Some were disappointed when the main protest camp in central Hong Kong folded its tents with a whisper this week. To a journalist who sits across from distant Zuccotti Park, where the world Occupy movement got its chaotic start, Occupy Central was a model of disciplined civil disobedience. It was also the Hong Kong bar’s finest hour.

Hong Kong bar chair Paul Shieh framed his city’s year-long tutorial on the rule of law with a colorful January speech that aptly predicted a year “as lively as dragons and horses.” Shieh called for political checks, human rights, independent judges, and—not least—a legal profession “free from control or influence by the government or business interests (whether direct or indirect, explicit or subtle).”

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