October 2020

Independence activist

Hong Kong police accuse independence activist Tony Chung of ‘secession’ – Radio Free Asia

Authorities in Hong Kong have accused 19-year-old independence activist Tony Chung of “secession” under a draconian national security law that went into effect in the city on July 1.

“Chung has been formally charged with one count of ‘secession’, one count of” conspiracy to publish seditious material “, as well as two cases of” money laundering “,” the group said. now disbanded Chung activists Studentlocalism on his Facebook page.

Chung appeared in West Kowloon Magistrates’ Court on Thursday morning, where his application for bail was denied, the statement said.

Chung was arrested on October 27 for allegedly violating Article 21 of the National Security Law, which prohibits anyone from providing assistance to anyone who breaks the law and which carries a maximum prison term of 10 years.

He is accused of “actively organizing, planning, implementing or participating in acts aimed at dividing the country and undermining national unity in Hong Kong from July 1 to October 27 this year, along with others.” , according to the charges against him.

The money laundering charges relate to a crowdfunding campaign by Studentlocalism, which called for donations only from those who supported Hong Kong’s independence, and payments totaling nearly HK $ 700,000 made to the bank account Chung staff between January 2018 and July 2020.

Chung is also accused of conspiring to publish seditious publications in Hong Kong between November 30, 2018 and June 9 this year, before the National Security Act came into force.

After the hearing, Chung was taken to the infamous Pik Uk Correctional Facility, where he will remain in detention for at least the next 10 weeks pending another hearing in January, the group said.

The judge’s decision to deny bail came after the prosecution claimed Chung was likely to reoffend and run away if released, given that the alleged offenses took place while he was out on bail pending a different charge.

Four under arrest

Chung was one of four youths arrested by Hong Kong police on July 26 on suspicion of “secession” under the National Security Act, which came into force on July 1.

The arrested persons, aged 16 to 21, were taken into custody during raids in the districts of the New Territories of Yuen Long, Shatin and Tuen Mun, suspected of having “organized and incited secessionist activities”.

Police said they were suspected of posting ads online calling on people to fight to establish a “Hong Kong nation”, to declare that they will use whatever means necessary to achieve this goal and to call for the union of separatist groups.

Studentlocalism was dissolved before the law was implemented, but as the posts were published after the new law came into force, they fell under articles of the law prohibiting “incitement” to secessionist activity, he said. police said at the time.

Chung and two other activists were separately arrested by the national security police on Tuesday after Chung was refused permission to enter the US consulate, where he is said to have planned to seek political asylum. The other two arrested, former studentlocalism members William Chan and Yanni Ho, have been released on bail.

Hours later, when news of Chung’s arrest became public, four more activists entered the consulate, but were told that they could not be protected and were finally ordered to leave. one of them later told Voice of America (VOA).

News commentator Liu Ruishao said that the fact that Chung has been charged means authorities expect to make an example of him.

“The fact that they are making such accusations means that they (…) expect a result that will be in favor of the government,” Liu said. “In fact, it will probably have the effect of restricting everyone’s behavior in the future.”

“The effect of [such a prosecution] will be magnified, which means that a much larger portion of the population is actually targeted, “Liu said.” That’s what they want to achieve: a crippling effect where people limit their own behavior. “

Call for release

Rights groups denounced Chung’s arrest and the charges against him as a violation of his right to free speech.

The overseas-based Chinese Network of Human Rights Defenders (CHRD) called for Chung’s immediate release, in a statement posted on its website Thursday.

“The charges against Chung, a former member of the Studentlocalism group, relate to posts he made on social media platforms and his advocacy, in violation of his fundamental rights to freedom of expression and association, ”the group said.

Chung is the second person to be charged under the National Security Law since it came into force. The first was Tong Ying-kit, who rode his motorbike among a group of police officers during a July 1 protest while carrying a flag bearing the popular protest slogan “Free Hong Kong, Revolutionize Now!”

“The National Security Law, imposed in Hong Kong by the Chinese legislature on June 30, criminalizes the rights to freedom of expression, association and assembly under the pretext that non-violent speech or behavior can ‘put endangering national security, ”the CHRD said.

He called for an independent international review, led by the United Nations, of human rights violations in China.

Broken promises

Under the 1997 handover agreement, Hong Kong was promised to maintain its traditional freedoms of expression and association, as well as universal suffrage.

But Beijing’s decision to exclude fully democratic elections in 2014, its insistence on the prosecution and disqualification of key opposition figures, and its subsequent imposition of the national security law following mass popular protests against declining freedoms throughout 2019 have shown that the ruling Chinese Communist Party has no intention of keeping those promises.

The loosely-worded new security law threatens anyone who criticizes Chinese or Hong Kong authorities anywhere in the world.

The dreaded Chinese State Security Police have now established a seat in the city to enforce the law, while the government has warned that slogans linked to last year’s protest movement, including “Free Hong Kong, do the revolution now! “, will come under the mandate of the law. .

New York-based Human Rights Watch (HRW) earlier said the law would be “devastating” for the protection of human rights in the city.

It created specialized secret security agencies, denied the right to a fair trial, granted expanded new powers to the police, increased restrictions on civil society and the media, and weakened judicial oversight, the group said in a statement. report published on its website.

The law will also affect the right to education and freedom of information, opinion and expression in schools, as political statements and discussions are prohibited in city classrooms and the books of prominent figures. -Democracy are being removed from its public libraries, HRW said. .

Reported by Lu Xi and Man Hoi-tsan for the Cantonese and Mandarin services of FRG. Translated and edited by Luisetta Mudie.

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Home rule

Is it time for the county to adopt self-government?

Graphic by Amber McAlary / News-Register

What is the rule at home? Should Yamhill County consider a move in this direction?

Under self-government, local government retains all powers of self-governance, except for those specifically pre-empted by state or federal law. In the absence of a ban, it empowers local jurisdictions, both city and county, to act. It is essentially a form of local control that gives citizens more leverage in government operations.

Rick olson was elected to the Yamhill County Commissioners Council in 2016, after 36 years of public service with the Town of McMinnville. Along with the city, he served on the town planning commission, council and budget commission, then served as mayor for eight years. He has also served on the League of Oregon Cities Board of Directors, the McMinnville Area Chamber of Commerce, and the Yamhill County Parkway Committee. A McMinnville resident since 1957, he raised five children with his wife Candy. He worked for Oregon Mutual Insurance until his retirement in 2012.

Historically, counties were created and maintained as simple administrative districts to perform functions and duties on behalf of the sovereign. In England it was the Crown. In America, it meant colonial governors before independence and state governments after.

In addition to their role as agents of the state, counties are gradually taking on a secondary role as a unit of local government, providing services in response to the needs and preferences of their constituents.

However, both as state agents and units of local government, they continued to operate under legal interpretations, limiting their powers to those expressly granted by state law. As a result, counties were unable to act in response to local needs without the express permission of the legislature.

Efforts to free counties from state constraints date back to 1906, but were largely unsuccessful until a constitutional amendment on county autonomy was passed in 1958.

In Oregon, 27 counties, including Yamhill, remain under traditional restrictions today. They are known as common law counties.

The other nine – Benton, Clatsop, Hood River, Jackson, Josephine, Lane, Multnomah, Washington and Umatilla – have broken the yoke to become self-governing counties. And others have considered or are currently considering such a move.

The basic requirements of a home charger are specific to Article VI, Section 10 of the Oregon Constitution. At a minimum, he said, a county charter “must prescribe the organization of county government and must provide directly, or by its authority, for the number, election or appointment, qualifications, duration, remuneration, the powers and duties of such officers as the county deems necessary.

The process begins with the creation of a county charter committee, either through a resolution of the Council of Commissioners or through a citizens’ petition. The petition route sets the signature requirement at 4% of the local votes cast in the last election of a governor for a four-year term.

When the condition is met, the county council of commissioners appoints four members and the county legislative delegation appoints four more. These eight are content with a ninth.

The law prohibits the appointment of any local county commissioner or legislator, or anyone engaged in matters “incompatible with the conscientious exercise” of the committee’s functions.

The committee has two years to develop a charter to submit to voters. The county must provide him with free office space and either 1% per capita or $ 500 to help finance his expenses.

The committee is authorized to conduct interviews and continue investigations. He is required to hold at least one public hearing on the document he produces for scrutiny by voters.

The original vote on the charter and the votes on any amendment, revision or repeal must normally be submitted in a primary or biennial general election. However, under a 1977 Court of Appeal ruling (Brummel v. Clark, 31 or App 405), an amendment may be put to a vote in a special election if the county charter so permits.

As an alternative, a county charter can be prepared and submitted directly to voters via an initiative petition.

The charter fixes the number of auditors, their status and their remuneration. It can also decide on the number, status and salary structure of administrative officers or other officers and employees of the county.

In addition, it serves as a vehicle for handling intergovernmental relations and operations; ordinance, initiative and referendum procedures; personnel protections and procedures; questions of budgeting, expenditure and finance; the procedures for the transition to the new charter system; and various other matters. Some self-governing counties have taken a minimalist approach and others have filled their charters with many pages of detail.

This allows a county to structure its operation to best meet local needs and to make changes as circumstances change. They are not stuck with a fixed state mandate.

Given this degree of latitude, a local charter would give more autonomy to the citizens of Yamhill County in deciding how Yamhill County should be governed. This would allow them to decide:

Which officials should be appointed or elected, and which should serve on a paid or unpaid basis. How many commissioners should sit on the board of directors, whether chosen at general or by district; how they should be paid and how the board chair should be decided. What role should citizens have in the decision-making process.

Cities in Oregon have a great deal of autonomy in terms of autonomy, and a charter would put the county on an equal footing.

Along the way, this would allow the county to provide rural areas with services currently limited to urban areas, if voters consent – for example, establishing a lodging tax to support tourism or passing a tax measure to fund. replacement of the rural broadband Internet service bridge.

I encourage everyone to learn more about Home Rule and what it could or would mean for Yamhill County. If you would like more information, please do not hesitate to contact me at [email protected] or [email protected]

The people, not the politicians, must decide what form of government they want, who should lead it and how it should be administered.

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Home rule

Book review: Scottish Home Rule, by Ben Thomson

Scottish Home Rule, by Ben Thomson

In 2016, when Britain voted with the smallest of margins to leave the European Union, the compromise models for our future relationship with the EU were so freely available that it seemed almost certain that one of the ‘them would prevail. The Norwegian model, the Swiss model, the Canada Plus model – all were waiting to be adapted and implemented smoothly; and there will undoubtedly be a lot of writing, over the years, about how quickly they have all been marginalized and made redundant, as we begin our painful four-year journey to the most difficult Brexit imaginable.

When Scotland voted to reject independence in 2014, by contrast, the only compromise plan on the horizon was Gordon Brown’s now infamous Vow, a hasty offer of improved devolution published on the cover of the Daily Record a few days before the vote, then gradually abandoned, after 2016, by the three main British parties. Ben Thomson’s new book Scottish Home Rule: The Answer To Scotland’s Constitutional Question is a serious, laudable and at times elegant effort to fill this gap, with a plan that seeks to provide a middle ground in the struggle between unionism and independence. which currently divides Scotland.

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Former Managing Director of Scottish investment bank Noble Group, Thomson has combined his career in the financial sector with decades of civic and public service activity, most notably with think tank Reform Scotland, and as former chairman from the National Galleries of Scotland. It is part of the great old liberal tradition of supporting radical constitutional reform in the UK in response to Scottish discontent; and in this book he sets out the arguments for a full-fledged self-rule settlement which, while leaving Scotland in the UK, would greatly increase Scotland’s autonomy and ensure in a new written constitution the statute of the Scottish and British governments. as joint and equal holders of sovereignty over Scotland.

The book is divided into three main sections, beginning with a useful but incomplete brief history of the Irish and Scottish self-government movements, continuing with a full and detailed account of how a self-reliance regulation works, and ending with suggestions on how Scottish politics could be improved under such a settlement. The three principles of Home Rule, he suggests, should be subsidiarity – decision making at the lowest possible level, close to the people – as well as full fiscal responsibility and mutual respect between different levels of government, enshrined in a written constitution.

And it is precisely this language – of reasonable agreement and mutual respect – that alerts us to why Thomson’s plan is unlikely to find substantial political support anytime soon. “All the major parties support, at a minimum, current levels of decentralization,” Thomson writes confidently, seemingly unaware that most Westminster MPs, in the post-Brexit illiberal climate of militant British nationalism, now appear to either be indifferent to it. The current decentralization agreement is openly hostile, as shown by the adoption of the recent draft law on the internal market. Under these circumstances, the political debate in Scotland has also become more polarized, with Labor and Liberal Democrats increasingly reflecting the ‘patriotic’ intransigence of the Tories, and few in Scotland now see much room for a compromise between this. dogmatic unionism and full Scottish independence.

At this point in British and Scottish politics, Thomson’s Home Rule plan appears to be a largely outdated idea. Yet it is nonetheless true in politics that whoever drafts often ultimately wins the chance to legislate. Thomson drew up his plan, in defiance of the times; and that would be a poor observer of politics, and its occasional rapid changes, which would rule out entirely the possibility that one day the time of this book might come, and Thomson’s carefully crafted plan finds itself center stage, as exactly the compromise plan as the story of sudden and unexpected demands.

Book Review Scottish Home Rule: The Answer to Scotland’s Constitutional Question, by Ben Thomson, Birlinn, 176pp, £ 9.99

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