South China Morning Post
8 July 2020
Like a signal No 8 typhoon, the national security law directly hit Hong Kong just before midnight on July 1, leaving us to pick up the pieces. One of those pieces is its interpretation.
Some have asked why bother as it is like other Chinese laws – vague and open to manipulation through interpretation by the authorities. Only the National People’s Congress Standing Committee appears to have the power to interpret the law. Let the political struggle continue, they say.
As a law professor and practitioner, I find such a defeatist attitude unhelpful. Cases under the new law have commenced. Lawyers need to advise on it and courts must apply it in adjudicating cases. The law is upon us and we cannot sit idle in fear, waiting for some authority to tell us what it means. In affirming our autonomy, questions of interpretation should be carefully considered on our own in accordance with existing legal practices and principles.
The national security law has been added to Annex III of the Basic Law by the NPC Standing Committee. Annex III national laws are to be “applied locally” – that is, by reference to local circumstances and standards. Hong Kong judges and practitioners work in a common law legal system, having been educated and trained in the common law tradition... Click here to read the full article.
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