Hong Kong: Resigning UK Judge Says City's Rule of Law 'Compromised'

Hong Kong: Resigning UK Judge Says City's Rule of Law 'Compromised'
Above: Chan Po Ting, an activist and leader of the League of Social Democrats, is detained by police officers at Causeway Bay near Victoria Park on June 04, 2023 in Hong Kong, China. Image copyright: Anthony Kwan/Stringer/Getty Images News via Getty Images

The Facts

  • Jonathan Sumption, one of two British judges who resigned from Hong Kong's Court of Final Appeal last week, has warned that the city "is slowly becoming a totalitarian state."

  • In an opinion piece published in the Financial Times on Monday, the non-permanent overseas judge alleged that the rule of law in Hong Kong has been "profoundly compromised in any area about which the government feels strongly."

The Spin

Pro-China narrative

Sumption's claims that Hong Kong is becoming a totalitarian city or that the rule of law is decimated are baseless, politically motivated, and a betrayal of Hong Kong's judges. The city's Basic Law mandates that prosecution and judiciary work independently without any interference. The top court is determined to uphold the rule of law — especially the national security law, which is crucial to maintaining order in Hong Kong.

Anti-China narrative

These resignations challenge the PRC's narrative that the presence of foreign justices helps sustain Hong Kong's rule of law. After it's clear that the city's national security law is being used to crack down on political dissent, the remaining judges must desist from operating in an oppressive environment — and giving China a false sense of legitimacy. They must resign to maintain the integrity of the legal profession and the independence of the courts.

Metaculus Prediction

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