Beijing’s top official in Hong Kong is set to officiate at the opening of the territory’s new Court of Final Appeal building, less than two weeks after controversially remarking that the SAR’s leader is above legislative, executive and judicial powers.

Zhang Xiaoming and interior of new Court of Final Appeal
Zhang Xiaoming and interior of new Court of Final Appeal. Photo: HKFP.

In remarks that he admitted would be controversial, the head of the central government’s liaison office Zhang Xiaoming said that the chief executive has a “special legal position which overrides administrative, legislative and judicial organs,” and that the separation of powers “is not suitable for Hong Kong.”

The Chief Justice of the People’s Republic of China and the President of the Supreme People’s Court, Chief Justice Zhou Qiang will also attend the ceremonial opening alongside Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying, Chief Secretary Carrie Lam, Secretary for Justice Rimsky Yuen and Legislative Council president Jasper Tsang.

Chief Justice of the Court of Final Appeal Geoffrey Ma Tao-li, who reassured the public following Zhang’s remarks that the CE is not above the law, will deliver a speech to mark the occasion.

Court of Final Appeal
The CFA’s new home in the former Legislative Council building. Photo: Wikicommons.

The ceremony, scheduled to begin at 4:00pm on Friday, will mark the CFA’s official move to its new location in the former Legislative Council Building on 8 Jackson Road, Central.

Ryan Ho Kilpatrick is an award-winning journalist and scholar from Hong Kong who has reported on the city’s politics, protests, and policing for The Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, TIME, The Guardian, The Independent, and others