On November 5, 2022, The University of Hong Kong Faculty of Law held the “One-Country-Two-Systems and Cross-Border Legal Harmonization” conference, its first in-person conference since the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic. This conference gathered leading practitioners and distinguished scholars to discuss the current cutting-edge topics relating to cross-border legal issues between Mainland China and Hong Kong. Through in-depth discussions on four major areas including data transfer, intellectual property, dispute resolution, and insolvency, speakers provided key insights into the promotion of legal harmonization between Mainland China and Hong Kong.
Panel One: Cross-border Data Transfer
Angela Zhang (Associate Professor of Law, The University of Hong Kong)
Richard Bird (Partner, Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer)
Chen Li (China Commercial Legal Lead, Microsoft)
Sandra Liu (Global Head of Privacy, London Stock Exchange Group)
Mark Parsons (Partner, Hogan Lovells)
Moderated by Dr. Angela Zhang, Director of the Philip K.H. Wong Centre for Chinese Law, the Data Panel offered invaluable perspectives on the cross-border data transfer scheme between the mainland and Hong Kong. Four hands-on practitioners, Sandra Liu, Mark Parsons, Richard Bird, and Chen Li, discussed several pressing issues that have thus far perplexed the industry. They introduced the key provisions in mainland data regulation, the unique features of China’s regulatory environment, and the existing data regulations in Hong Kong characterized by free data flow. Their discussion helps clear up the current mechanism and possible arrangement of cross-border data transfer between the mainland and Hong Kong. Against the regulatory background, they also explained the standard compliance measures in industrial practices as well as the biggest regulatory challenges the industry faces. Looking into the future, they envisioned the relevant development trends and coordination possibilities in the Greater Bay Area.
Panel Two: Cross-border IP
Yahong Li (Associate Professor of Law, The University of Hong Kong)
Guobing Cui (Professor of Law, Tsinghua University)
Thomas Tsang (Deputy Director, HKSAR Intellectual Property Department)
Albert Wai-Kit Chan (Founder and Director, US-China Intellectual Property Institute)
Jyh-An Lee (Professor of Law, Chinese University of Hong Kong)
Haifeng Huang (Partner, Jones Day)
Moderated by Dr. Yahong Li, the IP Panel offered insight on current and future trends in the coordination of the IP regimes in the mainland and Hong Kong as well as their associated challenges. Prof. Guobin Cui explored the arbitrability of patent validity issues. He revealed the different attitudes between the mainland and Hong Kong and adviced on how to avoid current legal conflicts. Thomas Tsang introduced Hong Kong’s role as a regional IP trading center in the Greater Bay Area and mapped the relevant policy initiatives. Dr. Albert Chan unfolded the three patent systems in the Greater Bay Area with data on patent applications and licensing. He further surveyed the problems and unique features of the three systems. Prof. Jyn-An Lee explored copyright protection for AI-generated works in the Greater Bay Area. He probed into the positive attitude of both the mainland and Hong Kong in their judicial practices, locating the policy and doctrinal issues contained therein. Haifeng Huang focused on the territoriality and extraterritorial application of IP. He introduced the relevant judicial arrangements between the mainland and Hong Kong and commented on the remaining questions yet to be resolved.
Panel Three: Cross-border Dispute Resolution
Susan Finder (Distinguished Scholar in Residence, Peking University; Fellow, Faculty of Law, The University of Hong Kong)
Edward Liu (Partner, Haiwen & Partners LLP)
Liang Zhang (Professor of Law, Sun Yat-sen University)
Jenny Fung (Deputy Solicitor General, Policy Affairs, HKSAR Department of Justice)
Moderated by Susan Finder, the Dispute Resolution Panel offered a systematic framework to grapple with the dispute resolution regimes in the mainland and Hong Kong and contributed constructive views on their coordination. Susan Finder analyzed the rationale behind the Supreme People’s Court provision of safeguards for the Greater Bay Area strategy. Her analysis detailed the content of the strategy, including judicial legal rules convergence, judicial exchanges, and cooperation policies. Jenny Fung focused on the Mainland Judgments in Matrimonial and Family Cases (Reciprocal Recognition and Enforcement) Ordinance that took effect in Feb 2022. She explained the main provisions of the Ordinance and the benefits they could bring. Edward Liu elucidated the current landscape of applying for enforcement of Mainland arbitral awards and court judgments in Hong Kong. He further analyzed the key features and potential impact of the new judicial arrangement for mutual recognition of civil and commercial judgments between the mainland and Hong Kong. Prof. Liang Zhang explored the conflict of laws in civil and commercial matters in the Greater Bay Area. After introducing the relevant constitutional provisions, he highlighted the important role that the Hengqin and Qianhai Cooperation Zones may play in the future.
Panel Four: Cross-border Insolvency
Stefan Lo (Principal Lecturer, The University of Hong Kong)
Bob Wessels (Emeritus Professor of Law, Leiden University)
Min Kyung Kim (Judge, Daejoon District Court)
Look Chan Ho (Barrister, Des Voeux Chambers)
Charles Booth (Professor of Law, The University of Hawaii)
Moderated by Dr. Stefan Lo, the Insolvency Panel offered a useful summary for the coordination of the bankruptcy legal systems in the mainland and Hong Kong, as well as forward-looking suggestions on how to advance future development. Prof. Bob Wessels introduced the three major breakthroughs in the mainland-HK bankruptcy cooperation in 2021, laying out five challenges and opportunities thus entailed. Judge Min Kyung Kim provided the relevant experience of Korean courts in handling cross-border bankruptcy cases, with a special focus on the 2017 Hanjin Shiping case. Look Chan Ho showed his work tracking the judicial progress on the bankruptcy cooperation between the mainland and Hong Kong, and elaborated a series of judicial cases related to mutual recognition. Prof. Charles Booth suggested extending the current cooperative arrangement under the Supreme People’s Court to personal bankruptcy, especially to bring in small and medium enterprises, so as to adapt to the current economic situation and legal trends across Asia.
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