Hong Kong justice chief quits International Bar Association

Published (HKT): 2021.01.26 14:52

Hong Kong’s Secretary for Justice Teresa Cheng was found withdrawing as a member of the International Bar Association, a government document showed.

According to the annual declaration of registrable interests of members of the executive council, Cheng’s member status for the International Bar Association was deleted on Jan. 11 this year, under the justice’s chief instruction.

The withdrawal came after the international legal profession organization issued a number of statements, raising concerns about Beijing’s national security law for the city and the mass arrests of pro-democracy activists by the Hong Kong authorities.

The Department of Justice did not immediately respond to Apple Daily’s queries for the reason of withdrawal.

The association criticized the national security law as incompatible with the rule of law and fundamental human rights and inconsistent with the Basic Law. They urged the new law not to be adopted without consultation with Hong Kong people.

The association also issued a statement in recent days, condemning the use of the national security law to arrest over 50 pro-democracy activists in early January and questioning the legal premise of the accusations leveled against the detainees.

The association has also spoken up about a number of Hong Kong issues, including the case of 12 Hong Kong people detained in Shenzhen and the deregistration of mainland Chinese lawyers who have assisted their families.

It was understood that the recent statements were released after Cheng’s withdrawal from the profession body.

In an earlier written interview with Apple Daily, Mark Ellis, executive director of the International Bar Association, said the national security legislation “represents an accelerated and pernicious expansion of Beijing’s influence over the territory and dilution of individual rights.”

It has put the “one country, two systems” paradigm in “a precarious state,” said Ellis, who also worried the attack on the rule of law in Hong Kong would threaten the city’s position as a major global investment and financial center.

He suggested the international community should collectively consider counter measures against the Chinese government.

On a separate note, Chief Executive Carrie Law has struck her honorary professor title given by the Division of the Architectural Conservation Programmes of the University of Hong Kong’s architecture faculty off the record on Monday.

Apple Daily has sought comment from the chief executive’s office regarding the issue.

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