Jimmy Lai, the Hong Kong pro-democracy activist and media tycoon, has been indicted on four national security charges and was scheduled to stand trial on Thursday. (The government has asked the court to postpone the trial in light of the development discussed below.) He is being accused of violating Hong Kong’s seditious publications law and of conspiring to “collude with a foreign country or external elements to endanger national security” under the Law on Safeguarding National Security in the Hong Kong SAR (NSL) [香港特别行政区维护国家安全法].
Recently, Lai retained Timothy Owen, an experienced British barrister, to lead his defense team. Owen, as one Hong Kong court recognized, is a “renowned specialist in criminal, public and human rights law, with substantial experience in cases concerning national security and freedom of speech.” He has appeared before Hong Kong courts in the past but is not admitted to the Hong Kong bar. Over the Hong Kong government’s objection, the Court of First Instance allowed Owen to represent Lai on an ad hoc basis. After having suffered a streak of losses on appeal, the government on Monday decided to seek help from the NPC Standing Committee (NPCSC), which has the ultimate authority to interpret the NSL. Below, we will discuss the legal battle fought in Hong Kong courts, the government’s request for NPCSC intervention, and what to expect next.
Continue reading “Explainer: Hong Kong Government’s Request for NPCSC Interpretation of National Security Law in Jimmy Lai Case”
The NPC Standing Committee (NPCSC) adopted on Wednesday, November 11 a decision on the qualifications for members of the Hong Kong Legislative Council (LegCo), resulting in the immediate disqualification of four pro-democracy legislators: Alvin Yeung, Kwok Ka-ki, Dennis Kwok, Kenneth Leung. These four incumbents have been banned from running in next year’s elections for the 7th LegCo, but until today have been allowed to stay on after the NPCSC extended the 6th LegCo’s term for a year.
Continue reading “NPCSC Clarifies “Allegiance” Requirements for Hong Kong Legislators, Disqualifies Pro-Democracy Legislators”
The 13th NPC Standing Committee (NPCSC) concluded its twenty-first session on Tuesday, August 11. It adopted five bills, most notably a decision allowing the incumbent Hong Kong Legislative Council (LegCo) to continue serving for at least another year after its original term expires next month. We will focus on this decision below and briefly summarize the other bills.
Continue reading “NPCSC Extends Term of Incumbent Hong Kong Legislature, Authorizes Hong Kong & Macau Lawyers to Practice in Mainland & Approves Two Tax Laws”
UPDATE (July 31, 2020): Today, the Hong Kong Chief Executive officially announced the postponement of the Legislative Council elections to next fall. The central government said in a statement that it would seek a decision by the NPCSC on the one-year vacancy of the Legislative Council after its current term expires on September 30.
We did not wake up today expecting to write this blogpost, yet here we are. On Wednesday, July 29, the Council of Chairpersons decided to convene the 21st session of the 13th NPC Standing Committee (NPCSC)—much to our surprise—from August 8 to 11. For the past three terms, the NPCSC’s regular sessions began only during the last ten days of each month in which it was scheduled to meet (with one exception). And this upcoming session bears all the indications of a regular (August) session: its four-day length, a full batch of bills to review, and the State Council’s mid-year reports on budget implementation and economic development (which are heard in August).
Continue reading “NPCSC (Early) Session Watch: Copyright, NPC Modernization & National Flag/Emblem (Updated)”
The Legislative Affairs Commission [法制工作委员会] of the NPC Standing Committee (NPCSC)—a body that provides essential legislative and research support to China’s national legislature—held its first ever press conference today (August 21). The Commission has designated two spokespersons—the directors of its Research Office [研究室] and Legislative Planning Office [立法规划室]—and indicated that it will hold regular press conferences from now on.
Continue reading “At First Press Conference, NPCSC Legislative Commission Reports on Public Comments, Addresses Same-Sex Marriage & Hong Kong”