Reinterpreting the rule of law in Hong Kong

James RICE

Research output: Journal PublicationsJournal Article (refereed)peer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


This paper argues that since the return to Chinese rule in July 1997, the actions of Hong Kong authorities have evidenced a disregard for their obligations under international covenants, as well as for judicial independence. What the administration has referred to as a ‘new constitutional order’ has in fact been a reassertion of this same patriarchal order and a further retreat from the rule of law. An independent judiciary is gradually being replaced by a regime in which the ‘true legislative intent’ of law is ultimately determined by the Hong Kong Government and the National People’s Congress. This shift is alarming because the previous colonial administration failed to put into place institutions such as a democratically constituted legislature. Instead, it placed great emphasis on the judiciary as the default institution for delivering both accountability and transparency in Government. That matter in which the post-hand over judiciary was initially tested involved not a commercial dispute, but the matter of a right of abode, which demonstrates a perpetuation of this patriarchal rule.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)40-76
Number of pages37
JournalAsia-Pacific Journal on Human Rights and the Law
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2002


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