Top office overseeing HK, Macao affairs slams British judge’s remarks, calling him politically hijacked, destroy his own reputation
Published: Jun 12, 2024 10:12 PM
The Court of Final Appeal Building lights up at night in Central District on November 23, 2016. Photo: CFP

The Court of Final Appeal Building lights up at night in Central District on November 23, 2016. Photo: CFP

The Hong Kong and Macao Affairs Office of the State Council slammed the latest remarks made by Jonathan Sumption, a British judge who recently resigned from Hong Kong’s highest court, saying he has willingly become a tool of British political manipulation, making people not only shocked but also feel ashamed and disgraced for him. 

In an article released by the office on Wednesday, it said after Sumption’s resignation as non-permanent judge (NPJ) of the Court of Final Appeal (CFA) of the city, he blatantly published an article attacking and smearing Hong Kong’s rule of law. 

In the article, published in the Financial Times on Monday, Sumption made the comments on the latest verdict on the "35-plus" defendants in Hong Kong, saying that "the decision is symptomatic of a growing malaise in the Hong Kong judiciary." 

It is clear to the world that forcing judges to resign is a despicable political maneuver by the British government and politicians targeting Hong Kong, and one can imagine and sympathize with the pressure Sumption may have faced, the office said. 

However, as a former NPJ of the Hong Kong’s CFA and a judge of the UK's Supreme Court, with a certain reputation internationally, Sumption has completely abandoned his professional spirit and ethics, and utterly betrayed the dignity of the rule of law and his judicial peers, the office added. 

Sumption’s wanton defamation of the relevant case rulings, the Hong Kong judicial system, and Hong Kong's national security legislation is not based on facts and the law but rather on politics overriding facts and the law, the office said. “It is filled with prejudiced political assumptions and malicious political hype. When Jonathan Sumption wrote those comments, did the word ‘justice’ ever cross his mind?” it said, noting that Sumption has brought shame to the sacred title of "judge."

In March 2021, when two British Supreme Court judges resigned from the Hong Kong’s CAF under pressure from the British government and politicians, Sumption published an article in the media stating that the UK should avoid undermining Hong Kong's judicial system. 

He refused to participate in the British government's political boycott against Hong Kong's judiciary and asserted that neither the Chinese government nor the HKSAR government had interfered with judicial independence, and that the National Security Law for Hong Kong explicitly protected human rights, the office recalled. 

However, he has now made a complete 180-degree turn, entirely contradicting his previous stance, according to the office.

Sumption is willingly collaborates with malevolent forces, acting as a pawn and vanguard in the destruction of Hong Kong's judicial system. Comparing his drastically different positions, one can only conclude that the person who has lost judicial independence is none other than himself, it noted. “Such irony, such self-contradiction and self-degradation, is truly lamentable.”

The pressure on Hong Kong judges does not come from the HKSAR government or the central government, but from the governments and politicians of the UK and other related countries, the office said. 

It is regrettable and disappointing that at a time when external forces are increasing their pressure, and Hong Kong judges are standing united, upholding justice, independence, and professionalism in their judgments to defend Hong Kong's rule of law, Sumption suddenly announced his resignation, it noted. 

To show his allegiance to the governments and politicians of the UK and other related countries, Sumption has trampled on the dignity of the rule of law and insulted his fellow judges, which is a disgrace to the judiciary, the office said. 

Sumption's lack of truthfulness, integrity, and morality clearly demonstrates that he has willingly allowed himself to be "politically hijacked," the office said. 

He is willingly acting as a tool for the political manipulation of the British government and other related countries' politicians and is willingly serving external forces in their interference in Hong Kong affairs. “By destroying his own reputation and choosing to stand on the wrong side of history, he is destined to face endless regret,” the office noted.