British judge quits Hong Kong Supreme Court, citing ‘totalitarianism’

A British judge has revealed the reason behind his decision to resign from Hong Kong’s highest court, the Hong Kong Court of Appeal (CFA).

This came after Jonathan Sumption and fellow British judge Lawrence Collins recently stepped down from their positions, with Sumption saying the reason was an increasingly “paranoid atmosphere” in Hong Kong.

The resignation came just after the recent conviction of 14 pro-democracy activists for conspiracy to commit subversion.

The Hong Kong National Security Law, passed on June 30, 2020, was introduced in response to widespread protests in Hong Kong in 2019. It was passed to address activities deemed to pose a threat to national security.

Sumption reportedly noted that “in my opinion, the real problem in Hong Kong is the paranoid atmosphere there.”

“They say this is a response to the 2019 riots, but there were already laws in place that dealt with them perfectly. The purpose of the national security law is becoming increasingly clear was to suppress peaceful political dissent, not just riots.

In a detailed article for the Financial Times, Lord Sumption expressed his concern about the direction in which Hong Kong is heading.

It is worth noting that the law has met with widespread condemnation from various governments and human rights organizations.

In an interview, Sumption described the law as “extremely illiberal” and argued that it serves primarily to suppress peaceful political dissent rather than to maintain public order.

China’s growing interference

Sumption also noted China’s growing interference in Hong Kong’s court rulings, explaining that under the Basic Law, China can change court rulings through “interpretation,” which often amounts to legislative intervention.

The CFA may invite judges from other common law jurisdictions to its panels to provide diverse perspectives and expertise.

(With the participation of the agency)

Heena Sharma

Heena Sharma is a digital journalist who writes mainly about current geopolitical events. @HeenaSharma0819