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Special feature

Beijing’s “Rule of Law” Strategy for Governing Hong Kong

Legalisation without Democratisation?
Han Zhu
p. 23-33


This paper examines the evolution of legal strategies that the central government has used in managing Hong Kong affairs in the past three decades. It demonstrates that the Beijing government appears to have successfully employed the tactic of “legalisation without democratisation” to neutralise political resistance, to resolve thorny issues, and to stifle pro-independence voices. However, as Beijing’s legal strategies for Hong Kong have become more hands-on and assertive, the flaws and instrumentalism of Chinese-style “rule of law” have become increasingly salient, giving rise to deepening conflicts with the Hong Kong common law system. Legalisation without democratisation has given rise to a worrying trend of rising authoritarian legalism in Hong Kong.

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Bibliographical reference

Han Zhu, « Beijing’s “Rule of Law” Strategy for Governing Hong Kong », China Perspectives, 2019-1 | 2019, 23-33.

Electronic reference

Han Zhu, « Beijing’s “Rule of Law” Strategy for Governing Hong Kong », China Perspectives [Online], 2019-1 | 2019, Online since 19 March 2020, connection on 11 May 2021. URL : ; DOI :

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About the author

Han Zhu

Han Zhu is Assistant Research Officer at the Centre for Chinese Law, Faculty of Law, University of Hong

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