HKFP Opinion Piece: “In Hong Kong we have abandoned the Rule of Law”

Columnist Tim Hamlet considers Carrie Lam’s wholesale abandonment of law & legal process in Hong Kong.

Here’s the introduction to his piece


But faced with the assembled press Ms Lam finds it difficult to resist the temptation to condescend.

“I trust that we have all seen many war movies,” she said, “in wartime there is no sense in talking about procedure and reviewing things … In an environment as urgent as this, we cannot let existing laws stop us from doing what we should do. This is not the mentality for fighting a war.”

Dear me. First, a reality check. An epidemic is an epidemic and a war is a war. The martial metaphors of which Ms Lam has become a habitual user are just that – metaphors.

That does not change the underlying facts. Hong Kong is not Kyiv. Even if war were an acceptable excuse for throwing the rule of law under a bus it would not be an applicable excuse here.

Governments – particularly unpopular governments – like the military metaphor because it implies that any criticism of them is unpatriotic and may give aid and comfort to the enemy. This is hardly relevant here. The virus does not care what we think of it, or what we think of Ms Lam’s administration.

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Never mind the rule of law; Hong Kong is ‘at war’