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Cora Chan, University of Hong Kong From legal pluralism to dual state: evolution of the Chinese-Hong Kong legal order(s)

This paper argues that the relationship between the Chinese and Hong Kong legal orders has evolved from a form of legal pluralism found in the European Union, to a monist but bifurcated status – a “dual state”, to borrow from Ernst Fraenkel’s theory. Recent events, including China’s imposition of a national security law on Hong Kong and the former’s overhaul of the latter’s election methods, have consolidated the change. The picture that emerges is that Hong Kong’s common law legal system from the liberal rule-of-law tradition has definitively become a dual state that is folded within China’s socialist legal system, which is itself a dual state. The analysis not only reveals the potential and challenges of preserving liberal values in an authoritarian polity, but also enhances our understanding of the theory of the dual state.

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