By Zhong Sheng
The rule of law is never to be played with, and those who go against the laws shall never escape punishment.
The District Court of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) recently sentenced Joshua Wong Chi-fung, an instigator of the Hong Kong riots, as well as other three persons, four to ten months in jail for participating in an unauthorized assembly.
The judgment was made strictly according to the Basic Law and judicial proceedings of the HKSAR, based on solid facts and legal procedure.
However, a U.S. politician ridiculously requested the HKSAR government to immediately release these anti-China rioters on twitter.
Does he want to be a judge in Hong Kong? If he does, he must learn first the laws of Hong Kong and then see if he’s qualified to be one.
The human rights and freedom in Hong Kong, including the freedom of speech and the freedom of assembly, are fully protected by the Chinese constitution and the Basic Law of the HKSAR. However, there are legal boundaries for every right and interest. No one enjoys the freedom to hurt the personal and property security of others, the freedom to undermine social prosperity and stability, or the freedom to challenge national sovereignty, security and development interests.
The four anti-China rioters are suspected of an illegal assembly. Their mean practice to challenge the police authority and cripple the government through organized massive illegal assembly is tolerated in no law-based society.
The judge of the case said when announcing judgment that the defendants were intentionally, premeditatedly and blatantly violating the law, as they had been told that the assembly was not authorized. There must be deterring punishment to underline the severity of the case, so as to avoid imitation.
Hong Kong is an inalienable part of China and its affairs are China’s internal affairs that brook no interference by any external forces. How dare the U.S. politician request the HKSAR government to release the defendants that have pled guilty and try to meddle in the normal and justifiable adjudication of the HKSAR! His practice not only goes against the rule of law, but also violates international law and the basic norms governing international relations.
The U.S. politician can’t be unclear about the causal relationship between illegality and punishment. In the U.S., illegal assembly is banned, and anyone that participates in it will face severe punishment. For instance, unlawful assembly is a Class B misdemeanor in Alabama, and is punishable by six months of imprisonment and a $3,000 fine. In Arizona, it is considered a first-degree felony that is punishable by six months of imprisonment and a $2,500 fine.
There’s no doubt that the judgment made by the District Court of the HKSAR was an act to safeguard justice with the rule of law. The improper and irresponsible remarks made by the U.S. politician is totally shameful as it puts political manipulation above the law.
The hypocritical double standard of some U.S. politicians have again and again hindered the law enforcement of Hong Kong judiciary authorities, and offered shelter and even whitewashed criminals. They are standing on the opposite side of Hong Kong’s rule of law and order, as well as the Hong Kong citizens.
Of course, the U.S. attempts to interfere in Hong Kong affairs and China’s domestic affairs are doomed to end up in vain. To ensure that laws are put in place, observed, and strictly enforced and that anyone who violates the law is held to account is necessary for safeguarding social orders and people’s interests with the rule of law.
It must be noted that China has the resolution, confidence and capability to contain foreign interference, safeguard national security, and ensure the long-term stability and prosperity of the HKSAR.
(Zhong Sheng is a pen name often used by People’s Daily to express its views on foreign policy.)