Latest Reports

Hong Kong's National Security Law and the Right to Fair Trial: A GCAL Briefing Paper

June 28, 2021

The right to a fair trial for National Security Law (NSL) defendants is under threat. As the first NSL trials begin, defendants have been hampered by restrictions on their core due process rights, including the right to a jury trial and the right to pre-trial release. At the same time, the selection process for judges in NSL cases raises concerns about judicial independence.

The briefing paper offers an in-depth look into the government’s aggressive approach to NSL prosecutions over the past year, documenting extensive efforts to curtail basic due process rights of those accused of NSL crimes. In general, the government has sought to deny bail to most NSL detainees. The government has also asserted a broad power to deny individuals accused of NSL crimes their right to a jury trial.

The briefing paper, also takes an in-depth look at the NSD’s expanded investigatory powers under the NSL. Under brand-new Implementation Rules (IRs) issued just days after the NSL itself went into effect, the NSD has the authority to search the homes of NSL suspects, to tap their phones, freeze their assets, and to censor online speech that they deem a threat to national security. In many cases, no judicial warrant is needed, and external oversight is generally limited.

Hong Kong's National Security Law: A Human Rights and Rule of Law Analysis

February 23, 2021

The National Security Law constitutes one of the greatest threats to human rights and rule of law in Hong Kong since the 1997 handover, according to a new report by the Georgetown Center for Asian Law. The report documents the more than 100 arrests that have taken place since the passage of the law, and urges the government to stop using the NSL in ways that may violate basic human rights.

The report, Hong Kong’s National Security Law: A Human Rights and Rule of Law Analysis, finds that the new law violates both key provisions of the Basic Law, Hong Kong’s mini-constitution, and also falls short of international human rights standards. Based on more than 20 interviews with Hong Kong actors and an extensive review of the documentary record, the report concludes that, in several NSL cases, individuals seem to have been arrested merely for exercising their basic rights to free expression, assembly, and association.

Returning to the Shadows: China, Pakistan, and the Fate of CPEC

September 24, 2020

The China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) has been the single highest-profile investment package under China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI). This new report from GCAL and the German Marshall Fund of the United States looks at the evolution of CPEC, from its initial high ambitions to its slowdown to its mini-revival in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic. It examines how U.S. and other Western policymakers should respond to CPEC, and to the BRI more generally, and provides insights into how CPEC will shape the future of the Sino-Pakistani relationship.

Promise of Democratization in Hong Kong: Discontent and Rule of Law Challenges

April 23, 2020

Drawing on new data and on-the-ground research, this joint GCAL-National Democratic Institute research report reflects the views of a broad, diverse group of stakeholders in Hong Kong across the political spectrum, from academia and civil society to political parties and the government. Our research makes clear that, nearly a year after protests rocked Hong Kong, there remains an impasse between protesters and leaders in Beijing and Hong Kong.

To bring an end to the political stalemate and social unrest, this new assessment urges the Hong Kong government to immediately open negotiations with representatives from the protest movement. In order for negotiations to succeed, the government must take steps to concretely demonstrate its willingness to compromise. Simply put, the government must prove that it can respond constructively to legitimate concerns raised by different segments of Hong Kong society.