Stay professional, People’s Daily warns Law Society

People’s Daily, on Saturday warned Hong Kong’s Law Society not to play with politics unless it wants to follow the fate of the Bar Association and the now-defunct Professional Teachers Union.

The warning comes ahead of an election later this month for five seats on the council of the professional association and regulator for the SAR’s solicitors.

In a commentary, the Communist Party mouthpiece said the society plays a major role in upholding the rule of law in the SAR, praising the body for having condemned the violence seen in the 2019 social unrest as well as those who attacked the courts.

“That’s exactly why Hong Kong’s Law Society is not seen to have been turned into a political group,” People’s Daily said.

“Hong Kong’s Bar Association is now a running rat. It’s more than certain that it will be defeated,” the newspaper added. “Use a rational election to show that the society is different from the Bar Association.”

It went on to say that the society needs to dissociate itself from “anti-China disruptors” or risk losing the SAR government’s recognition and “suddenly collapsing” like the teaching union, which announced this week that it was disbanding.

People’s Daily told the Law Society to uphold the “one country, two systems” principle and abide by the Basic Law or it would reach an “dead end” like the Bar Association.

The Bar Association retains its regulatory duties for the SAR’s barristers, although it has faced intense criticism from state media and pro-Beijing figures.

People’s Daily said the Law Society had a bright future if members choose the correct path.