An interesting little question here. A Hong Kong democracy activist has fled the place. Seems a sensible thing to do really. At the same time HSBC appears to – this is disputed a little – have frozen his accounts in Hong Kong.
Hmm, well, no, we’re not happy with this, obviously. However, we do then come up to an interesting question – how colonialist are we?
A Hong Kong legislator who fled to Europe has called on regulators to investigate the actions of major banks including HSBC, after his accounts and those of his wife and parents were allegedly frozen.
Ted Hui is the latest pro-democracy figure to leave Hong Kong and the escalating crackdown on dissent which last week saw Jimmy Lai denied bail, and Joshua Wong, Agnes Chow, and Ivan Lam jailed. On Monday eight people were reportedly arrested by the national security police over a small and peaceful student rally at the Chinese University of Hong Kong last month, including three accused of breaching the national security law.
Hui left Hong Kong for Denmark last week, before announcing that he and his family would not return. The family are now in the UK where they plan to live in exile.
At the weekend Hui alleged that bank accounts belonging to him and his family had been frozen, which he labelled “political retaliation through economic oppression”.
Yes, it probably is political retaliation and all that. We’re also agin’ it. But then what?
China is the de facto and Hong Kong itself is the de jure ruler of that piece of land. People who operate in that jurisdiction must obey the dictates of the de jure government.
Yes? I mean we do agree with that?
We have enough complaints here that Facebook, Google et al are entirely, wholly and without missing a jot not tittle, obeying the tax law of the UK. So we are all on that same page that businesses which operate here must obey UK law, right?
So, that must be true of HSBC as well then, right? That HSBC, in Hong Kong, must obey Hong Kong law?
After all, to do otherwise is to be colonialists. That foreign people in foreign must obey our law and damn what the slant eyes want to do in their own country.
Yes, yes, yes, of course the law shouldn’t be that way. Of course free speech is important, vital, protest is to be allowed and all that. No, we’re not happy that fascism is being imposed.
But still – which set of law should a legally constituted in Hong Kong business be obeying? Obviously and clearly Hong Kong law. Which is, as everywhere else, what the government of Hong Kong says it is. For we have rather got over this idea that we here get to decide what the laws there should be, haven’t we?