ABSTRACT

China’s resumption of sovereignty changed the international borders between the United Kingdom (UK) and the PRC, and Portugal and the PRC, to a territorial boundary between each and the mainland. From a previous situation whereby international law governed disputes between the UK or Portugal on one hand, and the PRC on the other, the relationship is now determined according to public law, specifically the constitutional law of the Basic Laws as interpreted or decided by the National People’s Congress Standing Committee (NPCSC). This takes place under the PRC Constitution in accordance with the interpretative principles of the socialist legal system, not the common law or civil law systems of the SARs (Marsden 2006a; Ghai 2007). There have been four interpretations of Hong Kong’s Basic Law: in 1999 to consider the right of Chinese nationals to reside in Hong Kong,1 in 2004 to consider the right of Hong Kong permanent residents to directly elect their executive and legislature,2 in 2005 to consider the length of the term of office to be served by the Chief Executive3 (Marsden 2006b), and in 2011 to consider the question of state immunity4 (Marsden 2013). There has been none of the Basic Law of Macau, which would have precedent value for the HKSAR, and vice versa.