The Big Ideas

'Margaret Ng's Statement at Conclusion of Today's Trial'
'Margaret Ng's Statement at Conclusion of Today's Trial'
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April 17, 2021
BIG IDEA | ‘There is no right so precious to the people of Hong Kong as the freedom of expression and the freedom of peaceful assembly.’

‘On April 16, former Hong Kong lawmaker, barrister, and veteran Civic Party member Margaret Ng was among nine democrats convicted of organising and participating in a peaceful protest on August 18, 2019.’

  • ‘She was handed a 12-month sentence, suspended for 24 months on Friday after delivering the mitigation plea below.’ Hong Kong Free Press

‘Margaret Ng’s wonderful statement, made under enormous pressure, deserves the broadest distribution and will be a powerful indictment of the Communist application of law in Hong Kong,’ writes Jerry Cohen, the dean of American scholarship on Chinese law.

  • Jerry is right. Vitually every sentence of her address to the judge who convicted her is so moving and inspiring that I hated having to choose just a few excerpts.
  • It’s not long. You should read it in its entirety. You will mourn for how much Hong Kong has lost and feel good that you live (if you do) in a nation that protects the rights of its citizens.
  • In the meantime, here are a few parts of her statement.

Statement of Margaret Ng Ngoi Yee' (excerpts)

‘The law should give protection to rights, not take them away, especially in Hong Kong, where structural democracy is still absent.’

‘Justice is the soul of the law without which the rule of law descends to the level of rule by force, even if it is force by majority.’

‘There is no right so precious to the people of Hong Kong as the freedom of expression and the freedom of peaceful assembly.’

  • ‘When the people, in the last resort, had to give collective expression to their anguish and urge the government to respond, protected only by their expectation that the government will respect their rights, I must be prepared to stand with them, stand by them and stand up for them.’
  • ‘Otherwise, all my pledges and promises would be just empty words.’

‘Your honour, I came late to the law.’

  • ‘I have grown old in the service of the rule of law.’

‘I understand Sir Thomas More is the patron saint of the legal profession.’

  • ‘He was tried for treason because he would not bend the law to the King’s will. His famous last words were well authenticated.’
  • ‘I beg to slightly adapt and adopt them: "I stand the law’s good servant but the people’s first. For the law must serve the people, not the people the law." ’