On Wednesday, Britain announced the withdrawal of its judges from Hong Kong’s top court to avoid legitimising oppression in the former British colony.
The British judges are sitting on the court since Since 1997 when Hong Kong was returned to China. In the midst of China’s ruling Communist Party’s efforts to assert its control and silence independent voices, the British government’s decision highlights the Asian financial hub’s growing isolation.
While England had judges on the Court of Final Appeal as part of efforts to protect the judicial system in the city, the British government declared the arrangement was “no longer tenable” due to China’s increasingly harsh legislation.
Britain’s Supreme Court President Robert Redd said, “The court in Hong Kong continues to be internationally respected for their commitment to the rule of law”. He further added that he has decided in an agreement with the government that the British judges of the Supreme Court will not continue to sit in the nation without appearing to support a government that has abandoned democratic norms such as political freedom and freedom of expression.
With immediate effect from Wednesday, two senior British judges submitted their resignations.