By Jerome A. Cohen
I don’t know how Lam Wing-kee was persuaded to tell the truth and finally demolish the “bedtime story” that the PRC government has been using to ridicule itself and insult the world’s intelligence. Bravo to Albert Ho and his colleagues and to the SCMP for bringing reality to our attention. This case offers classic instruction about the arbitrary power of the Chinese police to detain and torture any of us within China and to reach beyond China’s borders to silently kidnap and force to China even foreign nationals!
This story reveals on many levels the nature of the PRC legal system. We have long heard about “two Chinas” in the international realm, but there have always been two Chinas in the realm of criminal justice– the China of written law including the Constitution – and the China of real life Communist party and police practice, which often ignores, defies or distorts the published rules.
This case is especially interesting for the light Mr. Lam now sheds on the special investigating group that operates as a secret instrument of the central Party authorities. He also confirms that the case is not the product of some out-of-control local officials in southern China but emanates from the Party center.
The attempt to discredit Lam through untested statements made by people who remain under PRC control and whose fate will be determined by their responsiveness to the demands of their captors is pathetic – for them and for the reputation of the PRC.