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Hong Kong lawyers to stage silent protest in defence of rule of law

Published on Jun 27, 2014 1:56 PM

HONG KONG (REUTERS) - Hundreds of Hong Kong lawyers are expected to stage a silent march on Friday in protest against Beijing's policy towards the judiciary, in a sign of growing concern about the rule of law in the former British colony.

Hong Kong returned to Chinese rule in 1997 under the formula of "one country, two systems", with the promise of a high degree of autonomy. Unlike on the mainland, Hong Kong's judiciary enjoys a level of independence similar to that in the West.

But Beijing raised alarm when it released a white paper this month, spelling out its interpretation of the one country, two systems model, in which it said "loving the country" is a basic requirement for the city's administrators, including judicial personnel, enraging many in the city's legal circles.

"They're redrawing the boundary," said Mr Dennis Kwok, a lawyer and a member of Hong Kong's Legislative Council, who is organising the march. "They're lumping everyone together, because in their eyes, they're no different.

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