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UK Judges Withdraw From Hong Kong Court of Appeal Over China´s National Security Law

© AFP 2023 / PHILIPPE LOPEZ Hong Kong flag (centre-R) fluttering next to the Chinese national flag (centre-L) outside the stock exchange building in Hong Kong
 Hong Kong flag (centre-R) fluttering next to the Chinese national flag (centre-L) outside the stock exchange building in Hong Kong - Sputnik International, 1920, 30.03.2022
LONDON (Sputnik) – Two senior UK judges on Wednesday resigned from their roles as non-permanent judges on Hong Kong’s Court of Final Appeal, arguing that their position has become "increasingly finely balanced" since the Chinese central government introduced the national security law in the former British colony in 2020.
"I have concluded, in agreement with the government, that the judges of the Supreme Court cannot continue to sit in Hong Kong without appearing to endorse an administration which has departed from values of political freedom, and freedom of expression, to which the Justices of the Supreme Court are deeply committed," judge Robert Reed, who also heads UK's top judicial body, said in a statement.
Meanwhile, UK foreign minister Liz Truss said that she welcomed and "wholeheartedly" supported their decision, claiming that the situation has reached a "tipping point" where it is no longer tenable for UK judges to sit on Hong Kong’s leading court.
"We have seen a systematic erosion of liberty and democracy in Hong Kong. Since the National Security Law was imposed, authorities have cracked down on free speech, the free press and free association," she said.
Until 1997, when the UK transferred Hong Kong to China, Hong Kong's final appeal court was the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council in London, whose judges were the members of the Appellate Committee of the House of Lords.
Following the handover, it was agreed that the UK would provide two serving judges to sit on the newly-created Hong Kong Court of Final Appeal, which also includes retired judges from the UK and from other common law jurisdictions, including Australia and Canada.
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