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Open Access Publications from the University of California

UCLA Pacific Basin Law Journal

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PBLJ focuses on a diverse range of legal and policy issues as they affect the rapidly developing economies of the Pacific Rim. Throughout its history, the journal has featured articles written by leading scholars and practitioners on topics including human rights law, constitutional law, comparative law, criminal law, international trade law, business and corporate law, and intellectual property law.

Volume 23, Issue 1, 2005

Front Matter


Interpreting Hong Kong's Basic Law: A Case for Cases

On April 4, 2004, China issued a formal interpretation of the Hong Kong Basic Law. While the interpretation was controversial because it effectively asserted the central government's authority to control the pace of Hong Kong's democratic development, it was also significant for its implication that the Chinese national government had claimed for itself absolute authority to determine the meaning of contested provisions in the Basic Law. This article argues that the interpretation upset the balance established in the Basic Law between Chinese and Hong Kong authorities, improperly aggregating power to the national government and curtailing the autonomy that is guaranteed to Hong Kong under the Basic Law. The article argues that Chinese authorities should adopt a more restrained approach to interpretation - a so-called "cases and controversies" approach - that combines elements of both China's civil law heritage and Hong Kong's common law tradition

Political Domination and the Rule of Law in Hong Kong

For many observers, the rule of law has been highly significant in terms of Hong Kong's economic development during its colonial past and in the more recent era of Chinese rule. Yet at the same time, the political arrangement that has emerged since 1997 is widely perceived as being characterized by government domination over the individual. Following the government's concerted efforts to enact anti-subversion legislation and the overwhelming popular reaction against it, a state of domination has become increasingly apparent. This paper will consider the notions of political liberty and domination that have emerged within the context of the Basic Law and the prospects for the future in terms of political reform.

Fire Prevention: A Book Review of Amy Chua's World on Fire

In this article, Ms. Goldenziel argues that World on Fire presents a compelling descriptive argument that would thwart the development of effective foreign policy. By failing to define the central terms of her thesis, Professor Chua oversimplifies the complex and unique historical, sociological, and political circumstances of the countries she studies. Ms. Goldenziel explains how more precise definitions are crucial to the creation of functional democratic processes, and presents a rubric for systematizing factors that affect democratization.