A whirlwind visit to the United States proved to be a significant opportunity for Law Society chief Chan Chak-ming to engage in meaningful discussions. Amidst a bustling schedule, Chan engaged with officials from the US State Department, shedding light on misconceptions surrounding the legal and judicial systems of the Special Administrative Region (SAR) of Hong Kong. This interaction holds particular importance in the current backdrop of escalating China-US geopolitical tensions, potentially leading to increased trade and investment restrictions.
Clearing the Air: Discussions on Law and Judicial Independence
Chan’s itinerary included an unofficial meeting with Gareth Collins, a foreign service officer at the US Department of State, alongside other US representatives in charge of Hong Kong and Macau affairs. The focus of these conversations encompassed crucial topics such as the rule of law in Hong Kong, the autonomy of the judiciary, and the implications of the national security law. Chan underscored the value of such engagements as they pave the way for a better understanding of SAR’s legal systems amidst evolving global dynamics.
A Broad Spectrum of Engagements
In a packed day, Chan also engaged with Elizabeth Anderson, the executive director of the World Justice Project, and her team. This interaction further enriched his perspective on legal matters on a global scale.
Chan’s participation in the American Bar Association’s annual meeting in Denver added to the comprehensive nature of his visit. He seized the opportunity to present an overview of the “one country, two systems” principle and the national security law to Deborah Enix-Ross, the outgoing president of the American Bar Association, and Mary Smith, her incoming counterpart.
Building Bridges and Sharing Insights
Chan’s interactions extended beyond high-profile meetings to engaging with leaders and representatives of various lawyer associations. This inclusive approach allowed him to exchange thoughts on topics of mutual interest, including the organization of webinars, with prominent figures like Richard Lewis, the present president of the New York State Bar Association, and Domenick Napoletano, the incoming president, as well as Jeremy Evans of the California Lawyers Association.
Nurturing Business Ties and Bilateral Cooperation
Beyond the legal sphere, Chan also focused on strengthening the role of Hong Kong’s legal professionals in fostering business connections between Hong Kong and the United States. A visit to the Hong Kong Economic and Trade Office in Washington facilitated discussions on strategies to enhance this pivotal role.
Chan’s efforts also extended to promoting the allure of conducting business in Hong Kong. In a meeting with US-China Business Council chairman Craig Allen, he highlighted the advantages of the Hong Kong business landscape.
Global Collaborations: From Mongolia to the US
Chan’s vision for international collaboration materialized in his discussions with Mongolian Prime Minister Oyun-Erdene Luvsannamsrain. These talks were underpinned by a memorandum of understanding signed between the Law Society chief of Hong Kong and the Mongolian Bar Association in 2017. Strengthening cooperation between legal professions was at the forefront of these conversations.
In a short span of time, Chan Chak-ming’s visit to the United States transformed into a symphony of discussions spanning legal, economic, and collaborative realms. His engagements underscored the importance of open dialogue, dispelling misconceptions, and building bridges between legal communities across borders.