THE HJS VIRTUAL EVENT SERIES: “Hong Kong & China:  Lessons For The Free World”

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THE HJS VIRTUAL EVENT SERIES: “Hong Kong & China:  Lessons For The Free World”

5th June 2020 @ 11:00 am - 12:30 pm

Beijing’s plans to impose a ‘national security law’ on Hong Kong’s independent judiciary have provoked an international outcry.  The EU’s top diplomat has said that China’s attempts to strengthen its control of Hong Kong pose a threat to the rules-based international order.  The proposed law conflicts directly with China’s international obligations under the legally-binding Sino-British Joint Declaration, registered with the United Nations.  For mainland agencies to deploy in Hong Kong to safeguard national security also breaches the terms of the Basic Law.

A pattern is emerging. China has signed up to other international commitments- the International Health Regulations of the World Health Organisation and the terms of the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea among them – only to ignore them when they seem to constrain the Chinese Communist Party’s (CCP) freedom to pursue its zero-sum geostrategic agenda.

The harms that result from Beijing’s refusal to respect Hong Kong’s autonomy include potentially enormous economic losses to China itself, as this bridgehead between the free world and China’s managed economy loses its unique autonomy.  Leaving the halcyon vision of global ‘win-win’ presented by Xi Jinping at Davos in 2017 far behind, recent Chinese actions reveal a very different set of goals. Law, as understood by the world’s multilateral and international institutions, has nothing in common with the arbitrary ‘laws’ whereby the CCP justifies and imposes its oppressive domestic rule and overseas revisionist agenda.

Through Beijing’s draconian interventions, Hong Kong  now faces  economic, cultural and psychological ruin. Nobody seems to be the obvious gainer. What does the Hong Kong paradigm reveal about Beijing’s wider intent and risk – gain calculus?  What lessons should the free world derive from this, to help shape policies fit for dealing with the great power that has deliberately caused such a situation?

In order to explore these urgent and crucial issues, HJS is delighted to welcome The Rt Hon Sir Malcolm Rifkind KCMG QC, former Foreign Secretary, and Martin Lee Chu-Ming SC JP, founding Chairman of the United Democrats of Hong Kong and its successor, the Democratic Party, to  share their extensive knowledge and understanding with us. They will open the event with introductory comments, after which both will take part in a Q&A session.



The Rt Hon Sir Malcolm Rifkind KCMG QC served in various roles as a Cabinet minister including Secretary of State for Scotland, Defence Secretary and Foreign Secretary. As minister for 18 years, his service was acknowledged by a knighthood in 1997.

He was appointed Chairman of the Intelligence and Security Committee of Parliament on 6 July 2010. In January 2015 he was appointed by the OSCE as a member of their Eminent Persons Panel on European Security. He was appointed a Visiting Professor by King’s College, London in their Department of War Studies, and a Distinguished Fellow at the Royal United Services Institute (RUSI). His memoirs, Power and Pragmatism, were published in 2016 and a year later, he was invited by the UK Government to become the British Co-Chairman of the Belvedere Polish – British Forum.



Martin Lee Chu-Ming SC, JP is a distinguished barrister and politician who has devoted a long lifetime to promoting democracy in Hong Kong. He was involved in drafting Hong Kong’s Basic Law and served as a member of the Legislative Council , working closely with Governor Patten on constitutional reform. Martin Lee founded the United Democrats and its successor, the Democratic Party. On 18 April 2020, with other prominent supporters of democracy, he was arrested and released on bail on suspicion of unauthorised activity during the 2019-20 pro-democracy protests.

He has remained active in advocating and lobbying for the democratic cause both locally and internationally.


Event Summary:



5th June 2020
11:00 am - 12:30 pm


United Kingdom


Henry Jackson Society
+44 (0) 20 7340 4520


Sir Malcolm Rifkind KCMG QC, Martin Lee Chu-Ming SC, JP


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