The Hong Kong National Security Law: The Shifted Grundnorm of Hong Kong’s Legal Order and Its Implications

The enactment of the 2020 Hong Kong National Security Law (NSL) embodies Beijing’s efforts to complete the Grundnorm shift in HK’s legal order, which has exerted sweeping influences over HK’s common law system. The theoretical advancement underlying the legislation extends the PRC Constitution’s validity to HK and explains away the legal autonomy guaranteed by the HK Basic Law (BL). National norms & central institutions are channelled into the city, with significant Chinese law implications for HK’s rule of law. The NSL’s enactment is to some extent an undeclared constitutional reform in HK that establishes a PRC Constitution-based legal order in lieu of one based on the BL. The PRC Constitution becomes the supreme and separate legal source of law in HK and has reshaped major aspects of the region’s law. The NSL deepens the conflict between the two legal systems, highlighting the inherent tension of maintaining the unity of a heterogeneous legal order under “one country, two systems.”