Critical Thinking Paper Sample: Judicial Independence in Hong Kong

There are many public protests in Hong Kong against the governance of Tung Chee-hwa who is the executive, as his policies and administration are against the expectations of Hong-Kong public, they want proper and limited exercise of power by the executive so that establishment of capable, proficient and transparent government can be ensured, but Tung Chee-Hwa’s administration is constantly under the influence of Chinese government.

Moreover, many articles of a basic law that is the law of Hong Kong restrict and undermine judicial independence as it says that the power of clarification of the law and explanations rests with the Chinese government. The level of trust of the public of Hong Kong and bureaucracy in executive governance and judiciary is decreasing.

Most of the power of governance rests with the executive according to the basic law. This undermines the concept of separation of power that says that executive, legislative, and judiciary are branches of government with separate powers that are independent and interdependent at the same time. This division ensures horizontal distribution of power. All most all democratic government systems all over the world are following this division in power so that corruption by governments and government officials that is a growing issue can be controlled. Aim of balanced power distribution can be achieved and maintained through this separation of power. Such a distribution prevents the government from becoming authoritarian.

The legislative council of Hong Kong has very limited powers. Hong Kong Executive is involved in corruption and nepotism. Law gives more power to the executive and makes him less accountable because there is an imbalance of power between three branches of government. Such a legal system has put in danger the autonomy and independence of the judiciary and is also a threat to the economic growth of Hong Kong. This law not only creates an imbalance of power between different branches, overall the legal system of Hong Kong undermines the power of all different branches of the government. National people congress that is the Chinese parliament has the ability to appoint a head of the Hong Kong government (Hawkins).

Moreover, as stated above that the law of Hong Kong gives authority of interpretation of the law to the Chinese government instead of the highest court, though almost everywhere in democratic systems, this ability rests with the highest court. National people council can make intrusions and interference in the decisions made by the highest court. Hong Kong legislative council cannot make changes in the law. Only the National People council has the authority to make changes in the law, so this way, the power of the legislative body of Hong Kong is restricted through the basic law.

China also wanted to control the judges of the highest court of Hong Kong so that it can exercise control on the Hong Kong Court of Final Appeal, Court of Final Appeal has decided many prominent cases according to the likeness and wishes of Chinese government that raised concerns in Hong Kong and internationally about the legal system of Hong Kong, that whether such a legal system would be able to defend and safeguard the rule of law and protect the basic rights of the inhabitants of Hong Kong. So maintenance of autonomy and provision of rights of the citizens are the challenges that the Judiciary is facing in Hong Kong. Courts in Hong Kong are not ready to indulge in inquiry about politically significant cases, so along with the executive dummy government and a paralyzed legislative, the highest court of Hong Kong is also following the wishes of the Chinese government and is working to sooth and mollify the Chinese government.

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