Hong Kong in the Wider Constitutional Order

Course Description

This course views the overall development of Hong Kong from the perspectives of the nation and the wider constitutional order in China. It highlights the interlocking relations between law, national security and national development in the context of state capacity building in modern Chinese history, and introduces the fundamental constitutional principles underlying the One-Country-Two-Systems framework, the Basic Law of Hong Kong, and the Hong Kong National Security Law. This online course is required of all undergraduates admitted in 2022-2023 and thereafter. It is recommended that students complete the online course “Understanding China” before taking this course.


The video lectures consist of the following topics:

  1. Introduction
  2. Basic Concepts and Themes
  3. China’s Rise: A Bicentennial Perspective
  4. One Country, Two Systems: Past and Present
  5. National Security in the Wider Constitutional Order

Learning Outcomes

Students enrolled in this course will be able to:

  1. articulate the concept of “constitutional order” and the importance of understanding the position of Hong Kong in the wider constitutional order of China and the special administrative region;

  2. describe the dimensions of state capacity and its crucial role in the economic development of China;

  3. explain how the loss of Hong Kong in the wake of the Opium war is a symbol of state failure, as well as the historical roots of the rise of national insecurity from the mid-19th century onwards;

  4. describe the strategic objectives of China in adopting the One-Country-Two-Systems framework and the central tenets of the framework;

  5. describe the key features of the Hong Kong Basic Law and explain how it relates to the Constitution of the People’s Republic of China;

  6. identify types of insecurity in the contemporary world that are related to national security;

  7. describe the principles and key features of HKNSL;

  8. recognise a broader notion of HKNSL as an integral part of China’s constitutional system, which promotes multiple national developmental goals and pluralistic general principles for security and development in the region and the whole nation.


  • The course will adopt the Distinction/Pass/Failure grading.
  • The assessment of the course will consist of online assignments and a final examination.
  • The online assignment for a module will be posted for a specified period. One must complete all the online assignments to obtain the “Distinction” grade.
  • An examination based on the video lectures and required readings will be conducted to help students better understand their attainment of the learning outcomes.
  • Please refer to the “Assessment Methods” and “Grade Descriptors” of the course through CUSIS for the assessment details.