We perceive as good and sound the idea that 2017 will be the year best remembered both in Macau and Hong Kong for setbacks and erosion in the judicial system, or alternatively in the perception that common people feed on things related to the Law rather than for their respective electoral cycles. At least we could point to the idea of togetherness!
Perhaps it is that singular “gestalt” eventually propelled by the March “two sessions” in Beijing, or perhaps it is just the logical outcome of the strategy to contain the umbrella or localist drive in the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region. It does not matter, indeed. The hard fact is the call of Hong Kong delegates to the “two meetings” to review the Basic Law in order, we presume, to curb or to reduce the number of foreign judges.
It is very hard to ignore the fact that the jailing of the seven police officers considered guilty of an atrocious attack on a protester led to a campaign of anger at the Briton who passed the sentence. Understandably, we have to weigh and consider the future of the local system (Common Law), not only because of the criteria used to select judges but because of the very idea of a Privy Council surviving any judiciary entropy.
China’s preemptive ruling on the irregular oath-taking cases allegedly reddened Hong Kong Courts… but one would say it was a true constitutional and sovereign matter. Will a pre-compliance indicator be not used again?
We sail now across the Pearl River Delta, and there is the sister SAR with its own judicial pains. Macau may no longer be candidly concerned and sympathetic towards Hong Kong for judicial distresses. Ho Iat Seng voiced the pre-court news: the Standing Committee of the National People´s Congress said the new Land Law does not breach the Basic Law. Will Macau courts be blinded and ignore the preemptive interpretation of the Basic Law? Macau lawyers will adapt to the new situation, but the ruling would be hard on Gabriel Tong as the future Chief Executive-designated legislator. Bye-bye Nam Van Lake.
The trial of Ho Chio Meng has all the ingredients to spill to all corners! No wonder, we are talking about the Prosecutor General at the time of the infamous case of disgraced Secretary for Transportation and Public Works, Ao Man Long. He is paying now a heavy sentence for corruption, but at the time, some commentators speculated that the investigation could have gone wider and deeper, instead of choosing antics within a closed circle offering fast results. We do repeat the investigation could have…; perhaps the mere hypothetical was…Ho Chio Meng.
Today, answering to an alleged set of 1,500 crimes, we do repeat 1,500 crimes, Ho must be facing a Back to the Future possibility. Forget the petty contracts, the procurement, the alleged womanizing, the agarwood – we bet this one will be very tough to contain, and probably will be let go – amongst others, there is Ho Chio Meng’s lawyer. Leong Weng Pun pulled out of the case.
Now to final notes to highlight the new force operating under the Public Security Police, the much needed Tourist Police, and the opening of the new Centre for Chinese History and Culture at the UM. And of course about the “La La Land” movie from which we borrow the title to this column.
It is possible to establish a parallel narrative whose transformative powers can change the landscape in South Guangdong through the integration of Macau and Hong Kong and the PRD into a cluster of cities.