Monday, June 26, 2017

Johannes Chan Interviewed on 20 Years of Rule of Law in Hong Kong (HKFP & RTHK)

Elson Tong
Hong Kong Free Press
25 June 2017
Eighteen years ago tomorrow, the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress (NPCSC) – the top Chinese legislative body – handed down its first ever ruling to clarify a provision in Hong Kong’s mini-constitution, the Basic Law.
     A lengthy controversy on the right of mainland children to live in the city had culminated in a Court of Final Appeal ruling in January 1999, establishing that the children of all Hong Kong permanent residents would also automatically gain permanent residency.
     Security chief Regina Ip warned that 1.67 million mainlanders would rush across the border and overwhelm the city. Chief executive Tung Chee-hwa asked Beijing to intervene.
     For constitutional and human rights scholar Johannes Chan, Hong Kong’s legal system following the transfer of sovereignty in 1997 was burdened by fundamental tensions with the mainland, which the drafters of the Basic Law in 1985 never sought to resolve. The judiciary – and law itself – plays a different role in a common law system than in a socialist legal system.
     “The court makes a ruling and the government believes the people cannot accept it… This happens everywhere,” he says. “The solution is to get a democratically-elected legislature to pass a new law to overturn the ruling. That is totally acceptable.”
     “But [the Chinese legal system] doesn’t recognise the separation of powers. The NPCSC is simultaneously a legislative, executive and judicial organ. It has all the powers – what matters is that if you throw a problem at it, it solves the problem.”... Click here to read the full article.

26 June 2017
Legal scholar Johannes Chan said on Monday that he has seen “worrying features” in the One Country, Two Systems policy in recent years, as Beijing exercises less self-restraint in exercising its powers and increases its interference in SAR affairs.
     “At the beginning of the handover, we have seen that China has exercised a high degree of restraint. There are a lot of issues where China was prepared to leave to Hong Kong to decide," Chan said.
     "In the last few years, we have seen increasingly that China feels that it can interfere with Hong Kong matters, it wants to have a say, it wants control ... it wants Hong Kong to do things in a Chinese way,” he said. 
     The law professor from the University of Hong Kong told RTHK's Janice Wong that Beijing’s tightening grip on the SAR will not doing anything to solve the territory's deep-rooted conflicts... Click here to watch the video interview.

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