Academic Freedom and Critical Speech in Hong Kong: China's Response to Occupy Central and the Future of 'One Country, Two Systems'

64 Pages Posted: 24 Oct 2017

See all articles by Carole J. Petersen

Carole J. Petersen

William S. Richardson School of Law; Matsunaga Institute for Peace, University of Hawaii at Manoa

Alvin Cheung

New York University (NYU) - US-Asia Law Institute; McGill University Faculty of law; New York University School of Law

Date Written: September 27, 2016

Abstract

Since July 1997, when Hong Kong was reunited with the People’s Republic of China, academics in the Special Administrative Region of Hong Kong have fiercely protected their right to engage in critical speech and practice academic freedom. They have been aided by Hong Kong’s regional constitution (known as the “Basic Law”), which incorporates international human rights treaties into domestic law and contains unusually detailed protections for freedom of expression, academic freedom, and educational autonomy. These constitutional provisions originated in the Sino- British Joint Declaration, a bilateral treaty that was duly registered with the United Nations. Nonetheless, this article documents a dramatic decline in academic freedom in Hong Kong since the last comprehensive study of the topic was published in 2006. This is partly because the Chinese Communist Party has made a concerted effort to punish Hong Kong academics and student organizations for their role in the Umbrella Movement and other pro-democracy movements. Equally important, there have been significant changes to the governance structure in Hong Kong’s universities over the past decade, creating overly-centralized universities that are far too vulnerable to outside interference. These developments have already damaged the quality and international reputation of Hong Kong’s universities, which will ultimately hurt not only Hong Kong but also the People’s Republic of China.

Keywords: Hong Kong, Freedom of Expression, Academic Freedom, Sino-British Joint Declaration, International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights

JEL Classification: K33

Suggested Citation

Petersen, Carole J. and Cheung, Alvin, Academic Freedom and Critical Speech in Hong Kong: China's Response to Occupy Central and the Future of 'One Country, Two Systems' (September 27, 2016). North Carolina Journal of International Law and Commercial Regulation, Vol. 42, No. 3, 2016, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3057627

Carole J. Petersen

William S. Richardson School of Law ( email )

2515 Dole Street
Honolulu, HI 96822-2350
United States

HOME PAGE: http://https://www.law.hawaii.edu/personnel/petersen/carole

Matsunaga Institute for Peace, University of Hawaii at Manoa ( email )

Saunders Hall
2424 Maile Way
Honolulu, HI 96822
United States
808-956-6940 (Phone)

HOME PAGE: http://https://peaceinstitute.manoa.hawaii.edu/carole-petersen/

Alvin Cheung (Contact Author)

New York University (NYU) - US-Asia Law Institute ( email )

139 MacDougal Street
New York, NY 10012
United States

McGill University Faculty of law ( email )

3644 Peel Street
Montreal, Quebec H3A 1W9
Canada

New York University School of Law ( email )

40 Washington Square South
New York, NY 10012-1099
United States

Do you have a job opening that you would like to promote on SSRN?

Paper statistics

Downloads
75
Abstract Views
471
rank
379,956
PlumX Metrics