To mislead public opinion, the apologists for the 53 opposition figures arrested by Hong Kong police last Wednesday on suspicion of subversive acts have emphatically noted that they had merely organized or participated in a “primary election”.
The apologists in Hong Kong and abroad accused the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region government of inflicting political persecution on those individuals, arguing that participating in a “democratic election process” should in no way be in violation of any law because it is a civil right.
But they have conveniently ignored the plain fact that there are boundaries for the exercise of rights and freedom, and that a democratic process would be legal and legitimate only when it is conducted in a manner, or for a purpose, that does not offend the constitutional order of the place concerned.
“Democratic election/process” has never been admitted as a valid excuse for undermining a constitutional order, even in the most liberal democracies. For example, the “Catalan Declaration of Independence”, a resolution that was passed by the Parliament of Catalonia on Oct 27, 2017, which declared the independence of Catalonia from Spain and the founding of an independent Catalan Republic, received no recognition from the international community.
The resolution was viewed by the international community as illegitimate and illegal and received no recognition from any sovereign nation, despite the fact that it was passed by a majority vote in the Catalan Parliament, because it was against the constitutional order of Catalonia as an autonomous region of Spain and violated the Spanish Constitution.
Yet, the apologists for Hong Kong’s opposition bloc have no qualms about arguing for the subversive acts of the 53 arrestees, who actively participated in the planning, organizing and executing an illegal event known as “35-plus primary” in July last year.
The plot, a brainchild of political demagogue Benny Tai Yiu-ting, one of the 53 arrested, was designed to help the political radicals known as the “burn together faction” or “mutual destruction faction” of the opposition camp to gain enough legislature seats to veto the SAR government’s annual budget and any other legislative bills indiscriminately, for the sole purpose of paralyzing the SAR government. It was the first step of “ten steps to mutual destruction”, a detailed plan designed and openly promoted by Tai since early last year. Their ultimate purpose was to force the SAR government and the central government to accede to their illegal and unconstitutional political demands, which would allow them to turn the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region into an independent political entity, depriving the nation’s jurisdiction over the region. This is nothing short of political extortion with Hong Kong people’s well-being being taken hostage.
How does the apologists’ argument for the 53 Hong Kong subversives tally with the universal values upheld by the international community in the case of Catalonia?
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