Come on UK law socs, where are your junior indoctrination divisions?
The Law Society of Hong Kong has enlisted children to sing the praises of the territory's legal system, resulting in a music video which could not look more like the product of a repressive regime.
'Love for Hong Kong', written by former Hong Kong Law Society President Melissa Pang and sung by a choir of youngsters, has racked up over 20,000 views since it appeared on YouTube last Friday.
In a jaunty call for action, the Eastern District Youth and Children’s Choir sings, "Love for Hong Kong, Don't just hide it in your heart, Sing it out, Speak it out, Let everyone know".
"What can we do to protect Hong Kong from unfounded wrong allegations?", sing the children, making synchronised hand gestures as they answer, "Tell the world we're working well".
C M Chan, the President of the Law Society of Hong Kong, refused to say what the "unfounded wrong allegations" were, telling RollOnFriday that enquiries about lyrics "should be appropriately addressed by the owner and creator of the Song". Pressed to respond on the basis that Pang is a current Council member, a Law Society spokesperson replied that she created the song "in her personal capacity, not as a Council member on behalf of the Law Society". Pang did not respond to a request for comment.
Their reluctance to confirm that the lyric refers to criticism of the national security law imposed by Beijing in 2020, and Hong Kong’s crackdown against pro-democracy activists and human rights lawyers, may be due to fears that authorities would hold them responsible for spreading anti-China sentiments, and lock them up as well.
"Rule of Law is strong", sing the children, before Chan and his fellow council members relay how it is "Based on law and evidence".
They dance like puppets. Huh. How about that.
"Have faith in the years to come", implore the children, who then cross their fingers, unintentionally signalling that getting justice in Hong Kong will require a great deal of luck, or that they are lying.
"Defenders of the law, Lawyers and Judges, We have trust in you", trill the youngsters, before the lyrics descend into a series of mantras that would not look out of place in a musical reimagining of 1984: "We're all equal before the law, Justice is done, Transparency is here".
That transparency doesn't extend to state crimes, however, with the result that a monument to the victims of the Tiananmen Square Massacre was removed from the University of Hong Kong's campus last year. The sculpture was called the Pillar of Shame, but now, sing the Law Society choristers, "Rule of law is the pillar of Hong Kong".
The song is delivered in English, but switches to Mandarin for the final line, when the children make the not-at-all sinister announcement, "The new generation of rule of law is me".
Enjoy, or it's the reeducation camp for you:
A lawyer in Hong Kong who opted not to give his name "for political persecution reasons" told RollOnFriday, "it is concerning to me that the HKLS has possibly lost the plot".
"Does the HKLS really think producing something like this is going to add to perceptions about the rule of law in Hong Kong, or just demonstrate to the rest of the world that Hong Kong is a complete shit show at present reliant on propaganda performed by children?"