Hong Kong Rugby’s Sexual Bias

This week Hong Kong’s women stand on the brink of a stunning achievement, qualification for the rugby World Cup. Not now and perhaps never again will Hong Kong have a better chance in a global team sport to reach a World Cup.

Ardent HongKonger that I am, I’m also a realist and unless the new Messi is a HK resident Hong Kong are sadly never going to make the football World Cup. Nor sadly, however much money is pumped at them, will our men’s rugby team – much as I’d love to see them qualify – with the current format there are simply too many countries ahead of us.

Recognition should be made here of the HK men’s cricket team who qualified for the last two T20 World Cups and with the current crop of super talented youngsters both male and female could well do so again – but cricket is not yet a truly global game.

Rugby is a global game and with the popularity of the Sevens at the recent Olympics growing fast. This is what makes our women’s potential achievement so amazing. Especially as they are playing not only the opposition but also the blatant sexual discrimination and lack of interest within their own male dominated Hong Kong Rugby Union (HKRU).

When the Hong Kong football team played their World Cup qualifiers last year, the HKFA advertised heavily, produced posters, banners creating a buzz and a massive awareness in both traditional media and online. Everyone, whether you were a football fan or not, knew the matches were coming.

The extent of the HKRU’s marketing is one ugly banner, the first published version of which hadn’t even been proof read and had Hong Kong playing Fiji twice. Even the recent men’s rugby Cup of Nations competition was advertised on a tram and accompanied by numerous articles, banners, tweets… There’s one ugly banner for the Women’s World Cup Qualifier.

The first two games of the World Cup Qualifier are being played at King’s Park which is frankly nothing more than a school playing field and a complete pain for fans to get to. Why are the games not being held at Mongkok Stadium – which with even basic marketing could have been a noisy sell-out – or at any of the other LCSD grounds which at least have a grandstand where the crowd can really get behind their team and help lift them to qualification? It’s frankly embarrassing to have such important matches played at such an amateur ground.

It’s frankly disgusting that the HKRU promotes rugby as a game for all – yet as you can see the Women’s World Cup Qualifier isn’t even listed in their upcoming events! There are more articles on the HKRU website about the New Year’s Day Youth Tournament, than the women’s national team being one step from playing at the World Cup.

The sexual bias at the HKRU is sadly not just limited to the national level, where HK’s women professional rugby players are paid far less than their male counterparts (none are willing to comment on the record, such is the petty vindictive nature of the male dominated culture that permeates the HKRU), but extends to club level.

The HKRU made a big deal at the start of the new season about a sponsorship deal for women’s rugby one part of which, as can be seen published on the HKRU website includes a live video stream of the women’s Premiership game of the week. Look online you can find extensive video coverage of the men’s Premiership. There’s video of women’s first games of the season (all the matches were played consecutively  at King’s Park), where are the rest? Will KPMG the sponsor complain? No chance. Many of it’s senior HK management are rugby old boys and it heavily sponsors the mens game.

The HKRU is perhaps the wealthiest sports organisation in HK, it’s 2014 financial returns show assets of around $250million and it extravagantly funds the men’s game. It’s sad that they are so blind to the women’s game where the potential for great things exists.

Let’s hope that the 26 women picked for the squad can take that final step and make the World Cup. Perhaps then the old men running the game will take notice – but then again, probably not as there’s nothing in it for them other than trying to steal the spotlight from the women who made it happen.

Hong Kong’s women need your support, lend you voices and your presence head to Kings Park, 7pm tonight and cheer them on against Fiji!

MAKE SOME NOISE, GO HONG KONG!

  • Twitter
  • Facebook
  • Google Plus
  • Tumblr
  • Pinterest
  • Reddit
  • Delicious
  • LinkedIn
  • StumbleUpon
  • Live
  • Add to favorites
  • Email
  • RSS

Editorial: Court of Appeal Reject Oath Appeal

Download (PDF, 384KB)

Today the Court of Appeal rejected the appeal of Yau Wai Ching, Sixtus Leung Chung Hang, and The President of The Legislative Council over their oath taking disqualification. The reasons are steeped in legalise but essentially amount to the fact that Legco and the HK courts are subservient to the Basic Law and that China can change and amend the Basic Law whenever and however it wants.

And that any amendments are how the law should have been read since it came into being on the 1 July, 1997. Thus if China ‘interprets’ the Basic Law and says that, for example, the HK Bauhinia flag is green, even though we can all see its red. Then the flag is green! And anyone who says otherwise can and will be sent to jail even if they said the flag was red in 1998 years before the new interpretation existed.

Given the judge’s very precise interpretation and reliance on the new wording of Article 104 then strictly speaking since 689 omitted the words Hong Kong from his oath then he should be also be removed from office (and have to hand back all the money given to him as he threw the vast majority of HongKongers under the bus). It won’t happen of course, there’s one rule for the entitled, rich and connected and another for everyone else.

The question is will the Court of Final Appeal (CoFA) stand up for the people of Hong Kong, who it must be pointed out freely chose and elected Yau Wai Ching and Sixtus Leung Chung Hang to represent them, and affirm that the laws of Hong Kong are worth the paper they are written on or do we live in the dictatorship that exists north of the border where ‘the law’ changes according to the daily whim and benefit of the Chinese Communist Party.

It’s unlikely as it would mean the CoFA having to make a ruling on the Basic Law and having to decide whether China can amend (and make no mistake this ‘interpretation’ is an amendment) and make the amendment retrospective (as the Court ruled regarding ‘interpretations’ in 1999), whenever they want. Much as I respect the members of the CoFA I doubt they are willing to do that.

As I’ve said before, for those HongKongers who love China so much, you’re free to move there. Just remember that anyone who gets rich in China moves their money out of China as quickly as possible, chooses to educate their children in England, USA or Hong Kong and goes to medical clinics overseas whenever they can. If the China the CCP supporting Chinese have created is so wonderful, why are they so keen to leave?

  • Twitter
  • Facebook
  • Google Plus
  • Tumblr
  • Pinterest
  • Reddit
  • Delicious
  • LinkedIn
  • StumbleUpon
  • Live
  • Add to favorites
  • Email
  • RSS

Beijing’s Reinterpretation of Article 104

Article 104 of the Hong Kong’s Basic Law states:
When assuming office, the Chief Executive, principal officials, members of the Executive Council and of the Legislative Council, judges of the courts at all levels and other members of the judiciary in the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region must, in accordance with law, swear to uphold the Basic Law of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region of the People’s Republic of China and swear allegiance to the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region of the People’s Republic of China.

Today Beijing offered it’s unsought interpretation which make s three points:

1: Content of the oath
The passage in Article 104 “swear to uphold the Basic Law of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region of the People’s Republic of China and swear allegiance to the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region of the People’s Republic of China,” is the “statutory content” of the Legco oath.

It is also the “statutory requirement and condition” for people to take public office stated in that article, including lawmakers.

2: Definition of “in accordance with law”
a) Taking the oath is a statutory condition and mandatory procedure for people to assume public office.

If one has not taken a valid oath accepted by law, or if one declines to swear in, he or she cannot assume office, and cannot exercise the duties and enjoy the privileges of public office.

b) The oath-taking must fulfil the statutory requirements in format and content. The person taking the oath should take it sincerely and solemnly and must accurately, completely and solemnly read out phrases such as “uphold the Basic Law of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region of the People’s Republic of China” and “bear allegiance to the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region of the People’s Republic of China” as stated in the statutory oath.

c) If the oath-taker refuses to take the oath, he or she shall be disqualified from assuming public office. One is deemed to have refused to take the oath – and subsequently have his or her oath invalidated – if he or she deliberately reads out an oath different from the statutory oath or does it in an insincere or frivolous manner.

d) The oath administrator has the duty to confirm the oath taking is carried out legally and that the oath complies with this interpretation and Hong Kong law.

Any oath that does not satisfy the above interpretation should be confirmed as an “invalid” oath. Retaking the oath is forbidden.

3: Consequences of breach

Those who make a “false oath” or engage themselves in acts that violate the oath after taking it will bear legal responsibility.

Since this interpretation adds things not explicitly written into the existing law, can it be applied retroactively to those who took the oath in the past? If Hong Kong’s judicial system, the most fundamental difference between Hong Kong and China, remains truly ‘independent’ then that will be for the lawyers to argue over and ultimately the Court of Final Appeal to decide.

Logic and common sense would say that you can’t be guilty of something that wasn’t a ‘crime’ when you did it. But the law, common sense and logic make strange bed-fellows. The law has lots of ways to circumvent law changes. eg driving at the legal speed of 40 only for the limit to be reduced the next day to 30. You can’t be charged with speeding because your speed was legal at the time, but you could be charged with careless driving…

So will the judiciary fall over to kiss Beijing’s derriere, for those of us who love Hong Kong we have to hope not. While the law is a living evolving thing, precedents and case law establish a framework for how that happens.

If the CCP is allowed to trample over the law, then tragically Hong Kong is a dead man walking. If the law has no meaning, why will multi-nationals and big companies remain here when a contract isn’t worth the paper it’s written on. They will just move to China where contracts are always open to reinterpretation, often by a sack of money under the table or a fist.

Read the Basic Law here

  • Twitter
  • Facebook
  • Google Plus
  • Tumblr
  • Pinterest
  • Reddit
  • Delicious
  • LinkedIn
  • StumbleUpon
  • Live
  • Add to favorites
  • Email
  • RSS

Taste Festival FAIL!

taste-festival-hk-fail

For those thinking of attending Taste at the Central Harbourfront, then sadly I suggest you think again if you haven’t already bought a ticket. Especially if you’re imagining something like last year’s enjoyable and diverse Wine & Dine Festival.

At Taste there are just 12 restaurants: Aberdeen Street Social, Amber, Arcane (Sunday), Bibo, Café Gray Deluxe, Chino (Thursday & Friday), Duddell’s, Serge et Le Phoque, The Ocean, Tin Lung Heen, Tosca, Yardbird and Ronin and visiting UK restaurant Duck & Waffle (Saturday). The organisers IMG are hoping to attract 3,000 people per four hour session. If you are keen to try all 12 outlets then you’ll be hoping to get served every 20 minutes as will the other 250+ customers at each booth. Even the most efficient McDonalds in Hong Kong would be struggling to serve 750 people every hour for four hours straight; and they’re a restaurant specifically designed to serve fast food. The 12 outlets at Taste are restaurants used to serving 100 or so people in an evening, with care taken in the cooking and presentation of the food. And with rents for a booth at over $20,000, the dishes aren’t cheap ranging from $50 to $380 for mini-portions on a paper plate…

Each restaurant is offering 3 dishes and one signature dish, as the organisers IMG didn’t ask the participants to prepare any dishes for the media to taste it’s impossible for bc to comment on the individual offerings. On the opening night an outlet ran out of its signature dish within just over an hour having prepared less than 30 portions. Others ran out of their ‘main’ dishes before 8pm. One outlet spoke of preparing 300 of each main dish per session – so only 1 in 10 of IMG’s projected session visitors might be able to taste it…

Arrive early and expect to queue and queue… Even the Event Director Simon Wilson thinks you’ll only be able to taste dishes from 5 or 6 outlets per 4 hour session. Thursday was the first night, and the weather meant only a couple of hundred visitors yet there were long lines all around. Service at all the restaurants was friendly but disorganised with ordering and food arrival taking several minutes per customer. Late in any session I expect the food choices to be extremely limited if non-existent.

The place feels very sterile, there’s no area to sit and congregate and share food stories. There are no tables on the event ‘lawn’ (more like a squishy puddle in the rain) so the few standing only tables inside the booths were crammed and with staff working flat-out to serve food; clearing the tables of piling rubbish was an oft forgotten afterthought.

The restaurants are spaced around the exterior, while the ‘spine’ of Taste features various wine, craft beer and food produce outlets. Drinks are at bar prices and nothing that you can’t find easily around town. Although La Boucherie and Golden Pig are offering some tasty sausages while Eclair! has some interesting savoury eclairs and chocolates.

The lack of restaurant booths is Taste’s main problem. 20 or 30 outlets (there’s no shortage of ‘high end’ outlets locally) would have allowed diners to spend less time queueing and more time tasting – which after all is supposedly the idea behind the event.

This is not IMG’s first Taste event, they have organised many around the world, but Taste HK feels like a rort, designed to fleece it’s visitors of as many dollars as possible… Looking to cash in on the premium names and reputations of outlets with dishes that are expensive for what’s on offer. $280 for a lobster roll eaten standing in a puddle under an umbrella… Maybe it’s different overseas but here it’s definitely an event for those with money to burn. For the rest of us, save your money and go enjoy the dishes as the chef imagined you would eat them, sitting down with time to appreciate all their subtleties and complexities of flavour, texture and taste.

  • Twitter
  • Facebook
  • Google Plus
  • Tumblr
  • Pinterest
  • Reddit
  • Delicious
  • LinkedIn
  • StumbleUpon
  • Live
  • Add to favorites
  • Email
  • RSS

Censorship, Intimidation and Harassment of SCMP Reader

scmp-powering-through---2-january-2016

It’s ironic that while on it’s front pages the SCMP vociferously advocates for press freedom and the release of Bo Lee and his fellow disappeared. The reality within it’s own pages is that of censorship, intimidation and harassment of any reader who dare criticise or question an SCMP employee. The exact type of actions that the SCMP would have its readers believe it looks to expose in others. The hypocrisy is sad.

On the 1 January the SCMP’s Kevin Kung spent 16 hours, working until 1am, on a story about the New Year’s Day Youth Rugby Tournament at HK Football Club. By his own admission he didn’t stay until the end of the tournament. A sterling effort you might think, except that the published article, a massive 250 or so words, quite simply ignores half the participants. Focusing solely on the boys rugby, reading his original story you’d never know that half the rugby played that day was by girls.

Linda Olson the administrator and driving force behind the Women’s Rugby Hong Kong Facebook group enquired politely of Mr Kung about the gender bias in his article.

“I am wondering why you only reported on boys’ rugby in the article below?
The headline makes it sound as if only boys took part.
The article itself makes no mention of the girls who played.
The video includes only brief coverage of girls rugby (the U12s team and captain).
This is unacceptable.
Nearly a quarter of rugby players in Hong Kong are girls/women and it is the most rapidly expanding demographic here.
Please ensure that your coverage is more inclusive in future..”

The article’s author Mr Kung replied and made some edits to ‘improve’ the online version of the article:
1. “Girls” was added to the sub-headline making it gender neutral.
2. A photo with caption of Gracie Hood (GH) was added.
3. An extra paragraph added to the end of the article mentioned the U19s girls’ game (but did not name the Captain as they had with the boys game) and GH being named Best and Fairest of the match.
Mrs Olson notified the WRHK Facebook group members of the changes and thanked Mr Kung for making them, at the same time providing a quantitative analysis of the gender imbalance of the SCMP coverage.

Mr Kung however had also cc’d in SCMP Sports Editor Noel Prentice who then fired off an intimidatory and threatening email to Mrs Olson which he cc’d to senior figures at the HK Rugby Union AND Mrs Olson’s employer!!!

Mr Prentice’s email is quite astounding in it’s arrogance, tone and less than full disclosure of facts.

“I take exception to you accusing my reporter and SCMP of sexist coverage when Kevin has gone out of his way to cover rugby and the New Year’s Day tournament. He spent 16 hours compiling the online and print coverage so please have some respect.

SCMP is a great supporter of rugby and we give what many consider a niche sport a disproportionate amount of coverage. (bc’s note: why, because the HK Rugby Union pay the SCMP a lot of money to write about local and international rugby). And we have also gone out of our way to cover the emergence of women/girls in the game and the opportunity they have been afforded.

We do not have the resources to give blanket coverage to any sport and all sports and events are judged on their news value.

We also strive to be fair and balanced and I would expect you to also adhere to these principles when delivering any gender bias lectures to the students of Li Po Chun United World College of Hong Kong.” SCMP’s Noel Prentice

If it takes Mr Kung 16 hours to write a 250 or so word article it does explain a lot about why the SCMP print edition is so thin and lacking in content compared to years past. Joking aside Noel Prentice’s email is factually mis-representative of Mrs Olson’s enquiry and comment; neglects to mention that the HKRU pays the SCMP lots of money to ‘support’ the writing and publishing of stories about rugby; and extremely patronising of the fairer sex “the emergence of women/girls in the game and the opportunity they have been afforded” and by assuming that boys rugby coverage is of value, while coverage of girls youth rugby has no news value.

If the original article was to quote Mr Prentice “Fair and balanced” then Mrs Olson wouldn’t have needed to contact Mr Kung and could have used the story to show how the media was covering girls and women’s rugby in the same detail as men’s rugby. That it didn’t make any mention of 50% of the tournaments participants makes it unbalanced not fully accurate and a perfect example of gender imbalance in the media – the subject of Mrs Olson’s frustration and her class.

Why Mr Prentice also cc’d Mrs Olson employer, in what appears to be a blatant intimidation attempt to damage her professional standing and work relationship with her employer – while at the same time looking to censor the use of SCMP content in an education setting – is something the SCMP failed to answer when bc emailed them asking for a comment.

Read the full email conversation here – email addresses have been removed to protect people’s privacy.
Read about women’s rugby in bc magazine and here on the Women’s Rugby Hong Kong facebook group.

  • Twitter
  • Facebook
  • Google Plus
  • Tumblr
  • Pinterest
  • Reddit
  • Delicious
  • LinkedIn
  • StumbleUpon
  • Live
  • Add to favorites
  • Email
  • RSS

The Legacy of ‘Unequal Treaties’

unequal-treaties

No one can deny that Great Britain and China have had a long and contentious trading relationship.

To this day, many in China see this relationship through the historic lens of what has become known as the Unequal Treaties. Unlike so many things in China, the notion of an unequal treaty doesn’t quite sync with the perfunctory meaning one would first imagine.

In fact, any simple review of British Colonial History quickly shows that the principle driver behind the first war between Britain and China was Britain’s desire for trading treaties that were essentially equal. Whereas in the past, the Dragon Throne had only ever entered into treaties that overtly benefitted itself over and above the vassal or barbarian state. Between 1839-42, the British demanded, through the means of arms and military coercion, that China sign something that reflected the two great nations on par with each other both politically and economically.

Ever sticklers for detail that the British were, they sent back treaties numerous times so that the language within perfectly reflected an agreement between two equal countries, and thus ensuring that there were no hidden subtexts of one party being senior to the other. In fact, the Treaties between Britain and China were not unequal in their wording or intention. They were, in fact, the first ever treaty that the Dragon Throne entered on an equal basis.

From the Chinese side, what the term unequal alludes to, is the power relationship. Or Britain had greater power in setting the terms, mostly in the form of arms, to force China to sign the treaty. Or, if the power relationship had been more equal, China would never have signed an equal trade pact with the barbarian state, Britain.

For British people today, relating what happened in 1842 to David Cameron’s trade deals with China in 2015 is a long stretch, but no doubt it was the cherry on the top of a huge bumper bonanza for Xi Jinping’s UK delegation this week. History had finally come full circle, with the old oppressor Britain, bending over backwards, cap in hand, for divine blessings from the new Dragon Throne, apparently flush with cash.

Certainly the rulers of China, the CCP, didn’t force any trade deals upon modern day Britain. But from the tone of the ostentatious welcome afforded to the CCP, it was clear that for Cameron and Osbourne, China now has the economic clout to force Britain into modern day trade deals with echoes of the Unequal Treaties of yesteryear.

No doubt, the trade pacts that were signed were fair and equal and probably gushed with mutual respect between the two States. But just like in the original Unequal Treaties what will be remembered in history is what the text does not contain.

By being directly instructed not to talk about Human Rights or anything else that may “offend China,” Cameron conceded that Britain was the weaker party in the deal, and just like China in 1842, signed an unequal treaty that its citizens will come to resent in the years to come. For the billions of dollars of deals from China to Britain, come loaded with unwritten conditions for future UK governments to fulfil: Don’t meet the Dalai Lama, don’t comment on China’s human rights, don’t comment on China’s internal affairs, be compliant with China’s foreign policy, do not support Hong Kong, etc., etc. Or bad behaviours, as defined by the immoral CCP, will bring financial consequences for Britain, good behaviours will bring rewards. Plus, throw into this coercive relationship, the control of three nuclear reactors.

So, as long as Britain is compliant to the CCP’s will, the money will come and the reactors will keep running. Just in the same way as in 1842, where British gunboats would cease firing so long as the trade flowed in a manner that suited the Brits. It is these types of unwritten and conditional demands that make seemingly equal treaties seem very, very unequal, and is why many British people are in an uproar today.

All-in-all, Cameron’s 2015 China-Play was a bad day for British sovereignty. It was also a bad day for the future of global trade if other countries choose to follow suit and entertain a world where core-values are blatantly forfeited for short-term gains from predatory, authoritarian States.

  • Twitter
  • Facebook
  • Google Plus
  • Tumblr
  • Pinterest
  • Reddit
  • Delicious
  • LinkedIn
  • StumbleUpon
  • Live
  • Add to favorites
  • Email
  • RSS

Nevermind Facebook Likes, 12 Ways the HK Police Force Could Improve Their Image.

hk-police

Nevermind Facebook likes… Richard Scotford, a Hongkonger, offers twelve ways the HK Police Force (HKPF) could improve their image. I’m sure you can add more

1) The HKPF needs to come out and officially admit that using CS gas at 17:58 on 28/09/2014 was a mistake and they’re sorry to the public.

2) The Seven Black Police videoed beating Ken Tsang need to go on trial.

3) Franklin Chu needs to go on trial.

4) Wilson Yeung who needlessly pepper-sprayed me directly in the eyes for no reason and without warning needs to go on trial.

5) The Complaints Against Police Office (CAPO) needs to be completely shaken up. They should get rid of the attitude of, how do we find a way to exonerate this officer, and instead work off the basis that in any organization, there are people who need to be disciplined. Some need severe discipline. Some need to go to jail. In a force of 30,000 people there are going to be some bad eggs. This is actually good for morale and maintains integrity and respect for the other officers. What we have now is a feeling in the police force of, these democracy protesters are our enemies and we can not let them win at anything. We lost face to them during Occupy and that will never happen again. Therefore we will bend the law and pervert justice in order to protect our own and the ‘face’ of the police force whenever it comes to dealing with democracy protesters.

6) No more putting people in taxis. Either they’re arrested or they’re left to find their own way home. Escorting violent people and putting them in a taxi is NOT keeping the peace. It’s collusion with dark forces. If people break the law, arrest them or leave them to their own devices. No more police home-escorts for people who have clearly broken the law.

7) No more mobilising 100s of PTU to protect aunties or CCP protesters. CCP supporters or aunties should be told that there is no longer police protection for their activities. People who break the law on Sai Yeung Choi Street or at protests will be arrested according to the law, but no more huge protection squads guarding people who are favoured by the Liaison Office.

8) No more pepper spraying peaceful protesters without warning. Pepper spray is a chemical weapon designed to subdue people who are clearly acting violently and will not desist in their activities. Pepper spray is NOT a means of passive crowd control.

9) No more threatening and hitting peaceful protesters with batons. Batons are an extreme weapon that should be used on people who are acting extremely violently or have weapons. Batons are not a form of passive crowd control.

REMEMBER – as a citizen I have a right to choose what actions I wish to carry out. If those actions do not physically threaten or harm anybody, then it is not a given that police can use extreme violence to prevent me from carrying them out. Law is a function of justice. The ultimate aim of a civil society, like Hong Kong is to create a society based on JUSTICE. Not on a society that only obeys laws. If I break the law, then I shall be put in front of a judge and given justice in accordance with what laws I have broken. Just because I break the law, it doesn’t then absolve me of my most basic humans rights of freedom from harm and physical violence. Meaning,

10) The police need to stop extra-judicial, street justice immediately.

11) Stop beating people up in the police vans or police stations.

12) When the police arrest someone, tell them IMMEDIATELY why they’re being arrested. Read them their rights before they are removed from the scene according to the Hong Kong Bill of Rights Ordinance, Article 5(2) Stop Hog-tying protesters like they’re armed psychopaths. Protesters arrested need to be given basic human dignity when they’re detained and not hauled off like pieces of meat with no rights.

Oh, one last point…. CLEAN THEIR SCRUFFY BOOTS and SHOES. Their boots are still a shabby mess, which is a direct reflection of the senior officers who command them.
Time to lean, time to clean! The commanding officers have no standards and it shows in the scruffy shoes of their subordinates.

  • Twitter
  • Facebook
  • Google Plus
  • Tumblr
  • Pinterest
  • Reddit
  • Delicious
  • LinkedIn
  • StumbleUpon
  • Live
  • Add to favorites
  • Email
  • RSS

Press Statement Faculty of Law, The University of Hong Kong

The Faculty of Law refutes in the strongest possible terms unfair criticisms that were said to have been made against Professor Johannes Chan in the last Council meeting of Sept 29, 2015.

Prof. Chan has long been recognised as a leading scholar of public law and human rights in Hong Kong. Before he became Head of the Department of Law in 1999 and subsequently Dean of the Faculty of Law, he had already been promoted by the University to his current academic position as Professor in 1998, after rigorous external assessment and on the basis of international recognition of his contribution to legal scholarship. In 2002 he was elected Dean of the Faculty. In 2005, when the University changed its deanship system to appointment of full-time deans on the basis of international recruitment, Prof. Chan was selected by the search committee and appointed the first full-time Dean of the Faculty.

Speculations that Prof. Chan was appointed Dean only because he is a nice person are groundless. While Prof. Chan is certainly a nice person, his colleagues respect him because of his excellent leadership and management of the Faculty, his vision for the Faculty’s role in providing high-quality legal education and promoting the rule of law in Hong Kong and as a centre of excellence in research on Western, Chinese and international laws, his unique ability in promoting and motivating colleagues to achieve this vision, and above all his utmost honour and integrity. During his term of office as Dean, Prof. Chan was also tireless in his efforts to deepen the Faculty’s ties with Mainland and overseas Universities, and the Faculty achieved high rankings in the QS World University Rankings.

Prof. Johannes Chan’s appointment as Honorary Senior Counsel in 2003 testifies to his high standing in Hong Kong’s legal community. Under section 31A(4a) of the Legal Practitioners Ordinance, a member of the academic staff of a law school in Hong Kong who is qualified as a barrister and who has “provided distinguished service to the law of Hong Kong” may be appointed Honorary Senior Counsel. The appointment is made by the Chief Justice after consultation with the Chairman of the Bar Council and the President of the Law Society of Hong Kong. So far, Prof. Chan is the only law teacher in Hong Kong who has been appointed Honorary Senior Counsel.

Professor Yash Ghai, Emeritus Professor of our Faculty, formerly holder of the Sir Y.K. Pao Chair in Public Law and HKU’s Distinguished Research Achievement Award (the most prestigious research award in the University of Hong Kong), wrote to us after the recent Council decision as follows:

“I was shocked to learn that the Council of Hong Kong University has rejected Professor Johannes Chan’s nomination as the University’s Pro-Vice Chancellor…

I was Professor Chan’s colleague for several years at the Faculty of Law at HKU. We are both public law teachers and have collaborated on several research projects. Prof. Chan is also a distinguished lawyer who has participated in several leading cases on constitutional and administrative law in Hong Kong.
It is absurd to say that he is not qualified for the position because he does not have a Ph D. Some of the world’s leading law professors and scholars do not have a PhD degree. … When I was a law student, first at Oxford, and then Harvard for graduate studies, not one of my teachers had a PhD! …

I collaborated with Prof. Chan in writing in and editing two books, one on human rights in Hong Kong, following the adoption by the Legislative Council of the Hong Kong Bill of Rights Ordinance, and the other on the decision of the Court of Final Appeal in the right of abode case, decided soon after the Basic Law came into force. Chan edited most of the chapters, co-authored one with me, and one on his own, in the first of these books. In the second book, he took responsibility for editing contributions in Chinese language, and wrote a chapter himself. Both these books were well received and provoked considerable debate — as a good book should. Two years ago in a book that I edited with Professor Simon Young, on the first 13 years of the Court of Final Appeal and that of Chief Justice Andrew Li, Prof. Chan contributed an excellent chapter on public law. He has published articles in well-known law journals, in Hong Kong and abroad. …

Professor Chan has also written about Hong Kong’s law in popular journals and newspapers, to educate ordinary people and to stimulate debate — which is also the responsibility of a good law teacher and professor. His involvement with cases in the Hong Kong courts is also consistent with a scholar’s contribution to the development of the law. Developing good working relations with the judiciary and the legal profession, which Prof. Chan has done with great success, is also often regarded as the responsibility of a law teacher. His contribution to the reform of law is well-known, through litigation and research. It would be a grave misrepresentation to suggest that Prof. Chan was elected Dean of the Law Faculty because he was considered ‘a nice guy’. He is undoubtedly a nice guy. But before he became the Dean, he was the Head of the Law Department. All the students and teachers had ample opportunities to see his leadership at close quarters. It is because we were convinced of his outstanding abilities, in providing leadership, fundraising, cultivating relations with the judiciary and the legal profession, and his vision of the Faculty as a leading centre of legal scholarship, that we elected him as Dean. All the expectations that we had of him have been fulfilled…”

We hope that this statement has helped to set the record straight: Prof. Johannes Chan is internationally recognized as a leading scholar in his field. He was appointed Dean of Law for his vision, his leadership, his integrity, his passion for legal education, and above all his outstanding abilities. We have been fortunate to have him at the helm of the Faculty.

Regardless of what lies ahead, the Faculty will continue in its commitment to uphold academic freedom and the rule of law in Hong Kong.

Faculty of Law
University of Hong Kong
4 October 2015

  • Twitter
  • Facebook
  • Google Plus
  • Tumblr
  • Pinterest
  • Reddit
  • Delicious
  • LinkedIn
  • StumbleUpon
  • Live
  • Add to favorites
  • Email
  • RSS