tv HAR Dtalk BBC News July 6, 2020 4:30am-5:01am BST
as its tourist attractions stay shut, india has overtaken russia to become the country with the world's third—highest number of confirmed cases. a sharp rise in diagnoses has taken the confirmed total to around 690,000. more than 19,000 people have died so far. the authorities in the north—western spanish region of galicia have imposed restrictions on about 70,000 people after a fresh outbreak of the coronavirus. it comes a day after catalonia also introduced a local lockdown to curb the spread of covid—19. the australian state of victoria has closed its border with neighbouring new south wales after a new spike in coronavirus cases. in melbourne, over 30 suburbs have been locked down and 3,000 residents living in public housing will not be able to leave their flats for the next two weeks. now on bbc news, it's hardtalk.
welcome to hardtalk. i'm stephen sackur. the people of hong kong are getting used to a new reality, a draconian national security law made in china and imposed on the territory with no meaningful consultation. pro—democracy activists call it the death of the ‘0ne country, two systems‘ principle. well, my guest today is the former pro—democracy politician turned beijing loyalist ronny tong. is china suffocating the life out of hong kong's special status?
ronny tong in hong kong, welcome to hardtalk. hello. let me begin with the concept of consultation. are you comfortable with the fact that china has just imposed a law on the territory of hong kong with no meaningful consultation with the government or people of hong kong? i don't think that is quite right. i think there are two things one needs to remember. first of all, it is a law to be — it is a law enacted by the mainland according to the legislative law, it is not a law enacted by the legislative council. so they would consult the way in which their law provides as to how to consult in relation to the lawmaking process.
i wouldn't say that there was no meaningful consultation. i think quite the contrary. a lot of people put in opinion and advice, and i did so also, and the government was consulted, the basic law committee was consulted. as far as i can tell, in the many opinions that are provided to the npcsc, some of them were taken up. 0thers resulted in introducing some kind of compromise in relation to some of the... mr tong, it's hard to take that seriously, this notion there was meaningful consultation... why not? ..when even your chief executive, carrie lam, said she did not know what was in the national security act until literally hours before it was implemented. ah, you misunderstood her. what she meant was that she did not read the actual text of the statute. but of course, the parameters of the law, you know, are known to everybody. te know that it is to be a law which may touch upon human rights in hong kong and, therefore,
our advice basically centres on trying to introduce a proper balance between protecting the safety of the nation on the one hand, and protecting the core values and freedoms of people of hong kong on the other. well, unless you no longer believe in the ‘0ne country, two systems‘ policy... i do believe, i do believe. ..i cannot believe then that your advice was taken in beijing, because the entire national security act is, in spirit, if not in the letter of the law, a blatant violation of that principle. why do you say that? i mean, if you have read the statute itself, article 4 deals with the preservation of freedoms and rights under the basic law and under the two conventions for human rights, and i'm talking about the international covenant for civil and political rights and international covenant on economic social and cultural
rights. now, those two conventions actually are not applicable to the rest of china. although china is a signatory to those two conventions, china had never rectified those two conventions. but the fact that the two conventions are in the basic law and, again, specifically mentioned in article 4 of the national security law, demonstrates quite clearly that the central government has proper respect for the different system in hong kong. article 5... can you tell me that... sorry, can i just finish? you can't bully me into accepting your question without allowing me to answer the question.
oh, i've no intention of bullying you, mr tong. article 5 of the law also sets out all the elements of the rule of law that needed to be respected, like presumption of innocence, right to silence, right to defend, and so on and so forth. so, why on earth with anybody say that the law is an affront to the rule of law? i can't understand it. for one thing, beijing now puts a very significant office full of its own national security and intelligence personnel in hong kong... so what? ..to carry out law enforcement activities in the city, and its staff are entirely not subject to hong kong law while carrying out their duties. how does that fit with ‘0ne country, two systems‘? now, you‘re talking about the national security office. now, the law makes it quite clear — the enforcement and the application of the national security law is entirely to be carried out by the hong kong sar, right.
the office, during that time, would only provide advice to the sar. it doesn‘t have any law enforcement powers in that regard. now, the only time when we would have... hang on... let me finish! how can you say that? you don‘t even know! it hasn‘t even started its work yet. no, just let me finish! the only time that it would take on cases would be under one of the sections, i think it‘s article 55, where very special circumstances were identified... thank you, mr tong. thank you for turning to article 55. i appreciate it, because article 55 makes it plain that in serious and complex national security cases, as defined — as defined by beijing, that the defendants can be transferred to the chinese mainland for prosecution. now, if you look at article 55, it makes it quite clear that the office would only come into play if, due to some external
circumstances, which makes it impossible or difficult for the sar government to enforce the law, and it is only in those circumstances that the office would come into play. but even then, when it takes on the case, it would take on the case in enforcing the national security law, the one we‘re looking at, not the mainland national security law. so that all the provisions of the national security law, as we are looking at it, are still applicable and would be applied by the office. mr tong, i‘ve looked at article 55 myself... so there‘s nothing wrong with that. it‘s quite plain that in so—called serious and complex cases, they can be taken to the mainland for trial. now, we have seen, over many months, hong kongers express their deep discontent and fury with the notion of an extradition law. we now have a national security law, which makes it plain that in cases
defined as serious by beijing, they can be taken to the mainland for trial, and those defendants can face anything from ten years to life imprisonment. some people believe that the death penalty could be inflicted upon defendants who are found guilty in mainland courts. again, it is a simple question, mr tong, which you appear unable to answer. how does that fit... i resent that. ..with ‘0ne country, two systems‘? i resent that, i‘m sorry. you just haven‘t been listening to what i am saying. i am saying that under this law, the only time when the office can come into play and bring cases against people in hong kong would be within a very narrow compass as defined in the law, and even then, when it take on the case, it is... who defines this narrow compass, mr tong? i haven‘t finished.
who defines it? i have not finished! no! i‘m sorry. you are not answering any of my questions. no, you‘re not allowing me to finish the question! you are not allowing me to answer. i am asking you simple questions which require simple, straightforward... no, you‘ve got to give me time! ..honest answers, not obfuscation. no, i‘m not obfuscating at all! you are putting questions on a false premise, and i am trying to explain to you... no, i‘m certainly not, mr tong. ..why your question was based on false premise. i ask simple questions. frankly, i expect simple, clear, straightforward a nswers. you are not giving them to me. i expect simple, clear questions, which are based on facts, and i am not expecting questions based on misinformation, all right? i am not giving you any misinformation, mrtong, and you know it. indeed you are. you are just not accepting it. i have been trying to say to you that when the office takes on a case, it takes on the hong kong national security law, not the mainland national security law. the only difference is that it would come into play if and when the sar government is not in a position to enforce the law or that it‘s not
in a position to govern hong kong. exactly. this is the key to article 18 of the basic law... those decisions will be taken in beijing, that is quite clear. ..which says it very clearly that when there is a situation the hong kong government is unable to govern due to serious disturbances or perhaps in the state of war, then the national government would come in. now, that‘s the same situation as you will find in any other... mr tong, if i may say so... ..in any other federal government... are you here to be unwilling to engage with me on the detail... ..and i see nothing wrong with that. and i certainly don‘t think that it is disrespect of the ‘0ne country, two systems‘. quite the contrary. perhaps you will engage... it allows for the two systems to operate in a way... if you won‘t engage with me, mr tong, maybe you will engage with some of the most respected legal scholars in hong kong. professor chan at the university of hong kong, "it is clear this law will have a severe impact
on the freedom of expression in hong kong, also on the personal security of the people of hong kong. effectively, china is imposing the people‘s republic of china‘s criminal system onto a hong kong common law system, leaving beijing with discretion to decide who should fall into which system." is there a question? that is his analysis of this law. is there a question? i am asking you — is there a question? you are simply repeating somebody‘s. . .what somebody said. he is clearly suggesting this is a violation. you are not putting the question properly. now, the law says that it would be enforced in the common law, under the common law system, as i have explained it to you, with reference to protections under the basic law and the two conventions on human rights, and with reference to the rule of law and all the protections to a defendant will be there and, you know, it would be applied by hong kong courts by the way. your suggestion seems to be that hong kong...
why is it, mr tong, why do you think it is that professor chan at he university of hong kong... they are not! ..the hong kong bar association, which has condemned the national security law as utterly inconsistent with the basic law, the former bar association chair, alan leong, who says that, "hong kong, as we know it, as a result of this law, is gone" — why are all these respected legal institutions and voices in complete disagreement with you, who it has to be said, for the last few years, has been a very obedient voice and opinion former on behalf of beijing? why do you think they all completely disagree with you? i entirely resent that. i was a chairman before alan leong, all right, and i have been a queen‘s counsel and a senior counsel for 25 years, all right. now, yes, they are politically motivated... and you are now in complete disagreement with the legal...
i have not finished! ..of the bar association and all of the senior respected independent lawyers in hong kong. this is absolutely ridiculous. you know, there is no way to carry on an interview like this. you should be ashamed of yourself. i‘m not ashamed of myself, mr tong. i‘m really looking for answers. you can‘t get an answer with questions like that, because you are not putting it properly, and you don‘t seem to be in a position to give an opportunity for the interviewee to say something. there is no point to carry out this conversation if you do it like that. let me ask you another question, and see if you can answer this one. we have seen people arrested already under the new national security law, at least ten of them, as i understand it, in recent protests and demonstrations.
it seems that those who have been charged under the new law were waving banners, asking for greater democracy, some of them asking for independence for hong kong. do you believe those are the sorts of crimes that should be prosecuted under this national security law imposed by china? you obviously have not read the news. 0ne stabbed a policeman, the other drove a bike towards a group of policemen and all these people are arrested on suspicion of committing a crime. they are yet to be prosecuted under the national security law and under the law, by the way, if you care to read it, any prosecution needs the written consent of the secretary ofjustice, all right? so you have a lot of violence in the street and people get arrested, that does not prove anything. it is the same the world over. policemen arrest people on suspicion of... i beg to say it is not the same the world over. i‘m just wondering what happened to the ronny tong who when you left the pro—democracy civic party
in 2015 said "i am leaving the party but that does not mean i am giving up the fight for democracy or that i am going to be subservient to the central government." what happened to that ronny tong? nothing happened. i‘m still doing that. because you don‘t believe it does not mean that i am not doing it. i still fight for democracy for hong kong. there is no way to fight democracy by trying to call for independence, is there? is there any real chance for anybody in hong kong or elsewhere, seriously think that by calling for independence for hong kong we will succeed in getting full democracy? in hong kong? forgive me if i misunderstand. you seem to be saying that anyone who expresses an opinion pro—independence is committing a crime. you never allowed me to give you an answer. this is ridiculous. the law does not say any of those things at all and i certainly am not saying it. the law says you would only commit
an offence if you organise, plan, participate and carry out, you know, a purpose in the form of, you know, harming the national interest or national safety of the country. you know as well as i do that the people in hong kong who call for independence right now are living in fear because they fear, and indeed they know, based on what they have seen over the last few days, that they face serious risk of arrest under this new law. no. it is not that at all. if you come to hong kong right now and you see that life goes on as always and nobody is in fear, nobody is fleeing the country, quite the contrary. tens of thousands of people... i think you may be mistaken, i think people people are fleeing the country. crosstalk we have every confidence in the sar government. so you‘re missing
the point entirely. nathan law who is one of the leaders of demosisto, the movement for democracy and fundamental reform in hong kong has fled the country because, in his words, he says that "what we are seeing is the start of a bloody cultural revolution" and he cannot continue his political activities in your territory. i think it is just a political ploy. he is free to go and free to come back. there is no warrant against him as such and nobody persecuting him or prosecuting him. but he would like to make use of what he‘s doing as a political ploy. so he is free to do that. nobody blames him. he is free to return if he wants to. it is about hong kong‘s international reputation. whether you like it or not, the us government is talking about new sanctions on hong kong. it has withdrawn the special trade status. united kingdom is talking
about allowing, in the first instance, hundreds of thousands but possibly up 3 million hong kongers with the overseas passport which allows them entry into britain, allowing them to come to britain and reside here for at least five years and perhaps seek permanent residency in the uk. governments around the world have looked at what china has done and regard it as utterly u na cce pta ble. first of all, no responsible government will succumb to blackmail based on lies and misinformation. and at any event as i have been trying at pains to tell you, the law is enforced by the sar government, not by mainland china. it is adjudicated upon by our own judges. you seem to be insinuating that our courts and judges are corrupt. they are not. they are not! they are internationally known to be well respect with adequate learning of the law, known to have ruled on cases justly and properly
and are respected by the rest of the common law world. your problem... crosstalk. you can obfuscate and challenge me but your problem and the problem on beijing and hong kong is that countries around the world are drawing their own conclusions. they are not listening, or not buying yourjustifications and they are taking actions. my question again — how worried are you that the united states, for example, has withdrawn hong kong special trade status and is talking about imposing new sanctions and as early as this week, congress could sign, or at least seek president trump‘s signature, on a hong kong autonomy bill that would enforce sanctions on banks that do business with certain chinese government entities. the pressure is building.
how worried are you? i am not worried at all and i am quite sure the sar government is not worried at all nor the central government. this is just a political ploy. the us is practically at war with china and we understand that. as far as we are concerned, the us is one of the largest trading partners for hong kong but it only occupies something like 9% of the trade relationship with hong kong. the us, by the way, makes a huge trading surplus with hong kong. any sanction to be applied in hong kong would only hurt us businessmen. it is like cutting the nose to spite the face. but as i said, no responsible government would succumb to political blackmail. particularly when it is based on lies and misinformation.
you keep referring to lies and misinformation and i keep telling you that countries around the world... crosstalk ..they see hong kong becoming more and more just another chinese city. it does not have this special status anymore, it is not a question of one country two systems anymore and let me quote to you a politician injapan who is looking, it must be said in terms of self—interest, at japan‘s chance of taking opportunity from hong kong‘s troubles. satsuki katayama from the ldp, he says "what japan is now offering to the world in terms of being a regional hub is what hong kong cannot offer, and that is freedom. hong kong is becoming the kind of place which does not allow people free expression and it even controls their facebook likes and are people going to put up with that? i think not. people want to trade and deal with a place where people can live normally. that is the new reality that hong kong will have to face.
your special status and financial hub status is under threat. so be it. if people would like to carry on in ways like that with total disregard to facts of what is happening on the ground, there is nothing much that hong kong people can do, frankly. most hong kong people feel that international criticism is totally unjustified and entirely not supported by fact. i invite you to come any to hong kong and see for yourself. it sounds like... with proper provision provision for the proper protection of human rights and core values of the people in hong kong. by comparison it is, by far, a better piece of legislation than, for instance, the singaporean national security law. it sounds to me, as we close, it sounds like you threw in your lot with beijing and you will defend beijing come what may. i‘m just pointing out the fact.
if you can point to fact that would show to me that hong kong judges will not be able to apply this law properly with all the safeguards to human rights and core values, you know, then i can deal with that sort of rational argument. but you are not putting forward any rational questions. you are simply reciting to me page after page of political rhetoric from people who are known to be against the interest of both hong kong and china. and that does not cut any ice with me, i‘m sorry. we will have to leave the ice right there. ronny tong, i thank you very much indeed for being on hardtalk.
hello. monday looks set to be a rather breezy day, but not quite as windy as it was on sunday, when we had scenes like this — gusts of 50mph or more across some parts of the uk, the sorts of winds that we would expect during autumn, but are pretty unusual during summer. the area of low pressure responsible still not too far away, sliding towards scandinavia. high pressure trying to build in from the south—west, but it‘s not going to be quite as windy as it has been through monday. still pretty blustery out there, i have to say. fewer showers but still some showers. those particularly affecting parts of scotland, northern england, maybe clipping into east wales, the midlands, certainly the eastern side of england and some for northern ireland as well. the further south and west you are, not as many showers, more dry weather and some
spells of sunshine here. still, a noticeable north—westerly breeze. these are the wind gusts we‘re expecting. they are just a notch or two lower than the wind speeds we saw during sunday. but it will still feel fairly cool out there, i suspect, with top temperatures between 11! and 2! degrees, and it will remain fairly cool and fresh as we head through monday night. many of the daytime showers will continue to fade. i think we will see some showery rain drifting across the far north of scotland and cloud amounts increasing across northern ireland through the early hours of tuesday morning. temperature—wise, we start the day between 8 and 12 degrees. so, high pressure just about in charge as we begin tuesday. you can see this little bump in the isobars here. however, there is a frontal system that will be working in very quickly to northern ireland. i showed you the increasing amounts of cloud. well, rain will set in through the morning and then spread its way eastwards. there is a bit of uncertainty aboutjust how far north or how far south this wet weather will get. there is likely to be a swathe
of dry weather through southern counties of england and certainly the channel islands, and also some dry conditions with just showers in the northern half of scotland, but still, those temperatures in a range of 11! to 2! degrees. now, that frontal system is not finished with us as we head towards wednesday, another pulse of energy, another wave on this weather front, so that‘s likely to hold it in place with more rain across southern counties. and to the north of that frontal system, the air will never get particularly warm. we can expect temperatures to stayjust a touch below the average for the time of year. some rain at times through the middle part of the week. the driest of the weather likely to be across the north.
this is bbc news, with the latest headlines for viewers in the uk and around the world. i‘m sally bundock. the taj mahal stays shut as india‘s coronavirus cases reach a record high. galicia becomes the second spanish region to impose a local lockdown after a fresh outbreak. we are going to disembark tomorrow morning in sicily. relief for rescued migrants after hearing their standoff with the italian authorities has finally ended, and they‘re allowed into sicily. and a lifeline for the arts — a $2 billion aid
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