Hong Kong leader issues warning to territory’s top legal body


Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam speaks during a press conference at the Central Government Offices complex in Hong Kong [File: Jerome Favre/EPA]

Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam says gov’t could intervene in Bar Association after its chief criticised jailing of pro-democracy activists.

Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam has warned that the government could intervene in the Bar Association, the territory’s top legal body after its chief criticised the jailing of pro-democracy politicians earlier this month.

On Sunday, China’s representative office in Hong Kong labelled Bar Chairman Paul Harris an “anti-China politician” after he spoke out against the jailing of the activists and politicians.

Speaking at her weekly press briefing on Tuesday, Lam said that while Hong Kong respects freedom of expression, there are limits.

“For the time being, I do not see the case for any government intervention into the affairs of the Hong Kong Bar Association,” Lam said.

“But, of course, if there are instances or complaints about the bar not acting in accordance with the Hong Kong law, then, of course, the government would be called into action.”

Harris had questioned the custodial sentences given to media tycoon Jimmy Lai and others for taking part in an unauthorised assembly during anti-government demonstrations in 2019 and also defended the right to peaceful protests.

Harris had argued that peaceful demonstrations remain legal in the city and that such demonstrations serve as a channel for people to express their grievances. Earlier this year, he had also called for amendments in national security law, which China imposed on Hong Kong in June last year.









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