Phil C. W. Chan

Phil C. W. Chan

Phil C.W. Chan is a scholar in public law, human rights, international law and global governance. His books include China, State Sovereignty and International Legal Order (2015), Protection of Sexual Minorities since Stonewall: Progress and Stalemate in Developed and Developing Countries (2010), and Equality in Asia-Pacific: Reality or a Contradiction in Terms? (2007). He holds a PhD in international law and Chinese law from the National University of Singapore and law degrees from the University of Hong Kong and the University of Durham. He is also the recipient of the 25th Human Rights Press Awards (Merit, 2021) for Commentary Writing for his three-part series in the Post in 2020 on Hong Kong society under China’s national security law for...

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Latest from Phil C. W. Chan

Opinion | Djokovic, Johnson, Hong Kong’s ‘partygate’: why this is the year of #YouToo

The world has been transfixed by reports of people in positions of power and influence behaving as if coronavirus measures did not apply to them. Like the Weinstein scandal that led to #MeToo, the current scandals should drive a new movement of social responsibility.

The world has been transfixed by reports of people in positions of power and influence behaving as if coronavirus measures did not apply to them. Like the Weinstein scandal that led to #MeToo, the current scandals should drive a new movement of social responsibility.

18 Jan 2022 - 6:45AM
Opinion | Why shunning South Africa based on Covid-19 Omicron variant fears is counterproductive

South Africa acted as a good global citizen in promptly reporting the new variant. In response, various countries have imposed a ban on flights from South Africa and its neighbours. This sends a message to other states where variants could emerge that it might not be in their national interest to be transparent.

South Africa acted as a good global citizen in promptly reporting the new variant. In response, various countries have imposed a ban on flights from South Africa and its neighbours. This sends a message to other states where variants could emerge that it might not be in their national interest to be transparent.

1 Dec 2021 - 4:26AM
Opinion | Time for Hongkongers eligible for BN(O) visa scheme to choose where their loyalties lie

With the city at its most critical juncture since 1997, those eligible for a BN(O) visa must choose between China’s vision for Hong Kong or a society with freedom of expression, police accountability, the rule of law and universal suffrage.

With the city at its most critical juncture since 1997, those eligible for a BN(O) visa must choose between China’s vision for Hong Kong or a society with freedom of expression, police accountability, the rule of law and universal suffrage.

31 Dec 2020 - 7:28AM
Opinion | Beijing’s call for judicial reform spells the end of the Hong Kong system

The move to align Hong Kong’s common law system with mainland expectations cannot be said to be a surprise, as Beijing has been consistent in its pronouncements on Hong Kong’s place in China.

The move to align Hong Kong’s common law system with mainland expectations cannot be said to be a surprise, as Beijing has been consistent in its pronouncements on Hong Kong’s place in China.

6 Dec 2020 - 6:48AM
Opinion | With national security law, Hong Kong has fallen victim to the tyranny of the rule of law

While Hong Kong and Beijing officials often emphasise the rule of law, it does not by itself guarantee respect for human rights or political accountability. The law has long been used by authoritarian leaders to suppress political dissent.

While Hong Kong and Beijing officials often emphasise the rule of law, it does not by itself guarantee respect for human rights or political accountability. The law has long been used by authoritarian leaders to suppress political dissent.

9 Nov 2020 - 11:15AM
Opinion | Why Boris Johnson’s backtrack on the EU deal is a moral mistake

If Britain could pass legislation in flagrant disregard of treaty commitments it made only eight months ago, who is it to admonish China for imposing a law on Hong Kong that China considers essential to its sovereignty?

If Britain could pass legislation in flagrant disregard of treaty commitments it made only eight months ago, who is it to admonish China for imposing a law on Hong Kong that China considers essential to its sovereignty?

16 Sep 2020 - 9:42AM
Opinion | China’s national security law poses existential threat to Hong Kong’s universities and academic freedom

China’s tendency to use the vaguest, broadest terms in drafting its laws means research on several issues deemed too sensitive or falling under national security could become off-limits. This will be a strong disincentive for overseas academics to pursue research collaboration with their peers in Hong Kong.

China’s tendency to use the vaguest, broadest terms in drafting its laws means research on several issues deemed too sensitive or falling under national security could become off-limits. This will be a strong disincentive for overseas academics to pursue research collaboration with their peers in Hong Kong.

6 Jun 2020 - 9:35AM
Opinion | If China wants to use the coronavirus crisis to burnish its global image, it must rethink its Hong Kong strategy

To be seen as a responsible international actor, China must comply with global agreements and develop the rule of law at home. Through its actions in Hong Kong, Beijing is showing the world how thin China’s commitment to the rule of law is.

To be seen as a responsible international actor, China must comply with global agreements and develop the rule of law at home. Through its actions in Hong Kong, Beijing is showing the world how thin China’s commitment to the rule of law is.

3 May 2020 - 9:34AM
Opinion | The global coronavirus crisis has made press freedom, in Hong Kong and elsewhere, more vital than ever

Hamstrung by the state-based nature of the UN, from which it derives its authority, the WHO ignored early warnings about the coronavirus from Taipei. Now the agency’s all-too-cosy relationship with Beijing has been exposed by RTHK.

Hamstrung by the state-based nature of the UN, from which it derives its authority, the WHO ignored early warnings about the coronavirus from Taipei. Now the agency’s all-too-cosy relationship with Beijing has been exposed by RTHK.

2 Apr 2020 - 8:46AM
Opinion | Italy’s coronavirus crisis lays bare our misguided belief in international solidarity

Italy’s situation sheds light on how our beliefs in state sovereignty, international order and international solidarity may have been misguided. In its hour of need, Italy has found itself abandoned by its EU partners.

Italy’s situation sheds light on how our beliefs in state sovereignty, international order and international solidarity may have been misguided. In its hour of need, Italy has found itself abandoned by its EU partners.

22 Mar 2020 - 9:26PM
Opinion | Is China coming full circle by repeating the Qing court’s self-defeating mistakes?

Xi’s China is implementing an ambitious vision through projects like the Belt and Road Initiative. Yet, when it comes to Xinjiang, Hong Kong and Taiwan, Beijing’s decision-making processes seem as obstinate as those in Qing China.

Xi’s China is implementing an ambitious vision through projects like the Belt and Road Initiative. Yet, when it comes to Xinjiang, Hong Kong and Taiwan, Beijing’s decision-making processes seem as obstinate as those in Qing China.

31 Dec 2019 - 9:46AM
Opinion | If Beijing can’t quit blaming foreigners for its problems, Hong Kong will forever be the site of foreign contagion

Beijing continues to complain about foreign interference, after a record 2.94 million people voted in the Hong Kong district elections. The notion that ordinary Hongkongers have free will of their own simply flies in the face of Chinese authoritarianism.

Beijing continues to complain about foreign interference, after a record 2.94 million people voted in the Hong Kong district elections. The notion that ordinary Hongkongers have free will of their own simply flies in the face of Chinese authoritarianism.

4 Dec 2019 - 6:42AM
Opinion | Carrie Lam has lit Hong Kong ablaze. A failure to hold district council elections would be the final betrayal

Carrie Lam, and the pro-Beijing politicians who enabled her, should not forget their responsibility for the protest chaos. If elections do not happen as scheduled, the increased violence will take a toll that the city will not recover from.

Carrie Lam, and the pro-Beijing politicians who enabled her, should not forget their responsibility for the protest chaos. If elections do not happen as scheduled, the increased violence will take a toll that the city will not recover from.

15 Nov 2019 - 10:13AM
Opinion | Why Hong Kong protesters are forcing university leaders to pick a side – academic freedom is at stake

Behind public support for the protesters is the realisation that Hong Kong has paid a steep price for tolerating policies that pushed integration with the mainland. University leaders’ silence at this time doesn’t bode well for academic freedom.

Behind public support for the protesters is the realisation that Hong Kong has paid a steep price for tolerating policies that pushed integration with the mainland. University leaders’ silence at this time doesn’t bode well for academic freedom.

6 Nov 2019 - 9:18AM
Opinion | Singapore is no alternative for Hongkongers angered by loss of freedoms – the Lion City’s restraints go far beyond Hong Kong’s

As Hongkongers angry about the erosion of their freedoms look elsewhere, it should be remembered they still enjoy rights Singaporeans do not. For example, the Lion City has a counterpart to the hated Emergency Regulations Ordinance as a regular law.

As Hongkongers angry about the erosion of their freedoms look elsewhere, it should be remembered they still enjoy rights Singaporeans do not. For example, the Lion City has a counterpart to the hated Emergency Regulations Ordinance as a regular law.

25 Oct 2019 - 9:02AM
Opinion | What choice do Hong Kong protesters have when the options are the PLA or dictator-in-the-making Carrie Lam?

Hong Kong’s morally bankrupt government has crossed the line by invoking emergency powers to bring in an anti-mask law. We have indeed entered a ‘very dangerous situation’ – Carrie Lam, with her unchecked authority, is that danger.

Hong Kong’s morally bankrupt government has crossed the line by invoking emergency powers to bring in an anti-mask law. We have indeed entered a ‘very dangerous situation’ – Carrie Lam, with her unchecked authority, is that danger.

9 Oct 2019 - 11:37AM
Opinion | For its 70th National Day, a strong China can afford to grant Hong Kong protesters’ wishes

Are flag-waving, anthem-singing patriots or underperforming officials what China needs? Beijing should consider fostering genuine patriotism in Hong Kong under ‘one country, two systems’, by responding to Hongkongers’ needs.

Are flag-waving, anthem-singing patriots or underperforming officials what China needs? Beijing should consider fostering genuine patriotism in Hong Kong under ‘one country, two systems’, by responding to Hongkongers’ needs.

26 Sep 2019 - 12:26PM
Opinion | China and the US should be wary of the historical parallels with 1914

A catalyst setting a rising power and its allies against an entrenched power in a bloody conflict where no one wins? It happened last century in Europe, and could again if Beijing cracks down hard on Hong Kong.

A catalyst setting a rising power and its allies against an entrenched power in a bloody conflict where no one wins? It happened last century in Europe, and could again if Beijing cracks down hard on Hong Kong.

30 Aug 2019 - 11:24AM
Opinion | If China hears the Hong Kong people, it must let Carrie Lam go

The Hong Kong authorities’ apparently inconsistent handling of the Yuen Long attack on commuters and protesters’ clashes with the police sows doubts about the rule of law.

The Hong Kong authorities’ apparently inconsistent handling of the Yuen Long attack on commuters and protesters’ clashes with the police sows doubts about the rule of law.

4 Aug 2019 - 9:01AM
Opinion | Amnesty for Hong Kong extradition bill protesters would heal society and close rifts with mainland China

Hong Kong’s guidelines for prosecutors say there are conditions in which prosecution does not serve the public interest. Recent acts, in a highly charged atmosphere created by unresponsive government, should fall under those conditions.

Hong Kong’s guidelines for prosecutors say there are conditions in which prosecution does not serve the public interest. Recent acts, in a highly charged atmosphere created by unresponsive government, should fall under those conditions.

17 Jul 2019 - 5:33AM
20 Jul 2018 - 2:54PM
20 Jul 2018 - 2:54PM
19 Apr 2017 - 6:14AM
In the spirit of the times, China and Japan must seek peace

Recent disagreements between China and Japan are by no means comparable to the rivalry between Britain and Germany that led to the first world war. Any such comparison is ill-conceived.

Recent disagreements between China and Japan are by no means comparable to the rivalry between Britain and Germany that led to the first world war. Any such comparison is ill-conceived.

20 Jul 2018 - 2:53PM
China adds valid voice to shaping international order

Following China's vetoes of United Nations Security Council action over Syria, Susan Rice, the now former US ambassador to the UN, expressed disgust about China impeding protection of civilians and enabling mass killings.

Following China's vetoes of United Nations Security Council action over Syria, Susan Rice, the now former US ambassador to the UN, expressed disgust about China impeding protection of civilians and enabling mass killings.

19 Apr 2017 - 6:14AM