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  • Writer's picturePeter K F Cheung SBS

Diplomatic Consular Relations

  1. FADE IN.


  2. Act 1


  3. INT. STUDY - DAY


  4. PETER is watching TV news.


  5. PETER (V.O.): Out of the blue, US orders China to close its Houston Consulate, citing stealing of trade secrets?


  6. Watching.


  7. PETER (V.O.) (Cont'd): The stock market indexes are all down? People can feel the escalation of US-China conflict. This is the wisdom of the crowd.


  8. Pausing.


  9. PETER (V.O.) (Cont'd): But how much do they know about the nitty-gritty of the latest US confrontation?


  10. Pausing.


  11. PETER (V.O.) (Cont'd): Do they anticipate the severing of diplomatic ties between US and China?


  12. Pausing.


  13. PETER (V.O.) (Cont'd): Would they speculate not just the escalation of the trade war but a real war?


  14. Act 2


  15. FLASH BACK


  16. INT. STUDY - NIGHT


  17. Peter is watching a female ANCHOR interviewing an Asian GENTLEMAN.


  18. PETER (V.O.): The anchor is leading the Singaporean gentleman to say that if US imposed sanctions against Hong Kong, China, in financial matters, Singapore can be the perfect substitute.


  19. We hear the gentleman commenting on screen: ...the well-being of Hong Kong's financial services will be complimentary to Singapore's financial developments.


  20. PETER (V.O.)(Cont'd): Ha! The anchor doesn't get the win-lose negative narrative that she wants.


  21. We hear the anchor remarking on screen: ... very diplomatic...


  22. PETER (V.O.)(Cont'd): The gentleman just doesn't take sides by offending or hurting others. He also helps the media to consider a win-win perspective.


  23. Recalling.


  24. PETER (V.O.)(Cont'd): But the media prefers conflicts, and therefore more stories with news value.


  25. INT. CONFERENCE ROOM, CAMBRIDGE, US - DAY (2003)


  26. A wise GENTLEMAN (60s) is speaking to a group of mature STUDENTS including Peter (49). There's a question from the floor.


  27. PETER (V.O.): See what he has to say about the culture of US mainstream media.


  28. GENTLEMAN: The media has to satisfy their audience.


  29. PETER (V.O.) (Cont'd): The media's commercial interests rather than ethical reporting comes first.


  30. END FLASHBACK


  31. PETER (V.O.) (Cont'd): Peace isn't the absence of conflicts, but how to handle them well eg through diplomatic and consular relations.


  32. Pausing.


  33. PETER (V.O.) (Cont'd): Diplomatic law focuses on the principle of diplomatic immunity, diplomatic premises, diplomatic bag, diplomatic relations and diplomatic asylum.


  34. Pausing.


  35. PETER (V.O.) (Cont'd): Customary international law aside, there's the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations 1961. Diplomatic agents are responsible for the political relations between the receiving state and the sending state.


  36. Pausing.


  37. PETER (V.O.) (Cont'd): The only ambassador is the direct representative of the sending state and heads the only embassy. And the severance of diplomatic relations doesn't necessarily mean the severance of consular relations as well.


  38. Pausing.


  39. PETER (V.O.) (Cont'd): The history of consuls is older than diplomats. Again, customary international law aside, there's the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations 1963. Consular agents are responsible for the administrative functions eg issuing visas and passports, looking after commercial interests and assisting its nationals in distress.


  40. Pausing.


  41. PETER (V.O.) (Cont'd): There're 4 classes of consular posts: (1) Consuls-General (2) Consuls, (3) Vice-Consuls and (4) Consular Agents. Consul-General is the person responsible for a consulate.


  42. Pausing.


  43. PETER (V.O.) (Cont'd): While consular immunity are lesser than diplomatic immunity, they're also immune from arrest or detention. Consular documents and bags are also inviolable at any time and whenever they may be. Consular premises are also inviolable ie the receiving state may not enter them, and must protect them from intrusion or damage.


  44. Peter watches TV breaking news.


  45. PETER (V.O.)(Cont'd): In equivalent retaliation, China orders US to close its Consulate in Chengdu. US expresses disappointment.


  46. Pausing.


  47. PETER (V.O.)(Cont'd): Does US expect China to escalate their conflicts?


  48. Pausing.


  49. PETER (V.O.)(Cont'd): Since US treats Hong Kong no different from any other Chinese cities and that the one-country-two-system principle for Hong Kong is dead, China could order US to close its Consulate in Hong Kong.


  50. Pausing.


  51. PETER (V.O.)(Cont'd): Despite US wants to confront China on all fronts, China is keeping calm.


  52. Act 3


  53. INT. STUDY - CONTINUOUS


  54. PETER (V.O.) (Cont'd): In politics, nothing happens by accident. Everything is planned.


  55. Counting his fingers


  56. PETER (V.O.) (Cont'd): It's now 99 days from the US Presidential election. Will the Consulates reopen in 2021, after the inauguration of 46th President of US?


  57. Pausing.


  58. PETER (V.O.) (Cont'd): US might renew its strategy to re-engage China on ground that it's in its national interest to do so.


  59. Pausing.


  60. PETER (V.O.) (Cont'd): US might discover that the trade secrets said to have been stolen by China were already in the public domain.


  61. Pausing.


  62. PETER (V.O.) (Cont'd): Is US government instituted for any one person, family or class of persons?


  63. Pausing.


  64. PETER (V.O.) (Cont'd): Or is government instituted for the safety, stability and prosperity of the people?


  65. Pondering.


  66. PETER (V.O.) (Cont'd): As the world has become more inter-independent, should national governments think global and act global too?


  67. Pausing.


  68. PETER (V.O.) (Cont'd): No, only righteous persons may do that. But the nature of politics has never been about the election of righteous ones.


  69. Pausing.


  70. PETER (V.O.): Such righteous persons may have no urge to be in authority at all.


  71. THE END


  72. FADE OUT .


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