Hongkongers look at China through “tinted spectacles,” solicitor Stanley Chan Wing-leung has said. Chan represented the seven police officers accused of beating Civic Party activist Ken Tsang during the pro-democracy Occupy protests in October 2014.
“Why don’t they learn about China’s recent development objectively?” Chan asked in an interview with the pro-Beijing online newspaper HKGpao, saying residents have many misunderstandings about the country.
Chan challenged the people of Hong Kong, particularly the youth, to consider whether Hong Kong was still on a better path to progress than China, saying the mainland was no longer as lawless as it once was. While China may have once been notorious for its citizen’s blatant disregard for traffic rules, Chan recalled recently seeing the law-abiding people of Shanghai waiting for traffic lights before crossing the road.
Chan went on to say that people on the mainland were not as uncivilised as some people in Hong Kong imagine. When he took the subway on the mainland 10 to 20 times he was offered a seat at least five times, while in Hong Kong he was only offered a seat twice on his daily commutes.
Chan, a critic of the Occupy movement, which blocked main thoroughfares on Hong Kong island for three months in protest of the government’s electoral reform package, said the movement had been harmful to the rule of law.
“Even if we take pride in the law, does this [necessarily] mean we have an advantage over others? [During Occupy], too many people disregarded and challenged the law. The rule of law has been completely destroyed,” he said.
Hong Kong values its independent and fair judiciary, which contrasts with the mainland which has notoriously high conviction rates.
The online newspaper said Hong Kong’s legal profession has been “dyed yellow,” alluding to the colour of the umbrellas that have come to symbolise Hong Kong’s democracy movement. The paper praised Chan, saying he was “precious” for willing to stand up for the views of the establishment.
In November 2014, Chan initiated a silent protest for lawyers who opposed the Occupy movement. He is a member of New People’s Party and served as a Senior Police Inspector, Apple Daily reported.
Chan had been criticised for representing the seven policemen. He said he was initially bothered by the personal attacks on him after he agreed to represent the policemen, but soon took it in stride.
“I have always been open and aboveboard. [I] do things for justice, for the rule of law. There is nothing to worry about,” he said.
The seven police officers have been charged with causing grievous bodily harm with intent for allegedly beating Tsang in a dark corner outside the Lung Wui Road Government Building Pump Station East Substation during the protests. The defence has applied to adjourn the pre-trial review to March 11.