Pro-Beijing legislators successfully intervened in the appointment of senior judiciary in Hong Kong for the first time. The lawyer said it was the latest attack on Hong Kong’s important independent legal system.
Maria Yuen, wife of Jeffrey Ma, the former chief judge of the city, was to be appointed as the next permanent judge of the Hong Kong Final Court of Appeals, two people familiar with the case said in the Financial Times. Told to.
However, people said she withdrew her candidacy for the city’s Supreme Court after lawmakers expressed concern about the appointment. Lawmakers argued that Yuen may have been influenced by her husband, who had been criticized by Pro-Beijing groups in the past, after defending Hong Kong’s judicial neutrality.
Beijing To be In response to the 2019 rebel protest, we arrested democratization activists, politicians and media outlets for Hong Kong citizens and political institutions.
Police arrested an editorial page writer for the democratic tabloid Apple Daily, which has been repeatedly attacked by criticisms of the government on Wednesday.The newspaper is imminent Closed After the property was frozen by the government last week.
Police said Wednesday that a 55-year-old man, who Apple Daily said would go under Li Ping’s pseudonym, was arrested on suspicion of colluding with foreign troops to jeopardize national security.
China has not yet made major changes to Hong Kong’s common law legislation.But such a move Related to international companiesMany of them have regional headquarters in the city, thanks in part to an independent judicial institution.
Yuen’s appointment was recommended last year by the Judiciary Nomination Committee, a semi-independent body that reviews Hong Kong’s judicial position, and was expected to be approved by the city’s chief executive officer, Carrie Lam. Two people familiar with the event said.
The Legislative Council, the de facto parliament in Hong Kong, needs to identify candidates for CEO of the Chief Executive Officer. In the past, this step was considered formal.
However, before Yuen’s recommendations were finalized and officially sent to the legislature for confirmation, Pro-Beijing lawmakers, including Holden Chow and Elizabeth Quat, expressed concern.
A legislative committee on the administration of judiciary and legal affairs controlled by Pro-Beijing politicians called on judicial and government officials to discuss the appointment.
Aside from their opposition that horses may continue to influence the court through Yuen, legislators also said she took a long time to make a decision, according to those who know their ideas. It was.
According to two people who knew the case, Yuen withdrew her nomination at the inquiry of a politician that it was the first known case of this kind. Yuen directed all requests for comment on the case to the judiciary, but the judiciary did not provide details.
The Commission then elected another judge, Johnson Lam, to be appointed.
Insiders said Ram was not considered more conservative or liberal in his judgment than Yuen, and in the case of Yuen, there was no evidence that lawmakers acted on Beijing’s orders.
However, senior legal officials were concerned that the Yuen case could set a precedent for the legislative council, which is dominated by Pro-Beijing politicians, to formally consider the appointment of a judiciary. This can undermine the authority of JORC, the Judiciary Appointment Committee.
One senior legal officer said the political review of the appointment could be based on loyalty to Beijing rather than ability. Discourage the best candidates From moving forward.
Johannes Chan, a law scholar at the University of Hong Kong, said the Yuen case was “a very worrisome development for judicial independence.”
“It provides a channel for political interference with the appointment of key judicial personnel. [legislature] It is dominated by Pro-Beijing politicians, “Chan said.
Critics say last year’s government decision Appoint another judge The case related to the National Security Act, which was introduced to the territory by Beijing as a result of protests last year, has already undermined the perception of judicial independence.
Tong Ying-kit trial, First person billing Under security law, it is set to start on Wednesday in front of these judges.
Chow Chow and Quat refused to comment on the Yuen case. Chung Moon declined to comment, but said that “all appointments of judiciaries by the CEO will be in accordance with the Basic Law, which is a mini-constitution of the territory.”
Geoffrey declined to comment.
Horace Cheung, chairman of the legislative committee on judicial and legal administration, said, “We have contacted the government and the judiciary for preliminary views.” .. .. About the issues raised by members of his panel on the nomination process. “
Hong Kong Pro-Beijing Confederates Intervene in Judiciary Appointment
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