Cliff Buddle

Hong Kong

Cliff Buddle

Culture Desk Editor; Editorial Writer; Columnist

A journalist for more than 30 years, Cliff began his career as a court reporter in London and moved to Hong Kong in 1994 to join the SCMP. Specialising in court reporting and legal affairs, he has held a variety of editorial positions, including Deputy Editor and Acting Editor-in-Chief.

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Latest from Cliff Buddle

Opinion | National security law: more questions than answers on Hong Kong’s freedoms and rule of law

Much needs to be done to ensure the national security law is clearly understood and implemented in a way that limits its impact on Hong Kong’s freedoms. Some will welcome Beijing’s move if it restores order, but even if achieved, this will come at a price.

3 Jul 2020 - 6:47AM

Much needs to be done to ensure the national security law is clearly understood and implemented in a way that limits its impact on Hong Kong’s freedoms. Some will welcome Beijing’s move if it restores order, but even if achieved, this will come at a price.

National security law: more questions than answers on Hong Kong’s freedoms and rule of law
Opinion | What will the national security law give Hong Kong, and what will it take?

The way Beijing is rushing through the law – with little transparency – casts a sombre mood over the city’s handover anniversary. The most worrying features concern the court system – it appears Beijing does not entirely trust the city’s judges.

25 Jun 2020 - 6:30AM

The way Beijing is rushing through the law – with little transparency – casts a sombre mood over the city’s handover anniversary. The most worrying features concern the court system – it appears Beijing does not entirely trust the city’s judges.

What will the national security law give Hong Kong, and what will it take?
Opinion | June 4 vigil is Hong Kong’s canary in a coal mine. Will it survive Beijing’s national security law?

Hong Kong’s response to the 1989 Tiananmen crackdown was seen as subversive and prompted Beijing to adopt a more hardline approach to the drafting of the Basic Law. Those effects are still being felt today.

4 Jun 2020 - 7:30AM

Hong Kong’s response to the 1989 Tiananmen crackdown was seen as subversive and prompted Beijing to adopt a more hardline approach to the drafting of the Basic Law. Those effects are still being felt today.

June 4 vigil is Hong Kong’s canary in a coal mine. Will it survive Beijing’s national security law?
Opinion | Can we trust that Beijing’s security law will target Hong Kong’s violent minority only?

Though details are forthcoming, China’s national security laws are expressed in broad terms and have been used to target critics and suppress dissent.

27 May 2020 - 10:08AM

Though details are forthcoming, China’s national security laws are expressed in broad terms and have been used to target critics and suppress dissent.

Can we trust that Beijing’s security law will target Hong Kong’s violent minority only?
Opinion | Hong Kong’s Basic Law may be conflicting and confusing – but it’s still the best system for relations with China

For all its flaws, the Basic Law protects Hong Kong’s separate system and can continue to do so beyond 2047, provided work begins now to resolve some of the deep-rooted contradictions. This cannot happen without basic trust.

10 Apr 2020 - 7:15AM

For all its flaws, the Basic Law protects Hong Kong’s separate system and can continue to do so beyond 2047, provided work begins now to resolve some of the deep-rooted contradictions. This cannot happen without basic trust.

Hong Kong’s Basic Law may be conflicting and confusing – but it’s still the best system for relations with China
Opinion | China’s top legislative body’s comments on the power of Hong Kong courts strike at the heart of ‘one country, two systems’

By calling into question Hong Kong courts’ power to declare laws unconstitutional if they breach the Basic Law, Beijing threatens the city’s legal system and the local judiciary’s ability to protect human rights.

21 Nov 2019 - 9:00AM

By calling into question Hong Kong courts’ power to declare laws unconstitutional if they breach the Basic Law, Beijing threatens the city’s legal system and the local judiciary’s ability to protect human rights.

China’s top legislative body’s comments on the power of Hong Kong courts strike at the heart of ‘one country, two systems’
Opinion | By tightening its grip on Hong Kong, Beijing would only be repeating past mistakes that have led to today’s protests

At times of crisis in Hong Kong, Beijing tends to tighten its grip on the city. This happened after previous mass protests in 2003 and 2014, but has only led to further public frustration, opposition – and the current movement.

8 Nov 2019 - 6:15AM

At times of crisis in Hong Kong, Beijing tends to tighten its grip on the city. This happened after previous mass protests in 2003 and 2014, but has only led to further public frustration, opposition – and the current movement.

By tightening its grip on Hong Kong, Beijing would only be repeating past mistakes that have led to today’s protests
Opinion | Carrie Lam’s mask ban is an ineffective stick for violent protesters. Where’s the carrot for moderate protesters?

The use of a colonial-era emergency law has raised tensions at a time when Hong Kong needs to calm down. In invoking the draconian law from 1922, the Hong Kong government should draw the right lesson from history.

11 Oct 2019 - 6:35PM

The use of a colonial-era emergency law has raised tensions at a time when Hong Kong needs to calm down. In invoking the draconian law from 1922, the Hong Kong government should draw the right lesson from history.

Carrie Lam’s mask ban is an ineffective stick for violent protesters. Where’s the carrot for moderate protesters?
Opinion | Hong Kong must leave judges out of the protest politics and safeguard the independence of its judiciary

As more arrests are made amid the continuing unrest and criticism of judges’ decisions begin to roll in, Hong Kong should be reminded of the need to respect the judicial process. A repeat of the pressure that judges have had to bear working through the Occupy cases would undermine confidence in the courts.

17 Sep 2019 - 9:30AM

As more arrests are made amid the continuing unrest and criticism of judges’ decisions begin to roll in, Hong Kong should be reminded of the need to respect the judicial process. A repeat of the pressure that judges have had to bear working through the Occupy cases would undermine confidence in the courts.

Hong Kong must leave judges out of the protest politics and safeguard the independence of its judiciary
Opinion | At long last, Carrie Lam has heeded one call from Hong Kong protesters: it’s not much, but it’s a start

After three months of sometimes violent protests, the government has relented on the extradition bill. But, for the city to truly move on, it must end the silence on alleged police abuses, put universal suffrage back on the agenda, and examine why young people are angry with Beijing.

6 Sep 2019 - 6:30AM

After three months of sometimes violent protests, the government has relented on the extradition bill. But, for the city to truly move on, it must end the silence on alleged police abuses, put universal suffrage back on the agenda, and examine why young people are angry with Beijing.

At long last, Carrie Lam has heeded one call from Hong Kong protesters: it’s not much, but it’s a start
Opinion | Hong Kong’s not dead – yet. But Carrie Lam and her cabinet must act

If Hong Kong is to survive this ordeal, the protesters must avoid provocative acts that make crackdowns more likely. The SAR government is most responsible for the escalation, though, through its misguided bill and recent inaction.

26 Jul 2019 - 3:18PM

If Hong Kong is to survive this ordeal, the protesters must avoid provocative acts that make crackdowns more likely. The SAR government is most responsible for the escalation, though, through its misguided bill and recent inaction.

Hong Kong’s not dead – yet. But Carrie Lam and her cabinet must act
Opinion | Can Beijing let Hong Kong be Hong Kong and allow the city the room it needs to breathe?

The extradition controversy is a symptom of a deeper problem: the chief executive is seen as Beijing-friendly and Hong Kong’s political system, too business-friendly. To ensure stability, our core values, separate system and way of life must be respected.

28 Jun 2019 - 6:30AM

The extradition controversy is a symptom of a deeper problem: the chief executive is seen as Beijing-friendly and Hong Kong’s political system, too business-friendly. To ensure stability, our core values, separate system and way of life must be respected.

Can Beijing let Hong Kong be Hong Kong and allow the city the room it needs to breathe?
Opinion | Carrie Lam may win the battle to pass Hong Kong’s extradition law. But at what cost?

Though not a democracy, Hong Kong is ruled by consultation and consensus. Pushing through the extradition bill against all opposition will upset this understanding and alter the balance of the ‘one country, two systems’ arrangement.

7 Jun 2019 - 7:00AM

Though not a democracy, Hong Kong is ruled by consultation and consensus. Pushing through the extradition bill against all opposition will upset this understanding and alter the balance of the ‘one country, two systems’ arrangement.

Carrie Lam may win the battle to pass Hong Kong’s extradition law. But at what cost?
Opinion | The Occupy leaders have been jailed, but questions about democracy for Hong Kong won’t fade away

Beyond the debate on whether the sentences for eight leaders of the pro-democracy protests of 2014 were just, Hong Kong will still have to grapple with questions about the limits of free expression, the role of civil disobedience, and the prospects for democracy here.

26 Apr 2019 - 6:00AM

Beyond the debate on whether the sentences for eight leaders of the pro-democracy protests of 2014 were just, Hong Kong will still have to grapple with questions about the limits of free expression, the role of civil disobedience, and the prospects for democracy here.

The Occupy leaders have been jailed, but questions about democracy for Hong Kong won’t fade away
Opinion | How Hong Kong’s extradition bill falls short of the deal we need with mainland China

Talks began more than 20 years ago between Hong Kong and Beijing on a rendition agreement. Why did nothing come of it, and why is the government opting for a case-by-case approach that fails to address Hongkongers’ demand for fair trial safeguards?

6 Apr 2019 - 9:31AM

Talks began more than 20 years ago between Hong Kong and Beijing on a rendition agreement. Why did nothing come of it, and why is the government opting for a case-by-case approach that fails to address Hongkongers’ demand for fair trial safeguards?

How Hong Kong’s extradition bill falls short of the deal we need with mainland China
Out of touch, not fit for purpose: Hong Kong judiciary savaged ... by a former top judge and lawyer

Henry Litton writes that his former colleagues’ decisions are baffling for ordinary people, and that judges are inefficient and pander to lawyers. He asks if they will be ready for 2047, when 50 years of no change under Chinese rule run out.

20 Feb 2019 - 8:22PM

Henry Litton writes that his former colleagues’ decisions are baffling for ordinary people, and that judges are inefficient and pander to lawyers. He asks if they will be ready for 2047, when 50 years of no change under Chinese rule run out.

Out of touch, not fit for purpose: Hong Kong judiciary savaged ... by a former top judge and lawyer
Opinion | We’re living in a Hong Kong shaped by a landmark 1999 ruling

The Court of Final Appeal has been accused of first going too far in asserting its independence and then surrendering too much ground. The 1999 incident also opened the door to Beijing’s interpretations of the Basic Law.

29 Jan 2019 - 7:04AM

The Court of Final Appeal has been accused of first going too far in asserting its independence and then surrendering too much ground. The 1999 incident also opened the door to Beijing’s interpretations of the Basic Law.

We’re living in a Hong Kong shaped by a landmark 1999 ruling
Opinion | Hong Kong’s Basic Law may be a child of China’s constitution, but it has come of age

The precise relationship between China’s constitution and Hong Kong’s de facto constitution can be debated in academic circles, but let’s not forget that the Basic Law exists to protect the Hong Kong system.

10 Dec 2018 - 7:00AM

The precise relationship between China’s constitution and Hong Kong’s de facto constitution can be debated in academic circles, but let’s not forget that the Basic Law exists to protect the Hong Kong system.

Hong Kong’s Basic Law may be a child of China’s constitution, but it has come of age
Opinion | Save Discovery Bay! Residents fear their expat haven is turning into a Chinese tourist trap

First the Marina is closed, then a new shopping mall appears - could the golf carts be next? Middle-class allure of suburb-by-the-sea tainted by uncertain future

29 Nov 2018 - 5:47PM

First the Marina is closed, then a new shopping mall appears - could the golf carts be next? Middle-class allure of suburb-by-the-sea tainted by uncertain future

Save Discovery Bay! Residents fear their expat haven is turning into a Chinese tourist trap
Opinion | ‘Lenient’ Hong Kong court sentences come with a warning: patience for violent protests has run out

Two court decisions this year which freed young protesters have been criticised as too light, but both rulings clearly warn that, in future, demonstrations that end in violence will be dealt with sternly.

10 Oct 2018 - 8:25AM

Two court decisions this year which freed young protesters have been criticised as too light, but both rulings clearly warn that, in future, demonstrations that end in violence will be dealt with sternly.

‘Lenient’ Hong Kong court sentences come with a warning: patience for violent protests has run out
Opinion | Hong Kong courts must open up about their work, and this means joining social media

Judges have been attacked for recent rulings, but scant attention is given to the reasoning behind judgments. To educate the public, the judiciary can consider a bold move Britain has made – allowing filming in courts.

22 Sep 2018 - 8:47PM

Judges have been attacked for recent rulings, but scant attention is given to the reasoning behind judgments. To educate the public, the judiciary can consider a bold move Britain has made – allowing filming in courts.

Hong Kong courts must open up about their work, and this means joining social media
Asian Angle | Dependent visa case gives Hong Kong’s gay community reason to hope

The future’s looking bright in the fight against discrimination – a victory in the city’s top court by a lesbian couple who took on the Immigration Department will have far-reaching implications

20 Sep 2018 - 11:29AM

The future’s looking bright in the fight against discrimination – a victory in the city’s top court by a lesbian couple who took on the Immigration Department will have far-reaching implications

Dependent visa case gives Hong Kong’s gay community reason to hope
Opinion | LGBT rights in Hong Kong should be protected, and the government should not seek to block progress

The court ruling against spousal benefits for a gay couple is a setback for Hong Kong’s progress in protecting minority rights, and the government should be ashamed of its role in it.

5 Jun 2018 - 9:02PM

The court ruling against spousal benefits for a gay couple is a setback for Hong Kong’s progress in protecting minority rights, and the government should be ashamed of its role in it.

LGBT rights in Hong Kong should be protected, and the government should not seek to block progress
Incest, necrophilia and other sexual offence laws in Hong Kong need updating to ensure justice is not delayed

Now that the Law Reform Commission has made its recommendations on sexual offences, the Legislative Council must act quickly.

27 May 2018 - 9:40PM

Now that the Law Reform Commission has made its recommendations on sexual offences, the Legislative Council must act quickly.

Incest, necrophilia and other sexual offence laws in Hong Kong need updating to ensure justice is not delayed
Opinion | Hong Kong must remain a beacon of freedom of expression as China, and the region, cracks down on critics 

Unlike in mainland China, freedom of expression under Hong Kong’s ‘one country, two systems’ arrangement can only be restricted in extreme cases in the public interest.

25 Apr 2018 - 6:45PM

Unlike in mainland China, freedom of expression under Hong Kong’s ‘one country, two systems’ arrangement can only be restricted in extreme cases in the public interest.

Hong Kong must remain a beacon of freedom of expression as China, and the region, cracks down on critics 
Quick Take | In Hong Kong, lawyers get heard when they are silent on politics

The surprise election of human rights lawyer Philip Dykes as Bar Association Chairman has raised fears that what has long been a strong, independent and credible voice could be adopting a more confrontational, political stance.

27 Jan 2018 - 2:05PM

The surprise election of human rights lawyer Philip Dykes as Bar Association Chairman has raised fears that what has long been a strong, independent and credible voice could be adopting a more confrontational, political stance.

In Hong Kong, lawyers get heard when they are silent on politics
Britain looks to forge closer ties to Hong Kong amid EU exit with biggest innovation festival

Consul general in city Andrew Heyn touts ‘remarkably similar’ aims of two economies concerning innovation, technology, research and development

22 Jan 2018 - 9:14AM

Consul general in city Andrew Heyn touts ‘remarkably similar’ aims of two economies concerning innovation, technology, research and development

Britain looks to forge closer ties to Hong Kong amid EU exit with biggest innovation festival
Britain will continue to speak up on Hong Kong and any pressures ‘one, country, two systems’ comes under, consul general vows

Andrew Heyn says British government has an obligation to review the affairs of its former colony

22 Jan 2018 - 8:00AM

Andrew Heyn says British government has an obligation to review the affairs of its former colony

Britain will continue to speak up on Hong Kong and any pressures ‘one, country, two systems’ comes under, consul general vows
Opinion | Stretching the Basic Law to fit Hong Kong’s high-speed rail plan puts ‘one country, two systems’ at risk

There is no clear justification under the Basic Law for the wholesale application of mainland laws in a part of Hong Kong. Attempts to get around the city’s legal framework will have far-reaching consequences.

17 Jan 2018 - 6:58PM

There is no clear justification under the Basic Law for the wholesale application of mainland laws in a part of Hong Kong. Attempts to get around the city’s legal framework will have far-reaching consequences.

Stretching the Basic Law to fit Hong Kong’s high-speed rail plan puts ‘one country, two systems’ at risk
Why criticising Hong Kong’s foreign judges for not understanding the city is ridiculous