Speculating on Jimmy Lai's arrest disrespects law: HK delegate to UN

Hong Kong Special Administrative Region representatives were in Geneva, Switzerland, to give an update on human rights efforts in the city at the 43rd session of the UN Human Rights Council on Friday amid Western attempts to use riots in the city to attack China.

The Hong Kong delegation was led by Chan Shuifu, under secretary for Constitutional and Mainland Affairs Bureau, and included experts and officials from the Security Bureau, Department of Justice and Hong Kong Police Force. 

Chan addressed the event on Friday, and said the “One Country, Two Systems” policy has been a success in Hong Kong since it was first launched in 1997. He also emphasized how China’s Central People’s Government and HKSAR Government are committed to making it a continued success. 

“This policy is not an expediency, but a long-term national strategy, benefiting Hong Kong, China as a whole, and the international community,” Chan said.

Many of the protests that first began last June ended in violence, Chan reminded attendees and assured that the HK police force is duty-bound to take appropriate actions to restore law and order, saying allegation of police brutality will be handled impartially.

“The social unrest was triggered by a legislative proposal. The bill has been withdrawn, but violent protests have persisted. We will examine what the underlying reasons are and what can be done while engaging the community in dialogues to bring Hong Kong forward,” Chan explained. 

In an exclusive interview with the Global Times, Kwok Yam Shu, Deputy Commissioner (Management) of the Hong Kong Police Force, noted that city representatives had communicated with many people during the sidlines of the 43 session of the Human Rights Council on the violence that had transpired in Hong Kong. 

“We do not have too much divergence and agreed that the protection of human rights should be based on an important principle – exercise individual rights and freedom peacefully,” Kwok said.

During the communications, Kwok presented two videos which revealed how some media agencies had created unbalanced reports. One video showed rioters destroying public infrastructure, blocking pubic transport and attacking police officers. The video exposed the fact the HK demonstrations were not what Western media had described as “peaceful protests.”

Apple Daily founder Jimmy Lai Chee-ying was arrested on February 28 on suspicion of unlawful assembly and threatening journalists, Hong Kong media reported.

Some US politicians expressed their “concerns” over Lai’s arrest while some media agencies claimed the arrest was retaliation for his involvement with the Hong Kong riots. 

This opinion is odd, Kwok said, and noted, “If someone violates laws, then the police will take action. Everyone is equal in front of the law and no one lives beyond the laws. I think people who are making groundless speculations on Lai’s arrest have shown no respect for the law. If Lai breaks the law, why should he not be punished according to the law?”

Hong Kong has entered a “peaceful period” after months of rioting. Kwok explained the current peaceful atmosphere was due to many reasons, including COVID-19, and how Hong Kong authorities have handled the situation. 

“What happened in the past eight or nine months was not usual. Some forces behind the violence want to disrupt Hong Kong, and this is unquestionable. Do these same people have a reason to stop? The answer is no,” he said.

Kwok said that no matter how difficult the situation was in previous months, Hong Kong police had always stood by their responsibilities.

“Hong Kong media and the rioters criticized us for the measures we implemented. But more people gave us support and asked us to implement laws with more enforcement. Justice is in our hearts,” Kwok said. 

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