Published: 23:47, October 5, 2020 | Updated: 15:25, June 5, 2023
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Judge appointment manifests HK judicial independence
By Staff Writer

To the great disappointment of China-bashers here in Hong Kong and around the world, the UK Supreme Court’s deputy president, Lord Patrick Stewart Hodge, has accepted his appointment as a non-permanent judge of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region’s Court of Final Appeal.

Since the promulgation of the National Security Law in Hong Kong on June 30, China-bashers have been running an unremitting campaign with the unrealistic objective of undoing the legislation. One of their tactics is to damage Hong Kong’s reputation for judicial independence. 

The presence of 14 overseas judges of high stature on the Court of Final Appeal has been widely seen as a manifestation of the judicial independence of the special administrative region. They have logically become a target in the Beijing-bashers’ attempt to discredit Hong Kong’s judiciary. Thus, what the world has been witnessing is a concerted campaign by the Beijing-bashers to drive as many non-permanent judges from overseas jurisdictions out of Hong Kong’s Court of Final Appeal as possible. 

For example, anti-China politicians in Canada have ramped up pressure on Madam Justice Beverley McLachlin, who served with great distinction as the chief justice of Canada from 2000-17, to quit the Court of Final Appeal. They claimed her presence on the Court of Final Appeal “lent it a legitimacy it did not deserve”. 

To the disappointment of those Beijing-bashers, McLachlin, who has probably faced the greatest pressure among the overseas judges, has rebutted the groundless allegations against the Court of Final Appeal with her action — staying on as a non-permanent judge despite the political mach-inations against her role in the court. 

Justice Hodge’s acceptance of his appointment has dealt another blow to the China-bashers, who have wanted to “send a strong message about how Beijing has compromised the rule of law in Hong Kong”. 

Blinded by ideological bias, these anti-China politicians cannot see the plain fact that without national security, there is no rule of law to talk about. Like any other sovereign country in the world, China has the legitimate right to safeguard its national security by enacting necessary laws. And Hong Kong’s status as a special administrative region of China does not spare the region from the constitutional obligation of safeguarding national security.