Hong Kong: How Beijing Perfected Repression

Issue Date January 2022
Volume 33
Issue 1
Page Numbers 100–15
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China’s move to impose on Hong Kong a new National Security Law (NSL) in 2020 and accompanying “electoral reforms” in 2021 represent a complete hollowing out and abandonment of the city’s liberal-democratic constitutional model that Beijing had promised to protect. These policies turned Hong Kong’s vaunted legal system into the chief instrument of repression, challenging the independence of the city’s courts, law enforcement, and legislative process. This article traces the massive arrests made under the NSL and other challenges posed to basic freedoms across all sectors of the city’s society. Does this hollowing out of constitutional guarantees represent the oft-discussed Chinese alternative to Western liberal democracy?

About the Author

Michael C. Davis was professor of law at the University of Hong Kong until 2016. He is currently a Global Fellow at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, Senior Research Associate at the Weatherhead East Asia Institute of Columbia University, and professor of law and international affairs at Jindal Global University. He is the author of Making Hong Kong China: The Rollback of Human Rights and the Rule of Law (2020).

View all work by Michael C. Davis