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  • Writer's picturePeter K F Cheung SBS

Make No Mistake

Updated: May 23, 2020

  1. FADE IN.


  2. Act 1


  3. INT. SITTING ROOM - NIGHT


  4. PETER watches TV news. A chyron catches his attention.

  5. PETER (V.O.): The Central People's Government has tabled a national security bill for Hong Kong at the National People's Congress (NPC)?


  6. Pausing.


  7. PETER (V.O.) (Cont'd): After getting my LLB from HKU in summer 1984 and continuing my PCLL study there, I took an interest on the Sino-British negotiations over Hong Kong's future and the subsequent Joint Declaration done on December 19, 1984.


  8. Peter surfs the web.


  9. PETER (V.O.) (Cont'd): Paragraph 3 (2) of the Joint Declaration states that the Hong Kong SAR will enjoy a high degree of autonomy except in defence and foreign matters.


  10. Recalling.


  11. PETER (V.O.) (Cont'd): From 1987-1988, I was the most junior member of the Attorney General's Chambers' Task Force on the draft Basic Law.


  12. Pausing.


  13. PETER (V.O.) (Cont'd): Separately and in my personal capacity, I even suggested the establishment of a constitutional court to interpret the future Basic Law.


  14. From a bookshelf, Peter picks up a small booklet to read.


  15. PETER (V.O.) (Cont'd): China promulgated the Basic Law of the Hong Kong SAR on April 4, 1990. Its Preamble mentions the principle of "one country, two systems".


  16. Pausing.


  17. PETER (V.O.) (Cont'd): Under Article 23 of the Basic Law, the Hong Kong SAR "shall enact laws on its own to prohibit any act of treason, secession, sedition and subversion" against the Central People's Government.


  18. Pausing.


  19. PETER (V.O.) (Cont'd): The Basic Law came into effect on July 1, 1997. And 23 years later, the Hong Kong SAR government still hasn't lived up with its mandatory obligation to enact the laws.


  20. Act 2


  21. INT. STUDY - DAY


  22. The TV is on. Peter surfs the web.


  23. PETER (V.O.): What is treason? It's the crime of betraying one's country, especially by overthrowing the government.


  24. Pausing.


  25. PETER (V.O.) (Cont'd): What is secession? The criminal act secession includes making a territory a new state ie to become independent.


  26. Pausing.


  27. PETER (V.O.) (Cont'd): What is sedition? Sedition is a criminal act of inciting revolt or violence against a lawful authority with the goal of destroying it.


  28. We hear a TV anchor reporting that China is tabling a controversial national security bill on Hong Kong to NPC.


  29. PETER (V.O.) (Cont'd): The adjective "controversial" reflects media bias. Both US and UK have similar crimes in their criminal justice systems.


  30. Pausing.


  31. PETER (V.O.) (Cont'd): What's subversion? It is the process by which the values and principles of a system in place are contradicted, in an attempt to transform the established social order and its structures of power, authority, hierarchy and social norms.


  32. Thinking.


  33. PETER (V.O.) (Cont'd): Italy and China have such crimes in their statute books. Roman law is the foundation of the non-English speaking continental legal system.


  34. Pausing.


  35. PETER (V.O.) (Cont'd): All these sound so visibly in Hong Kong during its 2019 riots.


  36. We hear someone speaking on TV that China's introduction of the security laws for Hong Kong would mean the end of "one country, two systems."


  37. Pausing.


  38. PETER (V.O.) (Cont'd): He must be making a terrible mistake. It's a mandatory constitutional obligation of the Hong Kong SAR so as to enjoy "one country, two systems". Hong Kong has free-ridden the system for over 23 years already.


  39. We hear a TV anchor reporting that some people in Hong Kong take the China's action will mean the end of Hong Kong's autonomy.


  40. PETER (V.O.) (Cont'd): If that's really the case, Hong Kong's autonomy is no more than allowing anyone to commit treason, secession, sedition and subversion in Hong Kong.


  41. We then hear a female anchor reporting the US' Secretary of State's response:"the death knell of Hong Kong's independence".

  42. Pausing.


  43. PETER (V.O.) (Cont'd): Independence or autonomy? That's revealing. Is Hong Kong a US vassal territory? China has fully justified its move.

  44. Pausing.


  45. PETER (V.O.) (Cont'd): Trained to reason logically and argue legally and professionally, I just find most people in politics, including biased medial news journalists, are very mean and dirty in terms of human dignity.


  46. Peter shakes his head sideways.


  47. Act 3


  48. INT. STUDY - CONTINUOUS


  49. PETER (V.O.) (Cont'd): Having realized how organised and unpatriotic the rioters in Hong Kong could be and how incompetent was the Hong Kong SAR Government, it's understandable that China can't sit back, has to bypass the Hong Kong SAR to do the job for it.

  50. Pausing.


  51. PETER (V.O.) (Cont'd): The Central People's Government has made no mistake that rioters are separatists, wanting Hong Kong's independence. The motherland never wanted Hong Kong to become a British colony if it wasn't forced to do so way-back-when. It was a great national shame.

  52. Pausing.


  53. PETER (V.O.) (Cont'd): However, many people in Hong Kong, and those in US and UK too, just interpret the "two systems" and "the high degree of autonomy" as they please, as if they can do whatever they like without any criminal responsibility, including acts of treason, secession, sedition and subversion.


  54. Pausing.


  55. PETER (V.O.) (Cont'd): The Central People's Government's unprecedented response after a 23-year wait puts the "one country" context into perspective.


  56. Pausing.


  57. PETER (V.O.) (Cont'd): People should realize now that, constitutionally, NPC is the highest organ of State power in the whole of China, including Hong Kong.


  58. The TV reports a clip of NPC in action. After hearing "...such criminals must be punished in accordance with the law.", we hear a big round of applause.


  59. Pausing.


  60. PETER (V.O.) (Cont'd): I note that the legislative package includes enforcement and education mechanisms.


  61. Pausing.


  62. PETER (V.O.) (Cont'd): Are the national security laws necessary? Under Article 8 of the Basic Law, "the laws previously in force in Hong Kong that is, the common law...shall be maintained."


  63. Pausing.


  64. PETER (V.O.) (Cont'd): While the common law concept of treason, misprison of treason, subversive and hostile activities are very broad and wide, the suspects may still be prosecuted, allowing the court to develop the law.


  65. Pausing.


  66. PETER (V.O.) (Cont'd): But no such attempt has ever been made. If the authorities are minded, suspects may still be prosecuted now as such serious crimes don't have any time limitation.

  67. Pausing.


  68. PETER (V.O.) (Cont'd): The imminent enactment of the public security laws by NPC for the Hong Kong SAR will remove any legal ambiguity and enhance criminal enforcement.


  69. Pausing.


  70. PETER (V.O.) (Cont'd): Make no mistake about dirty politics and biased media comments, the NPC national security laws would neither be the end of Hong Kong, nor the end of one country, two systems.


  71. Pausing.


  72. PETER (V.O.) (Cont'd): The Central People's Government's move will end the careers of traitors, secessionists, seditionists and subversionists. Hong Kong has suffered enough and deserves a new good beginning.


  73. INT. SITTING ROOM - NIGHT


  74. Peter is watching TV news.


  75. PETER (V.O.): I'll sleep well at night.


  76. FADE OUT.


  77. THE END


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