July 01, 2020

ABA President Judy Perry Martinez statement Re: New national security law in Hong Kong

WASHINGTON, July 1, 2020 – The American Bar Association is deeply concerned by the unilateral introduction by the People’s Republic of China of national security legislation in the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) and reports of the first arrests made under the new law.

The ABA considers this legislation a violation of the independence of Hong Kong’s legislature as guaranteed by the Joint Declaration agreement signed by China when the United Kingdom returned the region to China and also the Basic Law agreement between Hong Kong and China that introduced the “One Country, Two Systems” principle.

The ABA also is troubled that this law circumvents the legislature’s competency and authority to enact laws, including laws related to national security. The legislation undermines the power and authority of the HKSAR to administer Hong Kong as stipulated in the Basic Law without interference by any department of the Central People’s Government. Moreover, the legislation impinges upon the independence of the HKSAR judiciary and the power of final adjudication vested in the Court of Final Appeal of the Region.

The ABA will continue to monitor the situation in the HKSAR. We urge the People’s Republic of China to comply with its obligations under domestic and international law related to the HKSAR, including its obligations under the Joint Declaration, and reaffirm its commitment to the rule of law, judicial independence, and the protection and respect for human rights in the HKSAR.

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