Hong Kong's Reunion with China: The Global Dimensions

By Gerard A. Postiglione; James T. H. Tang | Go to book overview

teed, under applicable conventions and by customary international law, the enjoyment and protection of universally recognized human rights and fundamental freedoms; finally, assurance, both international and constitutional, has been provided for the maintenance, through an independent and internationally respected final adjudicatory organ, of Hong Kong's rule of law and the integrity of its legal system (which underpin the stability and prosperity of the territory).

At the same time, difficulties in the effective internalization of these international legal tools have been outlined. Attention has been drawn to the potential for encroachment on the pledged autonomy of the HKSAR's legislative, executive and judicial powers; the obstacles in the concretization of the people's right to internal self-determination/right to democracy; the need for further institutional support and procedural safeguards to ensure effective implementation of human rights and fundamental freedoms; and the guarding against compromising indispensable sureties for an autonomous and impartial judiciary.

The balance between the legal imperatives and the forces shaping the behavior of decision makers in Beijing and their representatives in the territory is clearly delicate. The outcome of this historical experiment remains to be seen.


Notes
1.
See Roda Mushkat, "Hong Kong as an International Legal Person," Emory International Law Review 6 ( 1992), pp. 105-170. For a more recent discussion see Roda Mushkat , One Country, Two International Legal Personalities: The Case of Hong Kong ( Hong Kong: Hong Kong University Press, 1997).
2.
The discussion in this section is largely based on the author's analysis in ibid.
3.
Joint Declaration of the Government of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland and the Government of the People's Republic of China on the Question of Hong Kong, December 19, 1984, Cmnd 9543, reprinted in International Legal Materials 23 ( 1984): 1366 (hereafter Sino-British Joint Declaration, or JD).
4.
JD, Art. 3(2).
5.
The Basic Law of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region of the People's Republic of China, adopted at the Third Session of the Seventh National People's Congress of the PRC on April 4, 1990, to be put into effect as of July 1, 1997, reprinted in International Legal Materials 29 ( 1990): 1511 (hereafter Basic Law, or BL).
6.
JD, Art. 3(3).
7.
See Hurst Hannum and Richard B. Lillich, "The Concept of Autonomy in International Law," in Yoram Dinstein, ed., Models of Autonomy ( New Brunswick, NJ: Transaction Books, 1981), pp. 215-254.
8.
JD, Annex I, Art. I, para. 3. To underscore the "local" character of the chief executive, the BL provides that a candidate should be "a Chinese citizen . . . who is a permanent resident of the Region with no right of abode in any foreign country and [one who] has ordinarily resided in Hong Kong for a continuous period of not less than 20 years." BL, Art. 44.
9.
JD, Annex I, Art. I, para. 3.
10.
JD, Annex I, Art. II, para. 2.
11.
JD, Annex I, Art. III, para. 2; BL, Art. 85. To ensure the independence of the judiciary, both the Sino-British Joint Declaration and the Basic Law contain detailed provisions pertaining to appointment, removal from office, and immunity from legal action in respect of

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