Looking at whole picture

PUBLISHED : Friday, 05 January, 1996, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 05 January, 1996, 12:00am

I HESITATE to enter the lists against so prominent an advocate as Michael Darwyne, but as he appears to have missed the point of my December 20 column headlined, 'Passing judgment on double standards', on the subject of our Chief Justice, I have little choice but to mount my trusty steed again.

Mr Darwyne, in his letter published on December 28 under the heading, 'Many judges have expressed views on laws', defends Sir Ti Liang Yang's right to give his opinion on issues of the day both publicly and privately. Sir Ti Liang's rights were never challenged by me.

Rather I was contrasting what he himself said, 'The issue has become too politicised and emotional for members of the judiciary to comment' (his own words, not mine) - on October 23, with what he proceeded to do the very next day, that is give his views to one of the most prominent political figures in Hong Kong, namely the vice-director of the local Xinhua (New China News Agency). It is against that background that we should also judge Sir Ti Liang's earlier exchanges with Rita Fan.

If he had merely expressed an opinion to her on October 20, and then over the next few days come to the conclusion that the issue had become too politicised for him to comment further, then we might - charitably overlooking the fact that Mrs Fan herself is also a prominent political figure having regard to her membership of the Preliminary Working Committee - think no more of it.

But given the whole picture, the only conclusion a fair person can draw from this sequence of events is that Sir Ti Liang is not prepared to share his views with the people of Hong Kong as a whole, but only with that very select group which has the ear of Beijing.

That is a double standard.