The Express Rail Co-location Case: The Hong Kong Judiciary’s Retreat

PLG member Alvin Cheung writes: "The independence and relevance of Hong Kong’s judiciary may now be in doubt [...] Interventions from Beijing are likely to dictate outcomes to Hong Kong’s courts not only in cases directly involving political rights, but also cases that involve major policy initiatives such as public infrastructure projects."

Beijing’s ‘distortion’ of Hong Kong Basic Law greatly undermines rule of law, legal experts warn

On Wednesday, China’s top legislature – the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress (NPCSC) – approved the plan following a unanimous vote and months of controversy. Hong Kong will effectively surrender its jurisdiction across a quarter of the new West Kowloon terminus, where immigration procedures will be performed by mainland law enforcement agents. Beijing’s “distortion” of the Basic Law in justifying the Express Rail Link’s joint checkpoint arrangement has greatly undermined Hong Kong’s rule of law, legal experts have warned.

Transport chief defends transparency of co-location plan

Secretary for Transport and Housing Frank Chan Fan said the government has been doing its best to make the co-location deal between Hong Kong and mainland China as transparent as possible.

He dismissed criticism that the co-location arrangement is a “black box” operation, the Hong Kong Economic Journal reports. Barrister Chris Ng Chung-luen, a spokesperson for the Progressive Lawyers Group, said Hong Kong courts might refuse to accept any challenge against the plan once it is approved and endorsed by the NPCSC, to the detriment of ”one country, two systems”.

【法政匯絲】法律知識 VS 喪屍式絕望

這幾年多了很多喪屍片,例如早排勁hit的韓國喪屍災難片《屍殺列車》和幾個星期前開始新一季的 Walking Dead 《陰屍路》。曾經有學者說喪屍片的流行與時代變遷如經濟蕭條、戰爭、疫情等有直接的關係,反影社會的無力感。我十分同意這個理論。喪屍開始的時候只會有一、兩群,不過很快就會以倍數增長,好像恐怖主義、流行病毒以至民粹主義的復興每一處也有它們的蹤影。當人們看到螢光幕上的英雄解決喪屍們時,也會墮入角色幻想自己有能力解決現實社會的問題。

人大釋法 FAQs (FAQs regarding the Interpretation by the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress on 7 November 2016)

What are the NPCSC’s powers of interpretation of the Basic Law?

Article 67(4) of the PRC Constitution and Article 158(1) of the Basic Law gives NPCSC has a freestanding and plenary power of interpretation of the Basic Law. This was also confirmed in the Hong Kong Court of Final Appeal case of Lau Kong Yung v Director of Immigration (1999) 2 HKCFAR 300.

However, this power should be sparingly used. Both the Hong Kong Bar Association and the Law Society of Hong Kong have in the past consistently called on the NPCSC to use this power with great restraint, as this would give rise to concerns about the rule of law and judicial independence.

法政匯思意見書:強烈譴責人大釋法 為政治目的濫用解釋權 (Submissions in relation to the Interpretation by the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress on 7 November 2016)

On 7 November 2016, the Standing Committee of the National Peoples Congress (“NPCSC”), in purported exercise of its powers under Article 158 of the Basic Law, issued an interpretation in relation to Article 104 of the Basic Law (“the Interpretation”). 

2. This is the fifth time the NPCSC has interpreted the Basic Law. In summary, and as further explained below, the Progressive Lawyers Group’s submissions on the Interpretation are set out in this statement.



As Crunch Time Nears, Hong Kong Democracy Groups Still Won’t ‘Pocket’ Beijing Reform Plan

(Epoch Times) Three days before the end of a public consultation on political reform, Hong Kong pro-democracy groups reaffirm Hongkongers’ resolve to reject a very restrictive Beijing reform package. The Progressive Lawyers Group recently called out the government for publicizing their campaign on radio and television.