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Albert Chen - From British colony to China's autonomous metropolis

From British colony to China's autonomous metropolis: Political change and legal controversies in Hong Kong 1984-2016

Hong Kong, a British colony established on the southern coast of China in the 19th century, achieved economic success as one of the “Four Little Dragons” of East Asia (South Korea, Taiwan, Hong Kong and Singapore) after World War II. In 1984, Britain signed a treaty with China providing for Hong Kong’s handover to China in 1997. Since 1997, Hong Kong has been a “Special Administrative Region” of China enjoying autonomous self-rule, with human rights and civil liberties guaranteed by a Basic Law enforced by a British-style judicial system. The process of democratization which was initiated by the colonial government in the 1980s continued to unfold after 1997. Yet the path of “One Country, Two Systems” after 1997 was not smooth and easy, with periodic eruptions of conflicts between the “Two Systems” such as the demonstration of half a million Hong Kong residents against a proposed national security law in 2003, and the “Umbrella Movement” of 2014 during which key business and governmental districts in Hong Kong were occupied by thousands of pro-democracy demonstrators for more than two months. Recent months saw another constitutional controversy triggered by the election into Hong Kong’s legislature of a few advocates of Hong Kong’s secession from China.
This talk will provide a historical review of Hong Kong’s political transformation in the last three decades, and assess the practice of and prospects for “One Country, Two Systems” in the light of recent political developments in China and East Asia.

Albert H.Y. CHEN was born in and grew up in Hong Kong, and received his undergraduate and postgraduate education at the University of Hong Kong and Harvard University respectively. He began his academic career in 1984 at the University of Hong Kong. He served as Head of the Department of Law in 1993-96, and Dean of the Faculty of Law in 1996-2002. He is currently the Cheng Chan Lan Yue Professor of Constitutional Law, University of Hong Kong.

Date: Friday, December 9, 2016

Time: 15:30

Location: SIN 1, at the Department for East Asian Studies/Chinese Studies,
Altes AKH, Campus, Spitalgasse 2, yard 2, entrance 2.3

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