Meanwhile, in Hong Kong

Are you looking around the world, and seeing a lot of darkness. Lots of subversive activity, not to mention Antifa, in America, Tommy again is a dangerous prison, for acting like a free man in Britain, Brexit still in bollox land, South Africa all but a free fire zone on whites, none of it too pretty.

But then there is Hong Kong. A lost colony that the British, back when they were law-abiding, followed the law, giving it back to China, while getting the best deal they could, which wasn’t that great, but they tried.

My computer screen got a little dusty as I watched the Union flag come down, and I doubt I was alone even in America. Many of my Navy friends had happy memories of Hong Kong. Well, in the past, but as we say Pepperidge Farm remembers.

But as we watch the demonstration there, we recall that we too are a child of Britain and that the Hong Kongers demonstrate at the same abuses as the American colonists did, Rather remarkable, as J.T. Young noted in The American Spectator this week.

It is no accident that the Declaration of Independence cites in its recitation of grievances with Britain: “Depriving us in many cases, of the benefits of Trial by Jury [and] … transporting us beyond Seas to be tried for pretended offences.” Once free, Americans would address these concerns in the Constitution. Section 2 of Article 3 states, “The Trial of all Crimes, except in Cases of Impeachment, shall be by Jury; and such Trial shall be held in the State where the said Crimes shall have been committed.” Even this was not enough for America’s first citizens, who included it again in the Bill of Rights as the Sixth Amendment.

Four of the Bill of Rights’ first 10 amendments deal specifically with America’s legal system. As Madison observed during Virginia’s Constitutional Convention, “The trial by jury is held as sacred in England as in America.” It is therefore not surprising that Hong Kong, springing from the same British governmental heritage, would be outraged at any attempted abridgment.

Hong Kong’s protests and America’s independence movement share more than this single, but significant, overlap. The American colonies had been left by benign neglect to practice British government locally before war with France, and that country’s intrusion into North America, refocused the Crown’s attention. When Britain sought to reassert its perceived rightful rule — primarily through tariffs to offset its expenses — Americans balked.

Although the tariffs were not particularly costly, they were strenuously resisted on principle. Far more than the tariffs themselves, colonists’ objections lay in the denial of freedom and self-government.

Hong Kong’s protests also run far deeper than they appear. Extradition from Hong Kong to a trial in China is far from trivial, but the principles involved are far larger, more pervasive — and, for China, more explosive. The local Hong Kong government’s move is a refutation of the “one country, two systems” policy that was supposed to ensure Hong Kong’s separate way of life for half a century. Undoubtedly many in Hong Kong had hoped that in half a century China would have caught up with Hong Kong … now they rightfully fear that China is seeking to pull Hong Kong back to itself.

Instead of America’s benign neglect, Hong Kong had enjoyed Britain’s “benign protect.” This relationship imbued them with the same fundamental sense of freedoms and rule of law that America’s colonies had ingrained. The sense of loss and betrayal is equal in both cases — if anything, it is even more justified in that of Hong Kong.

The People’s Republic of China has grossly misjudged, just as Britain did over two centuries ago. China’s error is more understandable because they lack the foundational philosophy to understand their misjudgment’s magnitude. China, having exacerbated its inherent conflict with Hong Kong, cannot assuage it or extinguish it.

China also sees in the protests more than just the incidents themselves. In their eyes, a greater principle fundamentally threatens them, too. China’s system — government, economic, and social — is one of inherently authoritarian control that strictly limits personal freedom. China’s President Xi has sought to further increase this right to control.

Hong Kong is a direct threat to the communism and socialism governing mainland China. There is no question which system most would choose — either in Hong Kong or in the rest of China.

Keep reading

As I have often said recently, there is very little we can do to support Hong Kong materially, but we can remember that America too once took on the greatest empire of the age for the very same reason, and won, and we can pray for the Hong Kongers. I know I will be.

And:

Let us ask ourselves, ‘What kind of people do we think we are?’ And let us answer, ‘Free people, worthy of freedom and determined not only to remain so but to help others gain their freedom as well.’

Ronald Reagan

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11 Responses to Meanwhile, in Hong Kong

  1. Nicholas says:

    In England and Wales, we have three categories of criminal offence: summary, either way, and indictable offences. In summary proceedings, there is no jury. The magistrates effectively act as both judge and jury. In an either-way offence, the accused has the right to elect whether to be tried in the magistrates’ courts of the Crown Court. An indictable only offence must be tried in the Crown Court (as the court of first instance). Crown Court proceedings involve juries.

    it is worth noting that civil cases rarely involve juries now in England and Wales (and equity has been merged with law). So the judge in civil cases will usually address both questions of law and questions of fact. Civil cases are proved on the balance of probabilities (anything over 50% – i.e. more likely to be true than false); criminal cases are proved beyond reasonable doubt. In criminal cases the prosecution must show that there is a case to answer before the defence begins. If the prosecution has not discharged this burden, the defence can apply for the case to be dismissed.

    Liked by 1 person

    • NEO says:

      Not overly different here, although criminal complaints (including misdemeanors, if one wants to push it) are always subject to a jury trial. Some states use a 6 person jury for minor offenses, but 12 is still standard. Civil cases can be either judge decided or jury, but often the loser pays the costs. And yes, preponderance of the evidence in civil trial, beyond reasonable doubt in criminal. That reasonable man (his brother, I hear, rides the Clapton omnibus) gets quite a workout in English law.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Nicholas says:

        The term “reasonable” is so frequent in our law as to make the outsider believe that we are obsessed with it. Objective vs subjective is an important aspect of legal matters.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. audremyers says:

    Let’s pray they don’t have to take the same course we did. China is not England.

    Liked by 2 people

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