25 January 2020

Benny Tai

Associate Professor of Law at the University of Hong Kong
  • Xi Jinping's relentless pursuit of indefinite one-man rule is undoing whatever new and revitalizing elements Deng Xiaoping had injected into the CPC during his lifetime, critics say. Photo: Reuters

    Why Xi’s dictatorship might spell bad news for CPC

    - May 21, 2018 10:38am
    President Xi Jinping might be eagerly enjoying his unparalleled political power following his successful bid to have his ideology enshrined in the constitution and getting the presidential term limits removed so as to clear the way...
  • Hong Kong and mainland China have been influencing each other over the years, and the relationship between the two is far from being unidirectional. Photo: Reuters

    Ten possibilities about the political future of China

    - Dec 13, 2017 9:10am
    Due to geopolitical, historical, cultural, economic and political reasons, Hong Kong is undoubtedly inseparable from the mainland. However, despite the city’s tiny size compared to the mainland, the bilateral relationship is far from being an unidirectional...
  • As far as the people of Hong Kong are concerned, what truly matters about the Basic Law is whether it has a future, and if yes, what kind of future it will have. Photos: HKEJ, CNSA

    The future of the Basic Law

    - Nov 24, 2017 11:30am
    Hong Kong’s constitution, the Basic Law, may be ridden with problems, but if we look at it from another angle, the law is definitely a ground-breaking creation for both Hong Kong and mainland China. Throughout the...
  • As long as our courts can convince the public that the rulings are fair and just, and that judges only take into account nothing but legal factors when making their decisions, the public will have trust in our judiciary. Photo: flickr

    How to preserve confidence in our courts

    - Sep 5, 2017 2:58pm
    The fact that the Court of Appeal has overruled the magistrates’ court over a trespassing case involving three student leaders and sentenced them to jail has sparked a heated controversy. A lot of people have raised...
  • Zhang Dejiang’s praise of Macau could be interpreted as a soft warning to Hong Kong. Photo: CNSA

    No need to be afraid in face of Beijing’s intimidation

    - May 16, 2017 10:53am
    Last week, the chairman of the National People’s Congress Standing Committee, Zhang Dejiang, paid a visit to Macau, during which he praised the SAR government for having “successfully and accurately” implemented “one country, two systems” and...
  • CE candidate John Tsang is more receptive to different views and can bring everyone to the negotiation table. Photo: HKEJ

    What it takes to be a true Hong Kong leader

    - Mar 21, 2017 9:28am
    According to Article 43 of the Basic Law, the chief executive of Hong Kong is the head of our city, while Article 60 says the chief executive is also the head of the executive branch. In...
  • In opinion polls, people don't get to express their views unless they are chosen as samples and interviewed, and the sample size also influences the accuracy. Photo: HKEJ

    A more accurate way for pan-democrats to gauge public opinion

    - Feb 28, 2017 10:25am
    As far as the question of which chief executive candidate to nominate is concerned, there is a prevailing notion among pan-democrats that since former financial secretary John Tsang Chun-wah is highly popular with the public, they...
  • A group of Chinese tourists in Tokyo's Ginza district. A fundamental change in the political values of the middle class is possible, and it could be driven not by economic motives but by foreign cultural influence. Photo: Bloomberg

    The rise of the middle class and China’s democratization

    - Dec 20, 2016 10:55am
    In view of its rapid economic growth over the past few decades, China has witnessed the rise of a new social class: the middle class. The overwhelming majority of them are living in big cities, working...
  • The partisan gridlock is rooted in Hong Kong’s peculiar system which is neither a pure executive-led model nor a separation of powers commonly practised by western democracies. Photo: HKEJ

    Full universal suffrage the only way out of our woes

    - Nov 1, 2016 10:00am
    The recent oath-taking saga sparked by the Youngspiration duo and the walkout by the pro-establishment camp in Legco are the latest indication of the chaos in our legislature. However, these incidents are far from coincidental. Rather,...
  • Yau Wai-ching of the localist group Youngspiration is among the two newly-elected Legco members who are facing heat over their modified oaths earlier this month. Photo: Bloomberg

    Who has the power to remove a lawmaker from office?

    - Oct 25, 2016 11:05am
    There has been talk in the pro-Beijing camp about urging the government to invoke the Oaths and Declarations Ordinance to strip two newly-elected young lawmakers of their office because of their use of “offensive” words during...
  • After having organized two large-scale public voting campaigns, the HKUPOP should have all the necessary technologies and skills to conduct an unofficial 2017 CE election. Photo: HKEJ

    Time to plan for the 2017 unofficial CE election

    - Oct 18, 2016 11:59am
    Prior to the 2012 chief executive election, a small circle election in which only the 1,200 members of the election committee were allowed to vote, the Hong Kong University Public Opinion Programme (HKUPOP) organized an unofficial...
  • Activists hold yellow umbrellas, a symbol of the pro-democracy movement, in front of the government headquarters to mark the second anniversary of the 2014 Occupy protests on Sept. 28. Photo: AFP

    Why ‘democratic fundamentalism’ is holding us back

    - Oct 12, 2016 9:47am
    We have been fighting for democracy for 30 years now, but our society is still deeply divided over which approach we should adopt in pressing ahead with the democratization process. Such deep divisions have made it...
  • Rather than a top-down campaign to manipulate the election outcome, ThunderGo was an initiative spearheaded by the pro-democracy voters themselves. Photo: HKEJ

    Project ThunderGo: A triumph of civil society

    - Sep 13, 2016 2:00pm
    Although Project ThunderGo (雷動計劃) has raised concerns in the pro-democracy camp, the results of the Legislative Council election point to its success. Among the 23 candidates recommended by the project, 19 got elected, a remarkable 82...
  • Past experience tells us that first-time voters tend to vote for pro-democracy candidates. Still, voter turnout is critical. Photo: AFP

    High turnout rate key for non-establishment candidates

    - Aug 30, 2016 6:16pm
    Several factors will determine whether non-establishment candidates will prevail in the Legco elections on Sunday. These are whether there will be enough pro-democracy voters who will take part in strategic voting, whether votes will go to...
  • Leung Chun-ying has gone to extreme lengths to prevent separatist sentiment from spreading in Hong Kong, critics say. Photo: HKEJ

    Silencing people by law is like blocking a river with a dam

    - Aug 23, 2016 12:04pm
    The ancient Chinese history book “GuoYu (國語)” (or “The National Transcripts”) recounts a story that should serve as a warning to any ruler. The story goes like this: King Liwang of the Zhou dynasty mounted an...
  • Faced with pressure from Beijing, Secretary for Justice Rimsky Yuen and his lawyers are trying to pass the buck to the returning officers. Photo: HKEJ

    Democracy and rule of law: One won’t work without the other

    - Aug 16, 2016 1:23pm
    There is growing consensus in the legal sector that the decision of the Electoral Affairs Commission (EAC) to disqualify several pro-independence candidates is unconstitutional and its legal grounds absurd and flimsy. The interesting question is, why...
  • The Occupy Movement provided an opportunity for Hong Kong people to reflect on the city's democratization path. Photo: Bloomberg

    A paradigm shift in our pro-democracy movement

    - Jul 5, 2016 10:13am
    The Occupy Movement will definitely earn a place in history because it not only raised political awareness among an entire generation in Hong Kong, it also provided an opportunity for us to reflect on the democratization...
  • Hong Kong people must safeguard their civil rights and freedom of speech to preserve the city's unique characteristics and help the territory serve as a model for potential changes in China. Photo: Bloomberg

    What role can Hong Kong play if an uprising erupts in China?

    - Jun 28, 2016 2:39pm
    China is at a historical crossroads. A drastic social change is on the horizon and the country is shrouded in uncertainty and apprehension. No one can tell when that change is going to take place —...
  • Different political groups in the non-pro-establishment camp need to band together to maximize their chances of winning in the upcoming Legco election. Photo: HKEJ

    The ‘safety line’ is also a lifeline for the pro-democracy camp

    - Jun 21, 2016 9:20am
    Unlike parliamentary elections in major western countries like the United States and Britain, Hong Kong’s Legislative Council elections are based on a “party list proportional representation” system using the “largest remainder method”, under which candidates from...
  • Although the 'yellow ribbon' and 'blue ribbon' factions  represent different sets of values, many Hongkongers are, in fact, a hybrid of the two. Photos: HKEJ

    Why you can be blue and yellow at the same time

    - May 31, 2016 9:42am
    Ever since the Occupy movement in 2014, the people of Hong Kong have been divided into two opposing camps: the “blue ribbon”, or pro-establishment, faction and the “yellow ribbon”, or pro-democracy faction. Liberal Party lawmaker James Tien Pei-chun described...