Hong Kong Lawyers Attacked By Pro-China Media Lose Stormy Poll | Politics News
Traditionally low-profile bar elections have been unusually busy this year amid pressures of a sweeping national security law
Five candidates advocating ‘professionalism’ over politics swept an election for the Hong Kong Law Society council, shattering hopes of a camp that wanted tougher measures to uphold the rule of law in the global financial center .
Five of the 20 seats on the board were up for grabs.
A company statement Wednesday morning confirmed that candidates widely regarded as pro-establishment won all open seats.
The traditionally low-profile election has been unusually busy this year amid the pressures of a sweeping national security law.
Pro-Beijing officials and media have accused some candidates of political bias.
One of three candidates labeled “liberal” by pro-Beijing media, incumbent President Jonathan Ross, stepped down over the weekend, saying he wanted to protect his safety and that of his family.
Society President Melissa Pang said the group will continue to uphold the rule of law from a neutral position.
“Professionalism is very important,” she said. “In terms of politics, we are apolitical. “
The 12,000-member professional and regulatory body for the city’s legal sector acts as a watchdog on legal changes and has a say in the appointment of judges and lawyers to serve on government advisory bodies.
In recent years, the semi-autonomous Chinese city has seen drastic changes in several of its laws, prompting pro-democracy activists and opposition politicians to warn of a further erosion of freedom.
In a separate development, the government proposed amendments to the city’s Film Censorship Ordinance that would allow Hong Kong’s chief secretary to retroactively revoke the certification of films on national security grounds.
As part of the planned update, the maximum penalty for anyone showing a film without a license would be increased to three years in prison and a fine of HK $ 1 million ($ 128,000), according to a report by Hong Kong Free Press.
The bill will be submitted to the Legislative Council for its first and second reading next Wednesday.
The amendments “would also explicitly state that a censor must consider whether showing a film would be against the interests of national security.”