CityU organizes HKSAR Basic Law International Conference

Joanne Wong

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To commemorate the 10th anniversary of the establishment of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR), City University of Hong Kong’s School of Law is co-organizing, with the Hong Kong SAR Basic Law Education Association, “Hong Kong’s Basic Law: The First Ten Years and Its Future - Hong Kong SAR Basic Law Tenth Anniversary International Conference”. It takes place on 22 and 23 June at CityU.

Over 40 prominent local, regional and international experts are sharing their views with some 100 participants on how the

Basic Law has been implemented in Hong Kong in the first 10 years after the handover, examining areas such as constitutional theory, the relationship between central and local authorities, nationality, protection of civil liberties, as well as issues concerning conflict of laws and international law. Future challenges, and identifying how such challenges can be dealt with, are also on the agenda.

Professor Richard Ho Yan-ki, Acting President of CityU, who officiated at the opening ceremony, has extended a very warm welcome to all guests,

speakers and participants, referring to the

conference as an “impressive gathering”.

Hong Kong is a city unique in the long history of China, being free, open, prosperous and westernized, according to Professor Ho, yet it is deeply rooted in Chinese culture, but with a common law tradition, and now the Basic Law.

“Like Hong Kong, CityU is unique in its own way. It is the only university in Hong Kong to provide specialized training in Chinese law. We maintain

robust collaborations with mainland legal experts, which I see as vitally important for this University as China grows in significance throughout the world,” Professor Ho said.

Mr Stephen Lam Sui-lung, Secretary for Constitutional Affairs in the HKSAR Government, and one of the officiating guests, discussed the “one country, two systems” concept in his speech at the opening ceremony. Despite earlier concerns, this concept had proved itself viable since 1997, he said.

Ms Elsie Leung Oi-sie, Vice-Director of the Hong Kong Basic Law Committee, gave a speech commending the Basic Law as a workable solution for addressing historical issues, ensuring a stable transition and providing room for subsequent development. She recognized that the concept of “one country, two systems” had been a success, but she said there was a need to understand the Basic Law better, as controversies still existed. The conference offered such an opportunity, she said.

Dr Priscilla Leung Mei-fun, Associate Dean of CityU’s School of Law, and Chairman of the Hong Kong SAR Basic Law Education Association, said there had been numerous issues and controversies over the Basic Law since its introduction. “Although the Basic Law is not a constitution in itself, it is highly political in nature. It is the foundation of our laws and it is worthwhile giving it an interim examination after its first 10 years,” said Dr Leung, who was also the Co-chairman of the Conference’s Organizing Committee.

At the end of the ceremony, Professor (Chair) Peter Malanczuk, Dean of the School of Law, presented a special issue of the Asia Pacific Law Review, dedicated to the conference, to the officiating guests of the event. The Asia Pacific Law Review, which contains peer-reviewed articles and commentaries on legal developments in the Asia Pacific region, is jointly published by the School of Law and LexisNexis twice per year . The special issue contains a number of papers presented at the conference.

Other guests of honour officiating at the opening ceremony included Mr Xie Xiaoyan, Deputy Commissioner of the Commissioner’s Office of China’s Foreign Ministry in the HKSAR; Mrs Rita Fan Hsu Lai-tai, Chairman of the Board of Trustee of the Association for Celebration of Reunification of Hong Kong with China Charitable Trust; Professor Pan Yonghua, Director-General of the Education, Science and Technology Department of the Liaison Office of the Central People’s Government in the HKSAR; and Mr Dao Shulin, Vice-Director of the Institute of Hong Kong and Macao Affairs, Development Research Centre of the State Council.

Distinguished speakers at the two-day conference include Professor Lau Siu-kai, Head of the Central Policy Unit of the HKSAR Government; Dr Henry Hu, President of Shue Yan University; Sir David Akers-Jones, President of the Business and Professionals Federation of Hong Kong; and Mr Justice Kemal Bokhary, Permanent Judge of the Court of Final Appeal of HKSAR.

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