Beijing’s 'Rule of Law' Strategy for Governing Hong Kong: Legalization without Democratization

22 Pages Posted: 2 May 2019 Last revised: 15 Jul 2021

See all articles by Han Zhu

Han Zhu

The University of Hong Kong Faculty of Law

Date Written: February 11, 2019

Abstract

This paper examines the evolution of legal strategies that the central government has used in managing Hong Kong affairs in the past three decades. It demonstrates that the Beijing government appears to have successfully employed the tactic of “legalisation without democratisation” to neutralise political resistance, to resolve thorny issues, and to stifle pro-independence voices. However, as Beijing’s legal strategies for Hong Kong have become more hands-on and assertive, the flaws and instrumentalism of Chinese-style “rule of law” have become increasingly salient, giving rise to deepening conflicts with the Hong Kong common law system. Legalisation without democratisation has given rise to a worrying trend of rising authoritarian legalism in Hong Kong.

Keywords: basic law, China, Hong Kong, rule of law, democracy

Suggested Citation

Zhu, Han, Beijing’s 'Rule of Law' Strategy for Governing Hong Kong: Legalization without Democratization (February 11, 2019). China Perspectives, No.2019/1, pp 23-33, University of Hong Kong Faculty of Law Research Paper No. 2019/025, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3362068

Han Zhu (Contact Author)

The University of Hong Kong Faculty of Law ( email )

Pokfulam Road
Hong Kong, Pokfulam HK
China

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