Speaking at a webinar entitled ‘What future for democracy and the rule of law in Hong Kong?’, organised by the All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on Hong Kong and Stand with Hong Kong, Philip Dykes QC, Hong Kong barrister and current Chairman of the Council of the Hong Kong Bar Association said:
“The very modest developments towards democracy have been completely reversed.”
“Barristers between the ages of 25 to 35, many are making plans to leave Hong Kong and re-qualify elsewhere […] I’ve heard of other professionals – doctors, dentists, accountants – making plans to leave.
Hong Kong’s legal system changed drastically with Beijing’s imposition of draconian National Security Laws in June 2020. The new legislation prohibits a range of “offences” such as sedition and collusion with foreign powers. The rules are extremely far-reaching and could, hypothetically, be applied to any individual, anywhere in the world, for any act which the authorities perceive as attacking or undermining the Hong Kong government or Chinese Communist Party.
Speaking about the National Security Laws, Mr Dykes said, “[They are] being enforced with vigor, particularly amongst younger people and students, we’ve had two arrests just this week.
“It’s down to the outpouring of intense dissatisfaction with the Hong Kong government, which has spilled over into mass demonstrations. The feeling among the Hong Kong establishment is that the protests were funded by foreign powers, but the fact is that foreign enterprises do not fund 1 million people to go on a march.”
Lord Patten, the 28th and last Governor of Hong Kong from 1992 to 1997, commended the Hong Kong Bar Association’s actions during the 18 months of unrest, calling it, “An exemplary example of a profession living up to its highest standards.”
Baroness Bennett, co-chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on Hong Kong, hosted the event on 11th December.
Please find the recording here: What future for democracy and the rule of law in Hong Kong?