In response to media enquiries on 2022 World Justice Project Rule of Law Index (Index), a Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) Government spokesman made the following reply today (October 26):
The overall ranking of Hong Kong remains high in the Index, attaining the 6th in East Asia and the Pacific, and the 22nd out of 140 countries and jurisdictions worldwide. The position is higher than some western countries which often unreasonably criticise the rule of law and human rights situation of Hong Kong.
That Hong Kong ranks the 6th in terms of order and security is sufficient proof of the important role of the Hong Kong National Security Law (NSL) in maintaining the order and security of Hong Kong. Not only has it restored order from chaos and strengthened the rule of law, it has also earned the recognition in the international community.
Besides, Hong Kong ranking the 9th in the world in terms of "Absence of Corruption" is a testament to the effectiveness of the city's anti-corruption work and its culture of probity.
We believe that the slight adjustment of Hong Kong's ranking in some aspects is possibly due to the lack of an accurate and overall understanding of the real situation of the city. We will step up our efforts in explaining Hong Kong's situation to ensure that others have a correct understanding of the system in Hong Kong.
We totally disagree about the opinions made by a relevant person as reported by the media, the content of which, if true, only reflects the lack of understanding of the real situation of Hong Kong by the person. In fact, since the city's reunification with the motherland, the HKSAR Government has been firmly committed to safeguarding the rights and freedoms of the people, both of which are protected under the Basic Law and the Hong Kong Bill of Rights. The courts of HKSAR have been exercising its judicial power independently in accordance with the law.
Since the implementation of NSL, Hong Kong has become safer, more stable and better protected in all aspects. Countries around the world take threat to national security seriously and our country is no exception.
Under the NSL, the Chief Executive appoints a list of designated judges to handle cases concerning national security while the assignment of judges to handle particular cases remains the sole responsibility of the Judiciary. The system of designated judges under NSL does not in any way affect the independence of the Judiciary. As the Court noted in Tong Ying Kit (No. 1)  4 HKLRD 382, no reasonable, fair-minded and well-informed observer would think that a designated judge is or may be no longer independent of the Government.
Ends/Wednesday, October 26, 2022