South Asia and Beyond

Concrete Sanctions Only Way To Change China’s Behaviour: Hong Kong Lawyer Wilson Leung

NEW DELHI: The top Chinese parliamentary body, the National People’s Congress (NPC) Standing Committee, is rushing to finalise and pass Hong Kong’s national security law ahead of the July 1, the 23rd anniversary of the former British colony’s return to Chinese sovereignty. Wilson Leung, a barrister and activist speaks to StratNews Global Associate Editor Amitabh P. Revi on the hurry for the new law, which Beijing-appointed, nominally elected Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam claims even she hasn’t seen. Some leaked provisions, Leung says, could be life-terms, a retroactive implementation with no-jury trials, hand picked judges, secret detention facilities and the NPC, a political body, having the final say in interpretation of the law. A member of the Progressive Lawyers’ Group, he adds, the law is the beginning of the end of Hong Kong as it is known. One of the reasons for it is Beijing’s need to clamp down on dissent and possibly even arrest legislative candidates like well known activist Joshua Wong and businessman Jimmy Lai before the scheduled September elections. He contends that COVID-19 has been used as a convenient excuse to prevent protests which have in the past forced the shelving of a similar law in 2003 and a proposed extradition legislation this year. The elderly are being pepper sprayed and 10-year-old schoolchildren pinned to the ground to scare protesters even as bars, restaurants, massage parlours and theme parks are allowed to function during the pandemic, he says. China is not concerned about world leaders and organisations making statements and resolutions, Mr Leung points out, saying only concerted and concrete action like specific sanctions or trade and tech tariffs can have any hope of modifying China’s worldwide aggression. Big business’ money is where its mouth is, he says, and will probably lobby governments to make only symbolic noises. Immigration inquiries in Hong Kong are up twenty times in recent months he adds. It’s not too late, he concludes, if the world wakes up to the fact that decades of quiet diplomacy has failed and countries like India take a concerted stand with other democracies, especially after the deadly Galwan clashes.

Nitin A Gokhale WhatsApp Channel


Amitabh P. Revi

Russian language speaker and conflict journalist. Amitabh Revi has been there, done that—from the battlefields of Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan to sublime Russia, Australia and the United States. Along the way he's picked up the Dag Hammarskjöld Distinguished Journalist Fellowship, the Ramnath Goenka award for coverage of the Iraq War and RT's Khaled Alkhateb Award for his reporting from Palmyra, Syria.