My Take

From the NYT: All the jokes that are fit to print

The once-venerated newspaper used to be a bastion of cool, calm, collected thoughts yet on the jailed Occupy trio, it has gone into hyperbole, even suggesting the young activists be awarded the Nobel Peace Prize

PUBLISHED : Monday, 21 August, 2017, 1:07am
UPDATED : Monday, 21 August, 2017, 3:20am

It’s official. Joshua Wong Chi-fung, Alex Chow Yong-kang and Nathan Law Kwun-chung are bona fide prisoners of conscience. If The New York Times says so, it must be true: not once, but twice, in three days.

The first time, it was more tentative: “Will Hong Kong jail its first political prisoners?”, asked its editorial board (August 15). Now, it’s confirmed. Opinion section staff editor Bari Weiss has declared “the courageous trio” to be “Hong Kong’s first prisoners of conscience” (August 17). For having to serve six to eight months in jail, Weiss has compared the three to Andrei Sakharov, Vaclav Havel and Aung San Suu Kyi. Boy, those giants of 20th century politics fought Soviet totalitarianism and the Myanmar junta. Joshua, Alex and Nathan stared down … the Hong Kong government. It’s like, yeah!

Foreign politicians call for release of Hong Kong’s ‘political prisoners’ Joshua Wong, Nathan Law and Alex Chow

I would like to point out to Weiss that the sentences were imposed by the Court of Appeal, not the Department of Justice. Maybe she is being prophetic of things to come, but at the moment, we still have an independent court.

As the Bar Association and the Law Society have pointed out, the three student leaders were given due process and proper legal representation under British common law. But who cares about such details?

Weiss goes even further, arguing the three young men should be nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize. I am all for it. There is no such thing as bad publicity. The city has never had a peace prize winner before, though Charles Kao Kuen and Daniel Tsui Chee did win two prizes in physics. But the peace prize is better because everyone can have an opinion about it, as it has had some dodgy choices in recent years. Those physics prizes – who understands them anyway?



But why stop there? Those three didn’t do it by themselves. The whole “Yellow Umbrella” movement deserves the big prize. And now that we are into hyperbole, I think Leung Chun-ying, our former chief executive, and Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor, our current one and chief secretary before that, should be put on trial for crimes against humanity at The Hague – for suppressing the movement that lasted 79 days and then petered out.

I used to read The New York Times for news and analysis. Now I can read it for satire, too. It’s even better than The Onion website: All the jokes that are fit to print.