蘋論:一樁可能影響司法獨立的官司

April 13, 2011

“年前最高人民法院院長王勝俊,提出各級人民法院「審理案件,都要從黨和國家大局出發」,強調要「從維護國家安全、鞏固國家政權、確保社會穩定的高度」做好審判工作。試問,按最高法院院長的說法,中國有司法獨立嗎?

我們還會想到國家副主席、未來掌最高權力的接班人習近平在香港告誡要行政、立法、司法「三權合作」。司法服從黨的利益,並把對司法的干預延伸到香港,是中共的施政目標。這種妨礙司法公正的習慣手法,帶來的恐怕不是社會穩定,而是相反的社會人心極不穩定。”

For the record.

蘋論:一樁可能影響司法獨立的官司 – 李怡 – 2011年04月13日

司法獨立並依法律公正地審判案件,是一個社會得以穩定的最重要基礎。社會可以依法暫時沒有民主,也可以依惡法而限制人民的自由,但若法庭不能獨立審案而必須聽從行政機關、掌權者或社會有力人士的意向作裁決,社會就會動盪不穩,人民也因缺乏法律對其人身的保障而失去安全感。香港回歸近十四年,所幸司法獨立仍能維持。而司法獨立及公正審判案件,也變成國際社會普遍認為香港與回歸前相比「基本不變」的主要因素,也是國際投資人士對香港仍抱信心的主要因素。儘管行政、立法、官員表現已大不如前。
最近有一樁似乎與香港人不怎麼相干的司法案件,挑動香港司法獨立的神經。
這樁案件簡稱為剛果欠債案。事緣於剛果共和國政府欠了美國對冲基金公司一億美元連利息的壞賬,而美國公司又得知屬中國國企的中鐵公司投資剛果基建,於是就要求以這筆中鐵的投資還債。剛果政府以政府擁有「外交豁免權」抗辯。案件去年在上訴庭裁定,香港跟從 1997年前的普通法制度,在外交豁免權上採「有限度外交豁免」,判剛果政府須償還美國基金公司約 8億港元欠債。剛果不服上訴至終院,指香港有責任跟從中央政府的「絕對外交豁免權」,令該國毋須償債。事件引起中國外交部駐港特派專員關注,在高院原訟庭和上訴庭審議案件前,外交部兩度發信重申中央政府採用「絕對外交豁免權」。去年 8月外交部再發出第三封信,警告如本港一意孤行採取「有限度外交豁免權」,將會構成 5大影響:不符香港特區地位、國家外交立場受質疑、損及受影響國家與中國關係、中國海外財產安全受威脅、妨礙發展中窮國減債。信中又提到香港回歸前套用英國的「有限度外交豁免權」,回歸後已不適用,因回歸後香港的外交事務交由中央政府處理。
終院上月底審理剛果欠債案,爭論點在中港「外交豁免權」是否須一致,以及應否提交人大釋法。
基本法第 13條規定,「中央人民政府負責管理與香港特別行政區有關的外交事務」,但剛果欠債案很難說是香港特區的外交事務,它可能只是特區法院審理的一樁涉及某一主權國財務的事務。 Read the rest of this entry »

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Imaginary Jasmine Revolution’s real consequence

February 20, 2011

For the record.

* An excerpt from WSJ, “Call to Activists Unnerves China

Ahead of the planned protests, more than 100 activists across China were taken away by police, confined to their homes or went missing, according to the Hong Kong-based group Information Center for Human Rights and Democracy.

The online protest appeal is likely to compound the apparent concern among Communist Party leaders that the recent uprisings against authoritarian governments in the Middle East and North Africa could inspire similar unrest in China. The lackluster popular response, however, demonstrates how much harder it would be to organize a sustained protest movement in a country with a well-funded and organized police force, and with the world’s most sophisticated Internet censorship system.

At one of the designated protest sites — a McDonald’s outlet in Beijing’s central Wangfujing shopping district — The Wall Street Journal saw a crowd of several hundred people gather, along with hundreds of uniformed and plainclothes police, shortly before 2 p.m. Read the rest of this entry »


“法律、管制與經濟增長”專欄

December 31, 2010

My friend started a new column, here is a link to the first entry of “法律、管制與經濟增長”專欄. Check it out.


加拿大的搞笑試飲

August 19, 2010

Few days ago, I posted the following challenge and hoped someone would notice what was going on and we could have some fun in the discussions.

Try to state what you see in the video clip and explain why.

Bonus points: explain what you don’t see but can imagine happen.

Well, it is time to post my observation/solution.

Points noted in Haricot’s & hevangel’s comments.

– it was a “free” sample tasting.

– The girl gave money (pennies, nickels, or dimes) to people for them to give the coins right back to her before they take their drinks.

Additional points not covered in posted comments.

– To me, the key issue not covered in the comments was why the girl gave people (I will call them the “samplers”) the coins, so they can give the coins back to her before taking the drinks?

– To me, what was happening was the artificial creation of a contract and the money (a penny/nickel/dime) was the “consideration“. I bet some “smart” lawyers must have cooked up this “contract” to try to solve some “problem”.

You may ask, what problem? Read the rest of this entry »


Google’s new approach to China

March 22, 2010

Google Mainland China service availability - Mar 21, 2010

After weeks of waiting since,
Google.cn decision (part 1)
Google.cn decision (part 2) and China’s Foreign Ministry & White House responses
More Google China photos
US diplomatic note re Google China
Sergey Brin on Google’s China decision @ TED
Today, we finally have Google’s new approach to China.

So earlier today we stopped censoring our search services—Google Search, Google News, and Google Images—on Google.cn. Users visiting Google.cn are now being redirected to Google.com.hk, where we are offering uncensored search in simplified Chinese, specifically designed for users in mainland China and delivered via our servers in Hong Kong.

[…] Figuring out how to make good on our promise to stop censoring search on Google.cn has been hard. We want as many people in the world as possible to have access to our services, including users in mainland China, yet the Chinese government has been crystal clear throughout our discussions that self-censorship is a non-negotiable legal requirement. We believe this new approach of providing uncensored search in simplified Chinese from Google.com.hk is a sensible solution to the challenges we’ve faced—it’s entirely legal and will meaningfully increase access to information for people in China. We very much hope that the Chinese government respects our decision, though we are well aware that it could at any time block access to our services. We will therefore be carefully monitoring access issues, and have created this new web page, which we will update regularly each day, so that everyone can see which Google services are available in China.


China’s Unnatural Disaster should win Oscar Documentary Short (My tears and The Tears of Sichuan Province flowed like a river)

February 16, 2010

Oscar Documentary Short: China's Unnatural Disaster: The Tears of Sichuan Province

Oscar Documentary Short: China's Unnatural Disaster: The Tears of Sichuan Province

Oscar Documentary Short : China's Unnatural Disaster: The Tears of Sichuan Province

China’s Unnatural Disaster: The Tears of Sichuan Province was nominated for Oscar Documentary Short and should win, if nothing other than allowing humanity a chance to bare witness of the pain the Sichuan parents suffered and still suffer in this unnatural disaster. The suffering is ongoing because all levels of Chinese governments have refused to conduct proper investigations and punish the government officials and business people who were responsible for “the deaths of many children, often due to the collapse of their shoddily constructed schools“.

Here is part of a LA Times review (emphasis added),

As all over Sichuan Province, schools filled with students collapsed while other buildings remained standing, grief-stricken parents demanded help from the government, help that never came. First emergency teams were routed away from smaller towns and villages where parents could hear children crying for help from beneath the debris. A fortunate few were able to actually dig their children out, others eventually found the corpses of their children (and were told to bury them themselves) but many were left with only the heaps of brick and dust to serve as a mass grave.

In life, there are horrific events that happened and it was too late or we are too remote to have anything influence, but if we are to progress as a human race, we have to at least bare witness to what had happened. To me, what I saw in the documentary counted as one of those moment.

To me, it is well-made and insightful documentaries like China’s Unnatural Disaster that give me the energy and inspiration to tell stories that are interesting/important to me.

By the way, someone has posted the program up. And I hope HBO will not take it down.

P.S. For people who think China has rule of law and their court cases can be adjudicated fairly, I want to remind them their protection under the law is as thin as how their cases are viewed by the “powerful” and if their cases are remotely related to any sensitive topics (including corrupt acts by government officials and business people).


祖父母的噩夢

December 3, 2009

兒子在美國被謀殺,前女友是疑犯。兒子前女友原來大肚有了小孩,逃了去加拿大,居然得到保釋。祖父母的噩夢!這是我為Examiner.com寫的第一段新聞,請指教指教