June 15th, 2024

Former top judge McLachlin to end term in Hong Kong court with ‘confidence’ in system

By The Canadian Press on June 10, 2024.

Outgoing Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Canada Beverley McLachlin listens to a question during a news conference in Ottawa on December 15, 2017. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Justin Tang

OTTAWA – Canada’s former top judge is ending her term on a high-level Hong Kong court, saying she has faith in democracy in the territory.

Beverley McLachlin served as Canada’s chief justice from 2000 to 2017 and joined the Hong Kong Court of Final Appeal a year later.

Beijing has recently been cracking down on democracy in the territory, which is a former British colony that has laws meant to allow more freedom of expression.

Two British judges on the court resigned last week, with one citing the “political situation” in Hong Kong.

In a statement, McLachlin says she will end her term as scheduled in late July, noting she is now 80 years old.

She wrote that she has “confidence in the members of the court, their independence, and their determination to uphold the rule of law.”

Beijing has gradually repealed freedoms in Hong Kong, including by introducing national-security laws that ban protests critical of the Communist government.

China has made it harder for opposition politicians to be elected, moved to make it easier to extradite people to the mainland for trials and has listed opposition politicians as criminals, including some who have fled to Canada.

The changes have caused a series of high-profile protests, including what activists called the Umbrella Movement in 2014.

Beijing insists it is trying to preserve freedoms while stamping out foreign influence that is hostile to China.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published June 10, 2024.

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