Although the social order has long been calm, the violent turmoil caused by this turmoil still affects the attention of society in many ways to this day. What often causes a lot of discussion is the progress of the cases of those arrested in the turmoil over the legislative amendments.
Author: Zhang Xinyu
The violent turmoil caused by the turmoil over the amendment of the extradition bill still affects the attention of society in many ways to this day. What often causes a lot of discussion is the progress of the cases of those arrested in the turmoil over the legislative amendments. (Profile photo / Photo by Zheng Zifeng)
It must be noted that during periods of social unrest, the vast majority of arrests involved serious violations of the law or even violence, especially in a context where Hong Kong faced the most serious national security risks in decades. The Police handled and investigated each case with care, and the Department of Justice made its independent decision to institute or stop prosecution after taking full account of the facts proved by admissible evidence in accordance with the law. Therefore, although the author has been paying attention to the progress of the handling of the turmoil case, he does not agree with the "unified demarcation and lenient handling" requirement put forward by the market. Speeding up the handling of cases should be done primarily through increased manpower resources, but the main premise is to ensure that each case is independently and fully considered based on evidence. Although there are different discretionary spaces in the law, they are also based on the specific facts of each case.
The seriousness and integrity of the judicial process is, of course, unnegotiable. However, whether it is the governance system or the public, how to treat citizens who have been arrested or even convicted is also an important issue that the society still needs to strive to reach a consensus four years after the turmoil over the amendment of the legislation. The author's recent experience of assisting some arrested citizens to reapply for a home return permit may bring some food for thought.
After the resumption of quarantine-free customs clearance in the Mainland and Hong Kong at the beginning of this year, a large number of citizens have found difficulties in renewing their home return permits/returning to the Mainland gates, and the author's office alone has so far received nearly 200 requests for help.
Zhang Xinyu wrote in Hong Kong 01 pointed out that in the Home Return Permit incident, by assisting this group of citizens to solve the problem of identity documents, it also solved the actual difficulties faced by many families, and it is believed that it has played a positive role in enhancing their trust in the Legislative Council, the SAR Government and the Central Government. (Profile photo / Photo by Feng Zijian)
Out of consideration for a careful understanding of social phenomena and actual situations, the author arranged a separate meeting with each helper to understand the specific circumstances of each case. In this process, it was roughly found that the cases of help can be divided into three categories: The first category: the person seeking help is indeed unrelated to the turmoil of the amendment bill, but is arrested due to accidental factors, and although it is later confirmed that he will not be prosecuted, he still leaves a bad record of being arrested; The second category: the applicant has participated in the turmoil over the amendment of the extradition bill, but the circumstances are minor and the law enforcement agencies may not have sufficient records, so he has not been prosecuted or will not be convicted after prosecution; In the third category, the person seeking help has been prosecuted and convicted, the circumstances are relatively minor, and the sentence has been completed.
These helpers generally expressed their sincere need to return to the Mainland, as well as remorse for their past impulses and actions. With the support of different departments in Hong Kong and the Mainland, the recent batch of citizens seeking help has received re-approved home return permits and has been able to travel to and from the Mainland smoothly. After receiving the documents, many of them expressed their heartfelt gratitude to the Central Government and the HKSAR Government.
In an exchange with members of the Legislative Council on 4 April this year, Director Xia Baolong of the Hong Kong and Macao Affairs Office of the State Council pointed out that parliamentarians and parliaments should seriously consider whether their work and existence can make more members of the public more recognize the governance of the SAR. I believe that in the case of the Home Return Permit, by assisting these citizens to solve the problem of identity documents, it has also solved the practical difficulties faced by many families, and I believe that it has played a positive role in strengthening their trust in the Legislative Council, the HKSAR Government and the Central Government.
The rule of law and human affection are the cornerstones of Hong Kong society. The rule of law allows Hong Kong to go right, and the favor of people makes Hong Kong start again. The rule of law requires that "right and wrong" be "right and wrong", and that those who do wrong must accept a fair trial and bear the consequences prescribed by law. Only after bearing the consequences can you talk about human favors, and you must give those who have accepted the consequences a chance to start anew. As Hong Kong enters its fifth year after the turmoil over the extradition bill, may our society rebuild trust between people, put aside anger and suspicion, and truly emerge from the aftermath of the turmoil.
The author, Cheung Hin Yu, is a Member of the Legislative Council for New Directions (New Territories North) and a Chartered Engineer in Hong Kong and the United Kingdom.