Friday, June 15, 2018

Johannes Chan's "A Storm of Unprecedented Ferocity" (ICON)

Johannes Chan
June 2018
ICON, Volume 6, Issue 2
Abstract:  As Hong Kong celebrated its twentieth anniversary of becoming a Special Administrative Region of China under the One Country, Two Systems model, the tension between the socialist/civil law system and the common law system on two sides of the border has become increasingly strenuous.  The tension is most obvious in relation to the independence of the judiciary, and is aggravated by the rising economic power of China and the emergence of the so-called “localism” in Hong Kong.  This article argues that the latest interpretation of the Basic Law by the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress in the context of disqualifying a number of popularly elected legislators constituted the most blatant interference with judicial independence in Hong Kong.  At the same time, the judiciary in Hong Kong is facing mounting challenges from demonstrators who tried to test the boundary of public demonstrations in the pretext of civil disobedience.  The court has done well so far in defending the rule of law, but it has to secure its own institutional space within a shrinking public space, and is treading an ever-slippery path of maintaining the liberal values of the common law system amidst a rising and powerful authoritarian regime. 
    This special issue of ICON which is focused on Asia also has review essays by Hualing Fu (with Xiaobo Zhai) and Maria Adele Carrai (PhD 2016) and book reviews by Po Jen Yap (with Chintan Chandrachud), Albert Chen and Kelley Loper.  Recent books authored by Po Jen Yap (Courts and Democracies in Asia) and Shitong Qiao (Chinese Small Property: The Co-Evolution of Law and Social Norms) are also reviewed in this issue.  

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