- 18 March 1998
- Democratic Party Questions "One Country, Two Systems of Justice"
- Democratic Party Chairman Martin Lee, Vice Chairman Dr. Yeung Sum and
Security Spokesman James To today held a press conference to call for an
explanation from the Secretary of Justice for the non-prosecution of
- Chinese People's Political Consultative Committee member Sally Aw Sian
in the Hong Kong Standard fraud case, in which three other defendants were
alleged to have conspired with the newspaper publisher. The Democrats
- noted that three persons have been charged with conspiring with the
fourth, and yet the fourth person, Ms. Aw, will not be prosecuted.
- The pro-democracy leaders said, "If there is a good reason, the
public should know, particularly in light of what appears to be a trend
of non-prosecution of sensitive cases," referencing the recent case
of a Privacy Ordinance violation by Xinhua (also known as the New China
News Agency, once China's de facto embassy in Hong Kong). In that incident,
political leader Emily Lau and another individual requested personal files
from Xinhua under the Privacy Ordinance, which mandates a response within
40 days. Xinhua did not respond for 10 months and denied possession of
the relevant files, which the Privacy Commissioner Steven Lau said, "breached
the provisions of the ordinance and that is an offense."
- Martin Lee commented:
- "We are very concerned about what appears to be a pattern of non-prosecution
of sensitive cases, a new phenomenon in Hong Kong. The rule of law -- what
distinguishes Hong Kong from China -- means no
- individual or organisation is above the law. It is obviously not in
the interest of Hong Kong that there is even an appearance laws are applied
- Chief Executive Tung has unquestionably undermined confidence in the
rule of law with his preposterous statement that the non-prosecution of
Xinhua for what is admittedly an offense constituted 'a technicality.'
As I have noted, tax cheats and other offenders -- who can now be expected
to run the 'technicality' line of defense -- will certainly thank Mr. Tung.
- While I do not wish to speculate about the reasons for these non-prosecutions,
it is always the case that justice must not only be done, but must manifestly
be seen to be done. Particularly when Hong Kong has no elected institutions
to ensure accountability. We call on both Mr. Tung and the Secretary for
Justice to give the public an explanation for what certainly appears to
be the beginning of 'one country -- two standards of justice.'"