A Walk in Hong Kong
First published: 06th October 2019
This afternoon I went for a walk with some friends on Hong Kong Island. I joined the crowd outside SOGO, in Causeway Bay shortly before 15:00 and strolled towards Central. It wasn't really a good day for a walk, there was heavy rain and many people were wearing medical masks. Perhaps there's a 'flu outbreak, or concern about air pollution? However, everyone was friendly, peaceful, singing and chanting slogans. Most people were young adults, but I wasn't the only grey-hair, there were some children and two people in wheelchairs (one had a tall pole with a smartphone on top, recording).
Was this an illegal assembly? Well there were no Police to be seen who could be asked. In any case, Article 31 of the Basic Law states "Hong Kong residents shall have freedom of movement with the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region", and Article 27 states, "Hong Kong residents shall have freedom of speech, of the press and of publication; freedom of association, of assembly, of procession and of demonstration".
Unfortunately, I didn't finish my walk. As I was approaching the Wan Chai MTR Station, there was a disturbance up ahead, and people started moving back, towards Causeway Bay. There were dull thuds, I could see clouds of tear gas above the crowd. I moved back to Tin Lok Lane, and then left, catching a bus next to the Happy Valley Racecourse about 17:18.
What about Carrie Lam's Prohibition on Face Covering Regulation? Is it even a valid regulation? Carrie Lam has used the Emergency Regulations Ordinance, passed in 1922, to claim the right to introduce any law she wants in an emergency. However, Article 8 of the Basic Law invalidates any earlier law that contradicts it, and Article 66 gives the power to legislate to the Legislative Council, not to the Chief Executive.
If Carrie Lam wants to listen to Hong Kong people, she's welcome to come and talk next time I go for a walk.