Deputy SJ visits Geneva, The Hague

March 10, 2023
Closer ties
Closer ties:

Deputy Secretary for Justice Cheung Kwok-kwan (first left) meets World Trade Organization Director-General Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala (second right).

Deputy Secretary for Justice Cheung Kwok-kwan visited Geneva, Switzerland, and The Hague, the Netherlands, on March 9 to promote the unique strengths of Hong Kong's legal system, which are conducive to the optimisation of international investment and business environment.


Accompanied by Permanent Representative of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region of China to the World Trade Organization (WTO) Laurie Lo, Mr Cheung met WTO Director-General Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala in Geneva to exchange views on various topics of mutual interest and lay down a more solid foundation for future work.


He said Hong Kong, China, as a founding member of the WTO, has for years been a firm supporter of a rules-based multilateral trading system with the WTO at the core, and is one of the most proactive and constructive WTO members.


In addition to thanking the WTO for its support to and acknowledgement of the city, Mr Cheung said Hong Kong, being the centre for international legal and dispute resolution services in the Asia-Pacific region, will continue to participate vigorously in and promote the reform of the WTO's Dispute Settlement Body.


During his visit in Geneva, Mr Cheung also called on the Ambassador Extraordinary & Plenipotentiary & Permanent Representative of the People's Republic of China (PRC) to the United Nations Office at Geneva & other International Organizations in Switzerland Chen Xu to introduce the latest legal developments in Hong Kong and learn more about the latest situation of the United Nations and other international organisations.


He emphasised that Hong Kong, as the only common law jurisdiction in the country, would proactively assist in the country's foreign-related legal affairs.


After arriving in The Hague, the last stop of his Europe visit, Mr Cheung attended the Hague Conference on Private International Law (HCCH) reception hosted by China for over 200 delegates from around 90 member states attending the meeting of the HCCH's Council on General Affairs & Policy.


Speaking at the reception, he updated the participants on the rule of law situation in Hong Kong and stressed that some media reports on "one country, two systems" and the enactment of the National Security Law in recent years have been baseless and unsound.


He also highlighted that the Constitution of the PRC gives the legislative backing and source of power for the Basic Law and provides a solid legal basis for and the constitutional framework of the Hong Kong SAR, adding that the central government fully supports Hong Kong to maintain the common law system.


Mr Cheung reiterated that Hong Kong's rule of law remains robust. Not only has the National Security Law restored the law and order of Hong Kong society, but also fortified the city's existing and solid legal inheritance, making Hong Kong the most desirable foothold of trade and investment in the entire Asia-Pacific region now and in the future.


Meanwhile, Mr Cheung thanked the HCCH for choosing Hong Kong as the venue for hosting the sixth HCCH Asia Pacific Week in September this year to celebrate its 130th anniversary, which signified a vote of confidence by the HCCH to Hong Kong's rule of law.


Noting that the event will be the first large-scale celebration of its kind in the Asia-Pacific region and the world, he welcomed everyone to visit Hong Kong to witness the vibrancy, diversity, and prosperity of the events capital.


At the reception, Mr Cheung exchanged views with HCCH Secretary General Christophe Bernasconi, Ambassador Extraordinary & Plenipotentiary of the PRC to the Kingdom of the Netherlands Tan Jian and ambassadors from other countries.


Moreover, he pointed out that Hong Kong is committed to the development of private international law and hopes that the city and the HCCH can forge closer co-operation.

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