US regulation firm Davis Polk & Wardwell has been condemned for agreeing to take part in a Hong Kong federal government function to commemorate the city’s controversial national safety legislation.
Martin Rogers, the firm’s Asia chair, will look at an celebration to mark the second anniversary of the sweeping regulation, which was released in response to pro-democracy protests in 2019 and been applied to crack down on opposition in the metropolis.
The regulation has been invoked to prosecute high-profile activists and lawmakers together with Joshua Wong and media mogul Jimmy Lai. Cardinal Joseph Zen, the territory’s previous most senior Roman Catholic cleric, Cantopop singer Denise Ho, barrister Margaret Ng and scholar Hui Po-keung ended up arrested below the legislation past 7 days.
The Countrywide Stability Legislation Authorized Discussion board on May 28 will contain participation from top rated mainland and Hong Kong officials, such as associates from a state protection company set up in the city next the protests.
Rogers wrote in a LinkedIn put up that he was “honoured to be invited to speak” as aspect of a panel dialogue on cases below the countrywide safety regulation and explained other classes as “interesting and important”.
A person keynote speech by a senior Chinese formal will go over how the safety law has “won the hearts of the people” and established Hong Kong on a route from “chaos to order”.
The celebration has been organised by Hong Kong’s justice department, led by Teresa Cheng, who has been subjected to US sanctions for “undermining Hong Kong’s autonomy and proscribing the liberty of expression or assembly of the citizens of Hong Kong”.
Rogers is the only personal sector lawyer on the community agenda and critics claimed his participation could give the effect that his agency endorsed the legislation.
“It is no honour . . . Not a superior glimpse,” explained Donald Clarke, a Chinese legislation professor at George Washington College Law Faculty. “If you sense honoured to be speaking at this sort of an party, you want to critically rethink your strategies about what is honourable.”
Samuel Bickett, a US attorney who was compelled out of the territory soon after being jailed and accused of assaulting a plainclothes law enforcement officer in the course of the protests, explained the function was “blatantly propagandistic”.
“Even a cursory appear at the agenda for this accumulating would have revealed to Martin Rogers and any individual who authorised his involvement that this is a propaganda occasion,” claimed Bickett, who has denied the accusations and grow to be an advocate for legal legal rights and civil liberties in Hong Kong.
“There is one particular rationale and one cause by itself that Davis Polk and Martin Rogers have been invited: simply because the presence of a prestigious US law organization offers the function a phony include of legitimacy . . . Davis Polk need to pull out of the function.”
Davis Polk and Rogers did not instantly answer to a ask for for remark.
Grenville Cross, a British barrister and previous director of public prosecutions in Hong Kong who will show up along with Rogers at the event, mentioned industry experts ought to not be “muzzled” from sharing their sights on the safety regulation.
“Was it not Voltaire who stated, I disapprove of what you say, but I will protect to the death your right to say it? Most likely individuals criticising Mr Rogers need to be reminded of that,” he said. “The ideal of Mr Rogers to flexibility of speech really should be respected.”
The disclosure of Davis Polk’s involvement followed a separate controversy for US legislation company Mayer Brown, which was hired last 12 months by the College of Hong Kong as it tried out to clear away a memorial to the Tiananmen Sq. massacre from its campus.
The Chicago-primarily based business was seriously criticised by US lawmakers for representing HKU and subsequently withdrew from the job.