Beijing Interprets Basic Law

Hong Kong Basic Law, which is based upon Britain’s common law system, enables judicial interpretation, wherein judges are the sole bearers of the right to interpret the law. This key distinction makes Basic Law vastly and diametrically different from the legal system modeled after civil law tradition in Mainland China.

As the LegCo Fiasco continues to unfold, the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress, China’s de facto legislative body, will interpret Article 104 of Hong Kong Basic Law, which states that lawmakers must swear allegiance to Hong Kong as an inalienable part of the People’s Republic of China. This interpretation could set a dangerous precedent for Hong Kong: if Beijing begins to interfere in internal affairs and set in motion the disqualification of politicians that hold views in opposition to the Chinese government, the already precarious state of political freedom and autonomy in Hong Kong would be in grave danger of submitting to total Mainland influence.

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