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Hong Kong won't be a global finance hub without neutral courts

Mask law case will test whether city's judges can remain separate from the state

| Hong Kong, Macao

Hong Kong's ability to remain a leading international financial hub since China resumed control over the city in 1997 has rested in good part on the robust independence and neutrality of its courts.

Yet there are signs the national government may no longer accept the full authority of Hong Kong's judiciary to review actions by the local administration. Its impatience has its origins in the city's move in October to adopt a ban on the wearing of face coverings at a wide range of public gatherings by invoking a colonial-era law called the Emergency Regulations Ordinance in response to violent confrontations between protesters and police.

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