China Seminar

Carole J. Petersen

Carole J. Petersen

9 November 2017

One Country, Two Systems? Assessing Hong Kong’s Autonomy After Twenty Years

According to the Sino-British Joint Declaration, a bi-lateral treaty duly registered with the United Nations, the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (SAR) enjoys extensive autonomy, including its own common-law legal system, independent judiciary, and separate currency. Hong Kong residents also enjoy a much higher standard of civil liberties than residents of Mainland China. Nonetheless, as “One Country, Two Systems” enters its third decade, many commentators would agree that a crisis is brewing.

8 December 2011

China’s Engagement in the UN Human Rights System: A Catalyst for Change?

As recently as the 1980s, the People’s Republic of China rejected international efforts to monitor human rights as unwarranted interference in domestic affairs. However, in the past three decades, Beijing has ratified six of the nine “core” human rights treaties, which means that it now regularly reports to UN treaty-monitoring committees. Beijing’s interactions with these committees are often strained and the government has angrily rejected many of their recommendations. Despite this tension, China recently took its engagement in the system to a new level, by actively helping to draft and promote the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.