CrimProf Blog

Editor: Kevin Cole
Univ. of San Diego School of Law

Thursday, September 9, 2021

Hargreaves on Hong Kong's National Security Law

Stuart Hargreaves (The Chinese University of Hong Kong (CUHK) - Faculty of Law) has posted Past as Prologue: Intercept and Surveillance Rules Under Hong Kong's National Security Law ((2021) 20 Santa Clara Journal of International Law) on SSRN. Here is the abstract:
In response to civil unrest in 2019, in 2020 Beijing directly applied a new National Security Law to Hong Kong. Part of this law established a new system of rules for the authorisation of communications intercepts and covert surveillance in the context of certain national security offences. Interestingly, this new scheme looks in many ways like a prior system that was deemed unconstitutional by a Hong Kong court in 2006: it centralises authorization authority in the executive branch and there is little external oversight of the process. The paper argues that the new system of rules regarding covert surveillance of national security suspects and the interception of their communications is more than just a mechanism to ease the detection of national security threats, however. It is a symbolic reaffirmation that notwithstanding the guarantee of judicial independence under the Basic Law, that independence will never extend to checking state interests. It is a clear example of the Central Authorities’ intent to exercise ‘comprehensive jurisdiction’ over Hong Kong through the office of the Chief Executive, who it has recently described as holding a ‘transcendent’ position over the three branches of the local government.

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