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2024

13/06/2024
The Department of Justice (DoJ) and the Supreme People’s Court today signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) on establishing a standing interface platform on judicial and legal co-operation in the Greater Bay Area (GBA). The MOU was signed by Deputy Secretary for Justice Cheung Kwok-kwan and Supreme People’s Court Research Office Director General Zhou Jiahai in Beijing. The standing interface platform serves as a regular and institutionalised high-level official communication mechanism for deepening exchanges and co-operation, and taking forward the work on the interfaces of mechanisms, regulatory frameworks and talent. Before the MOU was signed, Supreme People’s Court Executive Vice-President Deng Xiuming met Mr Cheung and his delegation. The establishment of the interface platform is one of the policy initiatives in The Chief Executive’s 2023 Policy Address. It is also an important measure in the DoJ’s Action Plan on the Construction of Rule of Law in the Greater Bay Area for strengthening the interface of the communication mechanism between the Mainland and Hong Kong. The two sides reached an agreement on various fronts to enhance the advantages of the GBA development, including the establishment of a standing interface mechanism to deepen the judicial and legal interface of regulatory frameworks in the GBA, thereby enhancing the cross-boundary multifaceted dispute resolution mechanism. They also agreed to strengthen exchanges and co-operation in the training of foreign-related legal talent, and conduct regular exchanges and visits of relevant officers. Under the interface platform’s framework, both sides will convene high-level joint meetings at least once a year to set the next stage’s work priorities, jointly prepare the work plans and programmes, and notify each other on a regular basis. Mr Cheung said that the standing interface platform would enable the two sides to advance closer and smoother practical and research work on judicial and legal matters relating to the bay area, and better utilise the unique advantages of GBA’s “one country, two systems and three jurisdictions”. The ultimate purpose of the interface platform is to consolidate Hong Kong’s status as a centre for international legal and dispute resolution services in the Asia-Pacific region, serving the country’s high-quality development as well as the construction of the rule of law in the GBA, he added.
13/06/2024
The Hong Kong Special Administrative Region Government said it strongly disapproves of and rejects the unfounded and biased content targeting Hong Kong’s safeguarding of national security, human rights etc in a so-called annual report on Hong Kong issued by the European Commission and the High Representative of the European Union (EU) for Foreign Affairs & Security Policy. In a press statement, it also urged the EU to discern facts from fallacies, respect the international law and basic norms governing international relations, and stop interfering in Hong Kong matters which are China’s internal affairs. The Hong Kong SAR Government pointed out that since the implementation of the National Security Law (NSL), the EU has ignored the large-scale and incessant riots that occurred in 2019 in Hong Kong, and has attacked Hong Kong in safeguarding national security dutifully, faithfully and in accordance with the law through the so-called report. It has also deliberately neglected the fact that the NSL has enabled the livelihood and economic activities of the Hong Kong community, and the business environment as well, to return to normalcy. The EU has demonstrated hypocrisy with double standards, the Hong Kong SAR Government said. In fact, early this year, a survey conducted by a major foreign chamber of commerce reflected that nearly 80% of its members interviewed had confidence in the rule of law in Hong Kong, and nearly 70% of them also indicated that the operation of their enterprises had not been affected by the relevant laws, the Hong Kong SAR Government pointed out. It also made it clear that extraterritorial effect for the offences endangering national security under the NSL fully aligns with the principles of international law, international practice and common practice adopted in various countries and regions. The Hong Kong SAR Government specified that Hong Kong Police are duty bound to pursue those who have allegedly committed offences under the NSL outside Hong Kong and the action is fully justified. As an example it stated that after fleeing overseas, the people on the wanted list allegedly continued to commit offences under the NSL. Furthermore, it stressed that the EU must immediately act reasonably and sensibly, and stop smearing the laws safeguarding national security in the Hong Kong SAR. Emphasising that the rule of law in Hong Kong is strong and will not change, the Hong Kong SAR Government said that all prosecutorial decisions are based on an objective analysis of all admissible evidence and applicable laws, and everyone charged with a criminal offence has the right to a fair hearing. In addition, the right to choice of lawyers is protected by the Basic Law, and it is well-established by case law that such a choice means a right to choose lawyers who are available and entitled to practise in Hong Kong, and not overseas lawyers who are not qualified to practise generally in Hong Kong. The Hong Kong SAR Government explained that the amendment to the Legal Practitioners Ordinance was introduced in 2023 with a view to addressing the potential national security risks associated with the participation in national security cases by overseas lawyers who are not qualified to practise generally in Hong Kong, and implementing the interpretation by the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress of Articles 14 and 47 of the NSL. It underescored that all defendants receive a fair trial strictly in accordance with laws applicable to Hong Kong, and convicted defendants have the right to appeal both conviction and sentence under the law. Moreover, it reiterated that any attempt by foreign countries or external forces to undermine Hong Kong’s prosperity and stability by slandering the city’s situation will only expose their own weakness and faulty arguments and be doomed to fail. The Hong Kong SAR Government elucidated the point that it will continue to discharge its duty, in adherence to the principle of the rule of law, to steadfastly ensure the successful implementation of “one country, two systems”, “Hong Kong people administering Hong Kong” and a high degree of autonomy. What’s more, it stated that it will continue to create strong impetus for growth at full steam, forge a better integration of a capable government and an efficient market, and proactively compete for enterprises and talent to strengthen the city’s competitiveness. The Hong Kong SAR Government added that will take the city’s economic development to new heights, so as to better serve Hong Kong citizens and foster the city’s development.
13/06/2024
Deputy Secretary for Justice Cheung Kwok-kwan began his visit to Beijing by calling on various authorities and organisations, and meeting senior officials of the ministries and authorities to exchange views on various issues. The issues they discussed included the construction of rule of law in the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area (GBA) and nurturing foreign-related legal talent. This morning, Mr Cheung met National People's Congress Standing Committee Legislative Affairs Commission Deputy Director Wang Ruihe to introduce to him the Department of Justice's (DoJ) work on promoting the rule of law education including the Constitution, the Basic Law, and the legal mechanism for safeguarding national security. They also had in-depth exchanges on matters such as the taking forward of the extension of the measures of allowing Hong Kong-invested enterprises to adopt Hong Kong law and to choose Hong Kong as the seat of arbitration to the nine Mainland cities of the GBA. Mr Cheung then called on CPC Central Committee Hong Kong & Macao Work Office Director and State Council Hong Kong & Macao Affairs Office Director Xia Baolong to brief him on the latest developments of the DoJ's work including establishing the Hong Kong International Legal Talents Training Academy, developing Hong Kong as a centre for international legal and dispute resolution services in the Asia-Pacific region, and promoting the construction of rule of law in the bay area. Mr Xia fully recognised the important role played by the DoJ in fully and faithfully implementing the "one country, two systems" principle, steadfastly safeguarding national security, enhancing the rule of law in Hong Kong, and protecting the promotion of the long-term prosperity and stability of the city. He also pointed out that the central authorities firmly support Hong Kong to maintain the common law system, to improve the city’s judicial system and legal system, to establish itself as a centre for international legal and dispute resolution services in the Asia-Pacific region and to develop into a regional intellectual property trading centre.  Mr Xia stressed that the golden reputation of Hong Kong's rule of law is built and maintained by all members of the judicial and legal sectors in Hong Kong, including judges at different levels of courts. The central authorities will firmly defend the dignity of rule of law and the judges in Hong Kong, unwaveringly support Hong Kong courts to exercise judicial power independently according to the law, and steadfastly safeguard the lawful rights of Hong Kong judges and judicial officers, he said. In addition to thanking Mr Xia for such recognition and support, the Deputy Secretary for Justice made it clear that the DoJ would continue to fully, faithfully, and resolutely implement the policy of "one country, two systems", and spare no effort in promoting and consolidating Hong Kong's status as a centre for international legal and dispute resolution services in the Asia-Pacific region. In the afternoon, Mr Cheung visited the Supreme People's Court and met its Executive Vice-president Deng Xiuming to discuss issues such as enhancing the arrangement for service of judicial documents between the two places. On behalf of the DOJ, he signed a memorandum of understanding with the court on establishing a standing interface platform on judicial and legal co-operation in the GBA. Mr Cheung also visited the Smart Court Laboratory. During his visit to the Peking University Law School, apart from meeting Dean of Law School Prof Guo Li to explore the strengthening of co-operation on nurturing foreign-related legal talent for the country, Mr Cheung toured the school’s law library. After arriving in Beijing yesterday, Mr Cheung met General Administration of Sport of China Department of Policies & Regulations Director General Chu Bo to enhance understanding of the work of the China Commission of Arbitration for Sport, and explore co-operation opportunities between the two places on promoting sports dispute resolution.  He then called on China Council for the Promotion of International Trade Vice Chairman Yu Jianlong to discuss issues that pertain to enhancing co-operation and the nurturing of talent between the two places in commercial mediation.
12/06/2024
The Secretary for Security today exercised the powers conferred by the Safeguarding National Security Ordinance to specify six individuals who have absconded to the UK and are subject to warrants of arrest on suspicion of having committed offences endangering national security, and describe the measures to be applied against such absconders by notices published in the Government Gazette. The specified absconders include six men, namely Law Kwun-chung, Mung Siu-tat, Lau Cho-dik, Cheng Man-kit, Fok Ka-chi and Choi Ming-da. The bureau said that since these individuals continue to engage in acts and activities endangering national security after they absconded to the UK, Police applied to the court for the arrest warrants in accordance with the law and put them on the wanted list in July 2023 and December 2023 respectively. The following four measures, “prohibition against making available funds etc or dealing with funds etc”, “prohibition against certain activities in connection with immovable property”, “prohibition in connection with joint ventures or partnerships with relevant absconders” and “cancellation of Hong Kong Special Administrative Region passports etc”, are applicable to all six absconders. In addition, other measures, such as the “suspension of qualification to practise”, is applicable to Fok Ka-chi, while “temporary removal from office of director” is applicable to Mung Siu-tat and Choi Ming-da. The Hong Kong SAR Government stressed that the wanted people are hiding in the UK and continue to blatantly engage in activities that endanger national security. It added that they make scaremongering remarks to smear and slander the Hong Kong SAR, and even collude with external forces to protect their evil deeds. Separately, Police reminded the public that except under the authority of a licence granted by the Secretary for Security, any person, whether directly or indirectly, making available any funds or other financial assets or economic resources to a relevant absconder, commits an offence and is liable on conviction to imprisonment for seven years.
11/06/2024
(To watch the full media session with sign language interpretation, click here.) Noting that the Government has expressed its strong disagreement with the personal opinions on the rule of law and independent judicial power of Hong Kong made by Lord Sumption who recently resigned as a non-permanent judge, Chief Executive John Lee supplemented that judges’ professional expertise is not on politics. In a statement, the Government pointed out that there is absolutely no truth that Hong Kong courts are under any political pressure from the central authorities or the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region Government in the adjudication of national security cases or indeed any case of any nature; or that there is any decline in the rule of law in Hong Kong. At a media session ahead of today's Executive Council meeting, Mr Lee said: “A judge is entitled to his personal political preferences, but that is not a judge’s area or professional expertise. “A judge can like a particular system or dislike it. He may also like a particular law or not, but his professional duty is to interpret and apply that particular piece of law in accordance with legal principles and evidence.” The Chief Executive recalled that in 2021, Lord Sumption refused to take part in a political boycott orchestrated in the UK and he said then that people should not confuse the rule of law with democracy. Lord Sumption also said there was no democracy during British rule in Hong Kong, but the rule of law was maintained at that time by judges deciding on cases according to the law and evidence. Mr Lee pointed out: “Lord Sumption’s latest statement indicates that he does not like the political situation in Hong Kong, but this is exactly the area he has told us in 2021 that should not be confused with the rule of law. His recent statement looks to me to be contradictory to his previous stance in this regard.” The Chief Executive stated that the Government has never, and will not allow anyone to interfere with the prosecutions of the Department of Justice and trials by the court. “The court has always exercised its independent judicial power without any interference. This is how it was in the past, how it is at present, and how it will be in future. The rule of law in Hong Kong is strong and will not change.” As for those UK officials and politicians who try to weaponise the UK’s judicial influence to target China and the Hong Kong SAR, Mr Lee stressed: “We should not allow it to happen. We shall protect judges, all round, from these undue interferences.”
11/06/2024
Deputy Secretary for Justice Cheung Kwok-kwan will depart for Beijing tomorrow for a three-day visit. Mr Cheung will call on the Legislative Affairs Commission of the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress (NPCSC) and the Committee for the Basic Law of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region of the NPCSC, the Supreme People's Court, the Hong Kong & Macao Affairs Office of the State Council, the Ministry of Justice and the General Administration of Sport of China. They will discuss issues including promoting Hong Kong as a centre for international legal and dispute resolution services in the Asia-Pacific region, taking forward the construction of rule of law in the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area and contributing to the country's high-quality development. Mr Cheung will also visit the Commercial Legal Service Center of the China Council for the Promotion of International Trade and Peking University Law School to strengthen co-operation with them.
11/06/2024
Delegations of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region and the Shenzhen Municipal Government today held a task force meeting on the collaboration for the planning and development of Hong Kong-Shenzhen control points. The meeting was held at the Shenzhen Office of Port of Entry & Exit this afternoon to continue taking forward the relevant work in the planning and development of boundary control points (BCPs). Leading the Hong Kong SAR delegation, Secretary for Security Tang Ping-keung said Hong Kong and Shenzhen have been maintaining close exchanges in actively taking forward relevant projects of BCPs since the last task force meeting held at the Hong Kong SAR Central Government Offices. Mr Tang thanked Shenzhen for its meticulous arrangements for the team to visit the redevelopment site at the Huanggang BCP to learn about the latest progress. The two delegations discussed the development of land BCPs, including reporting on progress and exchanging views on the redevelopment projects of BCPs in Huanggang and Sha Tau Kok. Concluding the meeting, Mr Tang expressed hope that the BCPs of Hong Kong and Shenzhen could continue their close co-operation to facilitate the flow of people and integration of the two sides, and that Hong Kong and Shenzhen could work together to explore more development opportunities. Other Hong Kong SAR Government officials attending the meeting were representatives from the Transport & Logistics Bureau, the Northern Metropolis Co-ordination Office, Customs, the Immigration Department, the Architectural Services Department, the Planning Department and the Transport Department.
10/06/2024
Secretary for Security Tang Ping-keung today led 31 members of the Security Bureau Youth Uniformed Group Leaders Forum and students of Shenzhen University to visit Zhuhai to learn about the innovative technology used in Mainland construction works. This concluded a three-day visit by the leaders forum to the Greater Bay Area (GBA) to study various aspects, including the rural revitalisation of the country and the ecology of the main source of Hong Kong's water supply. Mr Tang and members of the leaders forum visited the production base of China State Construction International Holdings (CSCI) in Zhuhai to learn about the advanced, innovative and green technology adopted in the construction of glass curtain walls for large-scale projects, the Modular Integrated Construction method and Multi-trade Integrated Mechanical, Electrical & Plumbing modules, as well as their application in Hong Kong. The security chief thanked CSCI for its support to the leaders forum and arranging the tour, which let youth members experience the country's development direction of new quality productive forces through understanding high-end construction technology. The group also selected a member of the leaders forum to participate in its summer internship programme this year. During the past two days, members of the leaders forum, led by Under Secretary for Security Michael Cheuk, visited a primary school in Liyuan, Heyuan, to explore the local relief work through education to help understand the country's achievements in targeting and eliminating poverty. Apart from touring the ancient village of Linzhai, they also worked with the leaders forum's partner, students of Shenzhen University, to lead local primary school students to participate in activities planned by them. They later visited a scenic location of Wanlv Lake, one of the water supply sources to Hong Kong, to understand the strict water-quality protective measures and the rigorous water-quality testing system implemented by the city to provide Dongjiang water.
08/06/2024
The Department of Justice (DoJ) today launched the Chinese version of the “Annotations of the Hong Kong National Security Law & Sedition Offences in the Crimes Ordinance”. The annotations collate and summarise judgments concerning the National Security Law as well as sections 9 and 10 of the Crimes Ordinance. The English edition was published in December last year. Both versions have been uploaded to the new dedicated website for public access. Secretary for Justice Paul Lam said all institutions, organisations and individuals in the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region have an obligation to abide by the National Security Law and local laws for safeguarding national security. “This body of case-law helps us understand the requirements of our national security laws and how they are being applied by the courts,” he added. He thanked Prof Albert Chen for his admirable guidance and contributions, serving as the project’s Honorary Consultant Editor. In addition, the DoJ announced the launch today of a compendium to the “Articles & Reference Materials on the Law of the People’s Republic of China on Safeguarding National Security in the Hong Kong SAR” published in 2021. In “Compendium 2024”, the DoJ and the Security Bureau have compiled more than 10 speeches and articles regarding the National Security Law or the Safeguarding National Security Ordinance published by officials of the central authorities and the Hong Kong SAR, experts and scholars between 2022 and April 2024. It also contains important documents concerning the “Interpretation by the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress of Article 14 and Article 47 of the ‘Law of the People’s Republic of China on Safeguarding National Security in the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region’”. Click here for the link to “Compendium 2024” (Chinese only).
08/06/2024
The Department of Justice (DoJ) today held the National Security Legal Forum, inviting a number of senior government officials, internationally renowned legal experts and academics to share their insights on national security issues. Such issues included the implementation and development of jurisprudence of the National Security Law (NSL) as well as the "dual legislation and dual enforcement mechanism" institutional safeguard constituted along with the Safeguarding National Security Ordinance (SNSO). In addition, panel discussions among representatives from the financial and business sectors, and the interactive session between the Secretary for Justice and young people were held to enable members from different sectors to have a better understanding of national security. The objective of holding such activities is to help dispel misconceptions on the laws on safeguarding national security in Hong Kong and encourage the public to be more proactive and conscious in safeguarding national security. With the theme of “Looking Back and Ahead, New Dawn for Development”, the event attracted about 1,000 guests and participants attending. The forum invited two officials from the central authorities to deliver keynote speeches, including CCP Central Committee Hong Kong & Macao Work Office Deputy Director and State Council Hong Kong & Macao Affairs Office Deputy Director Nong Rong, and National People’s Congress Standing Committee (NPCSC) Hong Kong Special Administrative Region Basic Law Committee Vice Chairperson and NPCSC Legislative Affairs Commission Deputy Director Zhang Yong. Chief Executive John Lee delivered opening remarks at forum. Also delivering opening remarks were Director of the Central People's Government (CPG) Liaison Office in the Hong Kong SAR Zheng Yanxiong, Head of the CPG Office for Safeguarding National Security in the Hong Kong SAR Dong Jingwei, Commissioner of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in the Hong Kong SAR Cui Jianchun, and Secretary for Justice Paul Lam. While addressing those gathered at the forum, Mr Lee said that safeguarding national security is the Government’s responsibility as well as the obligation of the whole community of Hong Kong. He pointed out that Hong Kong had finally completed the local legislation of Article 23 of the Basic Law in March this year, marking an important milestone in the city’s new journey from stability to prosperity. The NSL and the SNSO will be compatible and complementary, giving full play to the institutional advantages of “dual legislation and dual enforcement mechanism”, ensuring that Hong Kong can focus on creating a more prosperous and better home without worries, Mr Lee added. Mr Lam stressed that it is of crucial importance to build and reinforce the confidence of all sectors in the laws on safeguarding national security in Hong Kong, which was enacted and implemented strictly in accordance with the rule of law principle, and will have positive interaction with Hong Kong’s future development. The DoJ will, in collaboration with relevant bureaus and departments, continue to promote and enhance education on the laws on safeguarding national security and other topics related to Hong Kong’s legal system and the rule of law through various means, so as to strengthen the trust of the public, and enhance their willingness to respect and obey the law as a matter of course, Mr Lam added. There were four panel sessions during the forum. In the first one, legal experts and academics reviewed the practical experience, development of jurisprudence and theoretical achievements of the NSL in light of previous case laws. The second session illustrated how the SNSO, following its implementation, works in tandem with the NSL to fully leverage on the strengths of the “dual legislation and dual enforcement mechanism”, so as to effectively respond to national security risks. In the third session, representatives from the financial and business sectors shared their views on how the Hong Kong SAR’s legal infrastructure for safeguarding national security creates a more stable environment for different sectors, and creates favourable conditions for the high-quality development of the Hong Kong SAR. In the final session “Chat with SJ”, Mr Lam discussed with the audience and student representatives how national security is relevant to daily life, and the important role of youth in safeguarding national security.

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