Hong Kong’s lawyers and human rights activists welcomed the new chief justice appointed in the semiautonomous Chinese territory, expressing confidence he will uphold judicial independence.

While mainland Chinese courts are often criticized for jailing dissidents on politically motivated grounds, the legal system in this southern financial hub is highly respected for its integrity. When Beijing took over Hong Kong from Britain in 1997, it did not implement democracy, but let the territory maintain its British-influenced political and legal systems, also promising Western-style civil liberties like freedom of speech.