The Constitutional Project of “One Country, Two Systems” in Hong Kong

The constitutional arrangement of “One Country, Two Systems” as applied to Hong Kong since 1997 was designed to enable Hong Kong as a Special Administrative region (SAR) of the People’s Republic of China (PRC) to enjoy a high degree of autonomy, to preserve its common law based legal system, the rule of law, judicial independence and the protection of human rights. Given the vast differences between the political and legal systems and cultures of mainland China and the HKSAR, the practice of “One Country, Two Systems” has resulted in increasing conflicts, culminating in the “Occupy Central” movement of 2014. This chapter analyzes the constitutional framework of “One Country, Two Systems” as established by the Basic Law, particularly the respective powers of the central government and the HKSAR government, and relevant political developments in Hong Kong. It also considers the important role played by the Hong Kong courts in sustaining the operation of “One Country, Two Systems”.