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  • Can you tell us a bit more why these three judges have resigned?


  • Yeah, something of a blow at least to the perception of Hong Kong and rule of law here.


  • Lord Sumption's op-ed in the FT that you mentioned is probably the sort of clearest explanation.


  • And he talks not just about those concerns of the quote-unquote totalitarian state, but also this malaise that is hanging over rule of law in Hong Kong.


  • And he talks with sort of quite a level of detail over some of the judges and the pressures that they face.


  • That, you know, although local judges, of course, you know, he sort of gives them benefit the doubt in the sense of sort of praising their desire to act independently.


  • But he talks about the difficulty for local judges to continue operating in an environment where they're being repeatedly called to make patriotic judicial decisions, as well as some of the sort of criticism when they have shown some leniency, when they have, for example, acquitted people or granted people bail in relation to national security cases, the criticism that they face.


  • So he lays out in quite a detailed way this sort of backdrop for judges, not just sort of for the Court of Final Appeal, but judges in this city at large.


  • I think the Hong Kong chief executive, John Lee, was chimed in on this issue during this weekly press briefing just a couple of minutes back.


  • I want to play it out for our viewers to see, and then we'll talk about it after.


  • Let's play it out, guys.


  • Judges' professional expertise is on law, based on his legal knowledge and experience.


  • Judges' professional expertise is not on politics.


  • A judge can like a particular system or dislike it.


  • He may also like a particular law or not.


  • But his professional duty is to interpret and apply that particular piece of law in accordance with legal principles and evidence.


  • So I guess the big picture question there, what does this mean for the rule of law?


  • Well, it's important to say, as we point out, that John Lee has rebuffed these criticisms very, very firmly.


  • And it's something that the government takes very seriously, because they have repeatedly in the past touted the benefits of Hong Kong's system, rule of law, independent judiciary, as well as specifically this benefit of having overseas judges.


  • So the fact that we have just a handful now does somewhat dent the case, not least because it's accompanied by very direct criticism over what's happening to rule of law.


  • So certainly we should expect to see more scrutiny.


  • And I think there will be some sort of feeling as well and some worry about what happens to the Court of Final Appeal.


Can you tell us a bit more why these three judges have resigned?


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