HK Solicitors Stood Up

After organizing a legal sector march, solicitors went ahead and organized an extraordinary general meeting (“EGM”) to urge Law Society president Ambrose Lam step down for his very pro-Beijing/anti-Hong Kong comments in support of the recent controversial white paper.

In response, Mr. Lam has resigned as Law Society president, and it seems there are people in Hong Kong ready to fight back against actions that impact its steps towards democracy.

And yet, my outlook on Hong Kong remains pessimistic and fearful. I left HK about 4 months ago, and as much as I still love HK, and as enticing as so many things about HK still is for me (more on that later),  I just can’t see my long term future there.  I still see something dark and scary looming ahead.

I’ve recently read (and nearly at the end of the second novel) a two-novel historical fiction, “Shanghai Girls” and “Dreams of Joy”, by Lisa See, about WWII and post-war China, and the Chinese American immigrant experience.  I did not expect much from the novels.  I just picked up the first novel at random at a thrift shop, looking for something interesting to read.

I related quite a lot to the first book, which focused on the immigration of two sisters from Shanghai, escaping Japanese terrorism, their experiences at Angel Island, and the difficulties faced in LA’s Chinatown.  I had heard a lot about these experiences from my family, and studied a lot about the Chinese American experience in college.

The second novel, has more to do with the Great Leap Forward in China, and Mao’s scare tactics and methods to weaken and frighten the masses to achieve his goals — something I’m unfortunately not as familiar with.  For some scary reason, I did not think Communist China has changed very much since these days, except that millions are no longer starving to death in the way they once did, and that capitalism has made its own way into Red China. Today you still have a large population of people who feel no trust in the media and what news they hear, and feel an urgent need to always compete for resources and goods. 

I digress on these novels because the contents have really gotten me thinking about the future of Hong Kong, as it enters into its next stage.  I even wonder if I really want to keep up my cross-border practice, and fear what that means for me. Though my “Asia practice” is primarily about Hong Kong, what will happen to Hong Kong law in 2047? In 2027?

And what about Big Brother China? Modern China is becoming something even scarier, I’m afraid.  The memory and fear of death by starvation is still strong in most older Chinese, yet the young have no clue about earning your keep, being the completely spoiled “little emperors” they are. There is still a fairly heavy restriction on Western goods, but Chinese are now allowed finally to travel and go buy those goods (in huge quantities) outside.  Corruption is still high among the upper classes, and yet there is a fast growing middle class that just want more than ever. 

While these recent actions, especially the solidarity of HK solicitors, warms my heart, I am still afraid for HK.

I hope my fellow solicitors don’t stop fighting, and don’t look the other way. There are huge challenges ahead.

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