Monday, May 30, 2005

Hong Kong Reporter Being Held By China

*Breaking News?*

This Hong Kong journalist also happens to be the ST's chief China Correspondent. Seems that was on the way to meet his source to pick up some political sensitive secret interviews about the 1998 Tiananmen Square massacre.

Wife and ST told to keep quiet about it, but wife got tired of waiting for weeks without any news and has gone public. Story broken by Reuters and I think CNA picked it up. Curious to see what ST says next...


Seems that CNA did pick it up. But since I caught the tail end of the report from their correspondent in Hong Kong, I have absolutely no idea what else it was about. Something about this incident that puzzles me greatly is that if the Washington Post described this journalist accurately, then why would China want to imprison one of their biggest supporters and proponents.

The nasty conclusion that one could draw from this is that the secret interviews with Zhao Zhiyang regarding the Tiananmen Massacre/Incident was REALLY that politically sensitive. Best guess? Probably something explosive that could be used on a top official of the CCP. As it is, an article in The Economist lends this theory SOME credence albeit in a highly obligue fashion when it talks about fevour in ideology being necessary to rise to the top of the party. Considering the nature of the Tiananmen Square Massacre and the nature by which the oppression took, one cannot help but wonder what really happen. I haven't read the Tiananmen Square Papers and now I'm looking forward to reading some of those papers.

Another big question. I know that this guy is a journalist and the professionalism of journalism is the truth. But even so, considering his bias for the past 15 years, why approach him in the first place and second, why even bother to find out? Maybe I'm entirely too cynical about the profession but unless this source was threatening to go to someone else, why bother really?


At 8:17 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey, no entry on the Schapelle Corby case? Care to offer your view from a law student's perspective, please?

As for the poor HK reporter, tough luck. They were already saying HK would be "sinking" way before 1997.

At 8:32 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...


He's not as pro-China as you may think. Here's why:,1280,-5040485,00.html


At 8:34 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sorry, here's the link to the Guardian story.


At 1:53 AM, Blogger Shaun Lee said...

Hi, thanks for the comment whoever you are. RM, that you?

Regarding the Schappelle Corby case, there's nothing I can add to the stuff that's already out there. There's a TNP report which argues why she's actually more guilty than she seems that's decent (except for the part about guilt by association).

Furthermore, I'm not terribly familiar with the Indonesian Legal System.

At 1:54 AM, Blogger Shaun Lee said...

Woah...okay. That I didn't know. Took my info from Washington Post. That explains a lot really.

At 7:56 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yes, Shaun. You're very welcome. Is there a link to the TNP article?

The thing is, the media in Australia overwhelmingly supports here. Fairly reasonable, given that a life is at stake. But there's some doubt here, and the most credible one I've seen is the conflicting statements allegedly given by Schapelle. The "guilt by association" thing is: her father was on a drug charge at her age (broken by the Daily Telegraph), and rumours that her sister and brother-in-law were "doing it".

But frankly, the whole issue to me boils down to: on a crime where there is a heavy burden of proof on the defence, is it necessary to impose the death penalty? That drives the violent accusations of a "guilty-until-proven-innocent" system, and charges that "they-don't-have-a-fair-legal-system", and some have labelled this as "racist" and "xenophobic". Which puts me in a very difficult position, because if these labels are justified, I've just become a vile person in my own eyes. (Though S. did say something about everyone being...)

The thing is, there are law professors interviewed who say that this holds in the Australian legal system for certain charges (drug charges; also, speeding tickets), so the public is really overreacting on dis- or mis-information. Notwithstanding this, the public still is justified in reacting strongly, because they have just been exposed to the possibility that they, too, may face the prospect of being sabotaged by baggage handlers, wrongfully charged, and wrongfully convicted.

My question to you was to hope to elicit some information on the nature of the burden of proof, based on your studies. What charges have heavier burdens of proof on the defence, if any? I can think of several: drug trafficking, traffic offenses, "stealing of core state secrets", etc. But I'd love to hear from you on this.

At 10:39 PM, Blogger Shaun Lee said...

I will do a longer post on this hopefully soon. But in the intermediate time, here's some quick thoughts about burden of proof.

Now generally, he who asserts must prove it. Hence in a criminal case, the prosecutor must prove the crime committed. Now because this potentially might deprive someone of life or liberty, the burden of proof i.e. Beyond Reasonable Doubt is much higher than in civil cases i.e. on a balance of probabilities.

The problem with drugs and arms offences and offences against the state is the use of Legal Presumptions i.e. you're guilty (say of a charge of possession) unless you can prove otherwise. The argument is that this is necessary given the difficulties of the prosecutor proving the case but I think it misses the point, it's meant to be difficult.


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