Critical commentary and analysis on Hong Kong, China and Taiwan affairs from HKFP’s community of columnists, experts and advocates.

How sending children to jail slipped on to the Hong Kong legal agenda

Hello, what is this? Headline in the Hong Kong Standard: “Age of young offenders not most critical factor, magistrates told”. The ensuing story relates that magistrates were told at a workshop that “providing an opportunity to rehabilitate does not mean that a defendant’s age can override other sentencing principles,” and so on for several paragraphs, […]

Does Hong Kong’s senior counsel plan signal a troubled Justice Department?

The Secretary for Justice proposes that lawyers in her department should be able to become senior counsel, even if they are not junior counsel – the change of title to last only as long as they remain in the department’s employ. Cue disturbed noises from lawyers. What is going on here? To understand what appears […]

Don’t judge Hong Kong judges – at least not all the time

We are urged by the Chief Justice not to level personal attacks on judges who make decisions we disagree with, a request with which I have no quarrel. His Lordship also points out, correctly, that many complaints about judges come from people who disagree with the result in a particular case. Well sometimes the results […]

Damp squib, not a smoking gun: how Hong Kong conspiracy theorists distorted a research project

Some time back in around 2015, five researchers from, respectively, Harvard, the London School of Economics, the University of New South Wales (disclosure: my alma mater), the University of Chicago and Ludwig Maximilians University in Munich got together. They were interested in the dynamics of political protest movements and directed their attention to Hong Kong. […]

June 12 two years on: Why Hongkongers’ collective memory and spirit of resistance endures

For many Hongkongers and people watching around the world, June 12, 2019 marked the beginning of the city’s bitter resistance against authoritarianism – first against the extradition bill that would have eroded political and judicial freedoms and later against rampant police brutality, and a regime that resorts to violence and cannot be held accountable. On […]

Hong Kong’s new loyalty oath is the final nail in democracy’s coffin

Veteran democrat Emily Lau brought their current dilemma into public view recently when she cautioned all her pro-democracy colleagues to “think twice” about contesting the next Legislative Council election. It was to have been held in September last year but was postponed, ostensibly due to the coronavirus pandemic, and has now been rescheduled for this […]

Why an empty Victoria Park in Hong Kong on June 4 could be an even more potent symbol of patriotism

Authoritarian governments have always had a problem with remembering the dead. They are determined to keep control over history’s narrative and the deceased have a habit of disrupting their version of events. Thus the annual June 4 commemoration of the 1989 Tiananmen massacre is a problem for the Chinese Communist Party. This year, as last, […]

1989 Tiananmen Massacre: Keeping the flame alive in Hong Kong

By Hana Meihan Davis June 4th marks the 32nd anniversary of the 1989 Tiananmen Massacre — a deadly government crackdown on the otherwise peaceful pro-democracy demonstrators in the Chinese capital and across the nation. But this year, for the second time in Hong Kong’s history, the annual candlelight vigil is banned. Amid ongoing political repression, […]


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