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China plays the race card against foreign judges in Hong Kong

posted 23 Apr 2015, 15:38 by HKIP News   [ updated 24 Apr 2015, 16:59]

At a seminar to mark the 25th anniversary of the Basic Law in Hong Kong in early April, Mainland officials cast doubt on the ability of foreign judges to carry out their duties, accusing them of not knowing enough of either the Basic Law or Chinese laws.  Several legal experts from China even suggested that the Basic Law should be amended so that only ethnic Chinese can serve as judges in Hong Kong.

The Basic Law contains provisions to protect the impartiality and independence of Hong Kong judges.  For example, Article 92 stipulates that judges and other members of the judiciary “shall be chosen on the basis of their judicial and professional qualities and may be recruited from other common law jurisdictions”.  Yet, ever since the handover, Beijing and its allies in Hong Kong have continuously sought to undermine this system.  Indeed, of the three branches of the Hong Kong Government (executive, legislative and judicial), it is the judiciary that has been particularly under attack by China.  This is because while Beijing has heavy influence over Hong Kong's Legislative and Executive Councils, the judiciary has remained defiantly independent.

Using race and nationality as a pretext to attack foreign judges is not only xenophobic but also profoundly disturbing.  China's proposal to amend the Basic Law to ban foreign judges would spell disaster for the Basic Law and “one country, two systems”.