Chinese government. If you find what I have been telling you so far quite worrying, you are not alone. On 24 May, the European Union Office in Hong Kong mounted a formal diplomatic protest against the Hong Kong government’s proposed amendments. On the same day, a bipartisan group of eight lawmakers from the United States wrote to the Chief Executive of Hong Kong to warn her about the irreparable damage the proposed amendments will have on rights and liberty of business people, journalists, and foreign nationals transiting, visiting, or residing in Hong Kong. On 30 May, the governments of Canada and the United Kingdom issued a joint statement to voice their concerns for the rights and liberty of their citizens in Hong Kong that may become compromised by the passing of the proposed amendments You would think that for something that is so drastic and controversial, the government would have conducted a thorough public consultation, right? Well, yes, the government did conduct a publication consultation, but guess how long the consultation period was? 3 months? 6 months? A year? Nope, he public consultation period lasted merely 20 days. Curiously short when most public consultations last for months! Those proposed amendments are now tabled in the Legislative Council for 2nd reading Since the proposed amendments take only a simple majority of votes to pass, In a legislature that has pro-government legislators in the majority, It is highly likely that they will pass in the next month or two unless the government withdraws its bill. There has been rhetorics from the amendments’ supporters about the Hong Kong courts playing the role of “gatekeepers” after the proposed amendments have passed They claimed that extradition hearing before the Hong Kong courts, which is procedural in nature, can effectively prevent potential human rights abuses by foreign governments to people who are being extradited. In that regard, the current chairperson of the Hong Kong Bar Association(HKBA) and 11 of his predecessors, have issued a joint statement to voice their concerns The HKBA is the only professional organisation of barristers in Hong Kong I mean, who is better suited to comment on legal matters than folks who are legally trained and practice law for a living? In their joint statement, these veteran lawyers stressed that it is clearly misleading to say that the Hong Kong courts will be an effective gatekeeper in extradition cases under the proposed amendments. Pausing here, you may wonder, “what really is the role of the Hong Kong courts under the proposed amendments?” Under the proposed amendments, the role of the courts is procedural and limited to assessing whether there is a prima facie case against a suspect based on the case papers provided by the requesting jurisdiction. The courts have no power to refuse extradition on grounds of poor human rights records or unfair legal system of a requesting jurisdiction. And no, the Hong Kong courts will not have authority to put a suspect on trial and hear his/her evidence to determine the issue of guilt. Phew, I have said quite a bit just now, haven’t I? If you make it this far, thanks for bearing with me. Okay, you have now had a crash course on the Hong Kong government’s proposed amendments. What next? There is certainly something you can do to help! First of all, if you find this video helpful, please please please share it with those you know! Secondly, there is going to be a protest against the proposed amendments on June 9, which is expected to see a massive turnout. If you are in Hong Kong on June 9, please consider joining the protest to get your voice heard! By the way things go, the proposed amendments are likely to be passed by the legislature towards the end of June. Stay tuned for the latest updates! Thanks for watching and do leave us your comment!

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  1. There is no doubt right now in HK, it's ruled by CCP sadly, but can't give up easily, carry on fighting and act for HK.

  2. 政策会推进,不以香港人的想法为转移是时候清算下当年在天安门广场激化政府和学生矛盾的支联会的人

  3. > Progressive Lawyers Group
    Go F yourself, 左膠
    You voted them in to take our economy, now you are flip-floppin

  4. oh yea? how do you explain Huawei CFO got kidnapped on transit in Canada? disgusting mouthpiece of CIA… Hong Kong and China have separate laws? you wanna rephrase? you fucking disgusting traitor…

  5. especially at risks are ethnic chinese dissidents or anti China CCP party activists , especially those born in China, especially if they merely have green card/ PR status in another country and still PRC citizens by default. Then come those anti China / anti CCP ethnic chinese from Hong kong and Taiwan ,especially if they do NOT have any Western citizenship status. Third then are those non HK/TW/China foreigners (chinese ancestry or not )

  6. Thanks great to understand, and yes I will most definitely spread the facts you explained well done proud of you Sago.

  7. 与美国有引渡条约,与中国竟然没有引渡条约,呵呵笑话,中共也不随便抓无辜的人,傻逼香港人没救了。

  8. Do not go gentle into that good night,
    Old age should burn and rave at close of day;
    Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

    Though wise men at their end know dark is right,
    Because their words had forked no lightning they
    Do not go gentle into that good night.

    Good men, the last wave by, crying how bright
    Their frail deeds might have danced in a green bay,
    Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

    Wild men who caught and sang the sun in flight,
    And learn, too late, they grieved it on its way,
    Do not go gentle into that good night.

    Grave men, near death, who see with blinding sight
    Blind eyes could blaze like meteors and be gay,
    Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

    Keep up the good fight, Hong Kong!

  9. China is projecting Meng Wanzhou's extradition proceedings in Canada as its own and has punished Canada by cancelling its canola purchases (and pork).
    On the other hand China's detention conditions and legal proceedings are secretive and arbitrary; still it wants to export these dictatorial practices.
    BTW Meng Wanzhou is staying in one of her own mansions, with her own staff, doing mostly what she wants (studying). What about the 2 Canadians in China?

  10. Great video and it clarified some of the questions I’ve been debating with friends. Whilst I don't disagree with peaceful protests (being fortunate enough to be living in a democratic society), my question is what of 2047?

    The past movements and protests have been effective in preventing large scale changes to the freedoms enjoyed by Hong Kongers but I can’t see how this can be sustained going into the future.

    In 2047 the basic law won't disappear but I would guess that China, after being frustrated by Hong Kong for 28 years, is going to fast track amendments to take back control. I think this is extremely likely if you consider how they have moved on the South China Sea and I just fear that the next generation is going to be slapped hard.

    If you are trying to preserve the Hong Kong way of life, would it be best to work with the Tiger rather than aggravate it? If it’s satisfied that Hong Kong is relatively “compliant”, then maybe it won’t find large scale changes to the basic law as necessary. There will obviously be changes but would this be a better way to preserve the essence of Hong Kong for future generations?

  11. 🤮港独整天宣扬自己有多大的权利balabala…你们那么有本事倒是把我们中国的地交出来自己滚出去找立足地,真的是给脸不要脸,中国大陆提倡和谐统一在这些港独眼里就是被你们骑上头的资本,令人作呕🤮要饭的还想点菜

  12. One country's definition of 'criminal activity' may not be the same as another under each legal system, making it so complicated to explain everything in detail in just one video clip….. my head is spinning now! I guess all these protesters are subjected to extradition order since their activity is considered as 'illegal' under national security law of big brother, no lawyers in HK can cry foul anymore in local high court after the bill become law.

  13. 得益于香港的英文教育程度高,国际联系广泛,加上播主这样的专业人士现身说法,近些年的社会运动通常能够迅速得到国际关注,避免孤军奋战的处境。这个长处一定要保持下去。所以,请一定留意中共在香港的教育方面的动作。

    香港,继续加油!

  14. this sound like a fear mongering, do you think every case can be extradite automatically ? they can request, but whether will be extradite or not, will be decided by hongkong, right ?

  15. So… if I see some porn magazine in Hong Kong, which is legal in HK by the way, after the extradition law comes into effect, China can, under this extradition law, charge me because porn is not legal in China? That is total bullshit! What about the latter statement that read "however, this does not apply to a crime that is not punishable according to law of the place where it is committed." We have to be objective and not take things out of context. The law is not the issue. Safeguards can be put in place. The issue is the people behind the law. Can Carrie Lam stand up to China when it comes to that? How much confidence and trust do you have in Carrie Lam or the HK administration? That is the real issue!

  16. In the year of 2047 everything that you fight for will not longer be useful. By that time it won't be one country two system. It will be ONE COUNTRY! ONE SYSTEM!

  17. When Catalonia declared independence from Spain. None of the UN security council permanent member states supported this Separatist movement.

    There would be no grounds for any other country to interfere with China’s internal affairs.

    Personally, I think the Extradition Bill is needed. Otherwise, Hong Kong could be a haven for Criminals. Hong Kong people objection to this is that they are afraid that China would use this and grab whatever they please especially for political reasons. To prevent this from happening. The bill could include a final approval from the LEGCO after the court rule. The approval would not be just majority but need to pass higher approval percentage. Set the percentage high to ensure the opposition party has a chance of disapproval every extradition. This way, China would not be able to grab any person for political reasons.

    Seeing their success of stopping the extradition bill, some are not only demanding Universal Suffrage but also independence. These people do not read or care about history of Hong Kong.

    Hong Kong was part of China until British took it after the first Opium War in 1842. There was a 2nd Opium War in 1860. These events started the colonization of China by the West. Chinese consider these Opium Wars as huge humiliation. No Chinese Leader would dare to lose control on any part of China. This will never happen and I bet China would go to War if anything threatens its sovereignty.

    What would be an American’s reaction if he sees Mexican Flags waving in US during a demonstration? There are numerous images of these Hong Kong demonstrators waving old colonial HK Flags, the Union Jack and the Old Glory. They also defaced The National Emblem of the People's Republic of China. They destroyed public property. These demonstrators were prepared for violence. They are dressed for the occasion. Bricks and stones were piled up. What would happen in the States, if someone would throw a brick at law enforcement personal? Yes, there were past police brutally but these demonstrators are just as bad. This time around, Hong Kong Police has been acting with restrain. Maybe, too much so.

    I can tell you that most of my friends in the States are wondering when China is going to send in the troops. It is not uncommon for sending in the troops (National Guards for US) to put back law and order.

    These demonstrators are destroying Hong Kong. Images of this disturbance are being published all over the world media. The extradition treaty probably does not scare tourist but the civil unrest certainly does. If everyone thinks like you, there would be no tourist going to China.

  18. Sago, you did not mention that the extradition law is only for serous criminal (e.g. murder), and also on a case-by-case basis which is determined by HongKong local courts. It seems that the bill is carefully written to be aligned with existing laws in HongKong. As much as you are confident in the legal system in HongKong, you should not be concerned that cases out of the scope of the bill would be transferred to mainland. Also, as today there are so many foreigners traveling, living, working and doing Business in China, I do not believe your concerns are as valid. I think your video will only have an impact on westerners who have never been to China, but not the ones who have. My American friends who have been to China all made the same comment that "This is not the China I knew about". Everyone, who is watching the video, please give China a chance by trying to know the real China not via people who is emotionally against China. Your press and some of the videos are biased and misleading.

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