Introduction to the Hong Kong Basic Law

By Danny Gittings

Danny Gittings is Associate Professor and Senior Programme Director at the College of Humanities and Law in the University of Hong Kong’s School of Professional and Continuing Education



Read the Main Introductory Text on
One Country, Two Systems in Hong Kong

“Danny Gittings’ Introduction to the Hong Kong Basic Law fills a gap in this area of literature and provides an excellent text for students of law and politics in Hong Kong and China. Mr Gittings is unremitting in his efforts to synthesise, critique and reconceptualise various aspects of the subject … the book provides an overall treatment of the Basic Law that is balanced, astute and well-researched. A delightful feature of the book is the ease with which the author guides the reader through some of the very complex issues of law and politics with its smooth, clear and concise writing.” (Book review by Professor Bing Ling in (2015) The China Quarterly 258-259)

“As a respected journalist turned legal scholar, Gittings is well qualified to explain the Basic Law, to place it in a historical context, and to chart its progress. Although he modestly describes his text as a “simple introduction”, it is, in reality, much more than that. The Introduction should be read not only by law students, but also by anyone who is interested in how Hong Kong is being run after 1997. … Whilst any book discussing a sophisticated constitutional document might be forgiven for being somewhat dry and arcane, the Introduction is, fortunately, both interesting and readable, and explains things in a logical way. Gittings, moreover, with his telling prose and perceptive comments, carries the reader with him, from start to finish, which is a definite bonus.” (Book review by Honorary Professor Grenville Cross in (2014) 44 Hong Kong Law Journal 961.

“Many of us approach law books with trepidation. But Gittings, a legal academic, used to be a journalist and this shows in his ability to make the book accessible to the general reader. Amid the often technical legal arguments about the Basic Law it is easy to forget what a good story lies behind it.” (Book review in South China Morning Post, 1 December 2013)

“Reads more easily than a typical text; students, practitioners or layman readers interested in the “one country, two systems” regime can pick it up over a morning coffee, rather than feel compelled to first assemble pens, highlighters and a note pad before opening these pages.” (Book Review in Hong Kong Lawyer, October 2013)

“Knows how to use simple and easily understandable language to explain complex issues” (Book review by Kevin Lau in Ming Pao, 22 July 2013).  

Download the Introductory Chapter for Free

Find out more about the paperback and hardback editions of the book

Other Articles by Danny Gittings Available to Download:

1)       What Will Happen to Hong Kong After 2047? (2011) 42 Californian Western Int’l Law Journal 37-60;

2)       Separation of Powers and Universal Suffrage (20 September 2014, conference presentation);

3)       Separation of Powers and the Hong Kong Basic Law (working paper).


Useful Resources on the Hong Kong Basic Law


There are a wide range of useful online resources relating to the Hong Kong Basic Law. For easy access to a selection of useful papers, reports and speeches, please click here.

Other useful resources include the Hong Kong SAR Government’s official Web site on the Hong Kong Basic Law. This is particular useful for access to the Basic Law Bulletin, which provides periodic updates on important court cases and other relevant issues.

Much of the records for the drafting of the Hong Kong have been digitised and can be viewed via the Basic Law Drafting History Online.