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When free speech isn't free 當言論不再自由

The school year had barely begun when two incidents—both testing the limits of free speech on campus—unfolded at Chinese University and Education University and sent management scrambling for a response.
On Monday, at least three large banners bearing the words “Hong Kong independence” were spotted in various locations at Chinese University, including one that draped across the famous “Beacon” sculpture outside the school’s main library. Within hours, the banners were removed by the school authorities.
A few days later, a sign “congratulating” Education Undersecretary Choi Yuk-lin (蔡若蓮) on her son’s recent suicide appeared on Education University’s Democracy Wall, a public bulletin board for students to express opinions and exchange views. Likewise, the sign was taken down shortly thereafter.


That could have been the end of the controversies had university management not succumbed to the temptation to say a few choice words of their own. In the end, it was the reaction from the schoo…
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Seeing Joshua 探之鋒

“We are here to visit a friend,” I said to the guard at the entrance. 
Tiffany, Joshua Wong Chi-fung’s long-time girlfriend, trailed behind me. It was our first time visiting Joshua at Pik Uk Correctional Institution and neither of us quite knew what to expect.

“Has your friend been convicted?” asked the guard. We nodded in unison. There are different visiting hours and rules for suspects and convicts. Each month, convicts may receive up to two half-hour visits from friends and family, plus two additional visits from immediate family upon request.
The guard pointed to the left and told us to register at the reception office. “I saw your taxi pass by earlier,” he said while eyeing a pair of camera-wielding paparazzi on the prowl. “Next time you can tell the driver to pull up here to spare you the walk.”
At the reception counter, Officer Wong took our identity cards and checked them against the “List.” Each inmate is allowed to grant visitation rights to no more than 10 friends and fam…

Major Yuen to Ground Control 自「袁」其說

Seven years after Donald Tsang’s administration rammed a funding bill through the legislature to bankroll the cross-border rail link, the SAR government this week unveiled a long-awaited proposal to resolve the border control conundrum. At issue is whether carving out certain areas at the West Kowloon terminal station where mainland officers are given broad criminal and civil jurisdiction will run afoul of the Basic Law, Hong Kong’s mini-constitution. 
It is an 84-billion-dollar question that can make or break the controversial infrastructure project. If the government’s proposal falls through, then every time-saving and convenience advantage to justify the rail link’s dizzying price tag is put at risk. But if the plan prevails, it may create a foreign concession of sorts in Hong Kong and open a Pandora’s box of extraterritorial law enforcement.

The central question is a straightforward one: is the joint checkpoint proposal constitutional?
The answer can be found in Chapter II of the…

FAQ on 4DQ 四議員宣誓案常見問題

The slow-motion disaster that is Oathgate has now spread from the pro-independence firebrands to the mainstream pro-democracy camp.
After the High Court disqualified localist lawmakers Yau Wai-ching (游蕙禎) and Baggio Leung Chung-hang (梁頌恆) nearly nine months ago, four more members of the Legislative Council (Legco) lost their jobs last Friday. Nathan Law Kwun-chung (羅冠聰), “Long Hair” Leung Kwok-hung (梁國雄), Lau Siu-lai (劉小麗) and Edward Yiu Chung-yim (姚松炎) had all strayed from the prescribed oath during the swearing-in ceremony. According to the supreme decision handed down by China’s National People’s Congress Standing Committee (NPCSC 人大常委會 ) in November, that minor infraction was enough for all of them to each get a pink slip.
If you are wondering how the loss of six seats has affected the balance of power in Hong Kong, you are not alone. The following FAQs are designed to answer that question and posit what is to come.

Walk me through the numbers before and after Oathgate?
There are …

Going Too Far 官逼民反

On Thursday evening, Chinese dissident and political prisoner Liu Xiaobo died from liver cancer in a Shenyang Hospital. Liu was, as the Western press sharply pointed out, the first Nobel Peace Prize laureate to die in custody since Carl von Ossietzky did in Nazi Germany in 1938. Supporters the world over mourned the death of a man who lived and died a hero. The only crime he ever committed was penning a proposal that maps out a bloodless path for his country to democratise.

Then on Friday afternoon, Beijing’s long arm stretched across the border and reached into Hong Kong’s courtroom. Bound by the National People’s Congress Standing Committee’s decision on oath-taking etiquettes, the Hong Kong High Court ruled to unseat four democratically-elected opposition lawmakers, including Nathan Law, the youngest person ever to be elected to the legislature. The only infraction the four ever committed was straying from their oaths during the swearing-in ceremony to voice their desire for their…

Trials of the Fourth Estate–Special Double Issue 第四權之考驗-特別雙刊

An independent press is called the fourth estate because it holds accountable the ruling class—from the clergy and the noblemen in medieval times to the three branches of government in modern democracies.
In Hong Kong, the press plays an especially critical role because citizens are deprived of a democratically elected government. Both the chief executive and nearly half the legislature are appointed by small committees stacked with pro-Beijing loyalists, which gives ordinary people little leverage over politicians they play no part in choosing. Going to the press is often the most effective, if not the only, recourse available to those who want their grievances heard or injustices righted,
Article 27 of the Basic Law protects freedom of the press, as does the Bill of Rights Ordinance which guarantees broad rights to “impart information and ideas.” While the letter of the law is clear, the reality in which journalists operate tells a different story.
Since the handover, Hong Kong’s r…