Fundamental Rights and the Basic Laws of the Hong Kong and Macau Special Administrative Regions
The Constitution of the People's Republic of China (“Chinese constitution”), the Basic Law of the Macau SAR (“MBL”), and the Basic Law of the Hong Kong SAR (“HKBL”) all share the same characteristic of providing for fundamental rights and duties of citizens or residents, as the case may be, within a single chapter. The similarities in the provisions in the three chapters are such that they might excite one to ponder the possible synergistic relationships between the three instruments. But the distinctiveness of the legal systems in the three jurisdictions renders such relationships non-existent. Thus it is not too alarming that no Hong Kong judgment has yet to rely upon the MBL in construing the provisions of the HKBL.
While at present, the system of fundamental rights protection in Hong Kong, Macau and the Mainland operate quite independently from each other, there is still value in comparing the rights provisions in each of their constitutional instruments. For Hong Kong and Macau are like siblings; while each is different, they are reflections of each other, and the study of one necessarily results in a greater understanding of the other.
KeywordsChief Executive Judicial Review Joint Declaration Chinese Constitution Final Appeal
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