Hong Kong’s Made-in-China National Security Law: Upending the Legal Order for the Sake of Law and Order
23 Pages Posted: 16 Dec 2020
Date Written: December 15, 2020
Hong Kong’s sweeping new national security regime makes major changes to the territory with 27 years still to run on the constitutional arrangements agreed between the United Kingdom and the People’s Republic of China. Drafted in Beijing and promulgated in Hong Kong, the National Security Law is a vast political document widely inconsistent with, yet overruling, Hong Kong’s pre-existing constitutional, statutory and common law. Broad, draconian new offences are created, criminalising dissent and placing civil and political rights in jeopardy. Regional institutions are co-opted to serve the PRC security apparatus, diminishing their autonomy, while vast powers are conferred on executive authorities under mainland supervision. The vaunted ‘firewall’ between the PRC and Hong Kong legal systems is broken down as the transfer of cases into mainland jurisdiction is made possible, while the region’s courts are shackled by ousters of interpretative and supervisory jurisdiction. The rule of law is recast in law-and-order terms to shore up the stability and authority of the one-party state. This article presents a detailed review and critique of the NSL and considers its implications for Hong Kong and the ‘one country, two systems’ model.
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