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HLS Students Will Visit Hong Kong

By Karen M. Paik

A delegation of 15 Law School students will spend spring break in Hong Kong and Beijing, meeting high-ranking officials and observing political and economic developments.

The students, members of the Harvard Asia Law Society (HALS), say they plan to take advantage of the trip's timing, given Hong Kong's expected reversion from British to Chinese control on July 1 and Chinese leader Deng Xiaoping's recent death.

In a news release, Peter Kuo, president of HALS, said, "We are especially excited about the delegation this year because of the chance we have to gauge the mood among Chinese leaders at the beginning of the post-Deng era."

Eric C. Rassbach, a member of the delegation, said he is looking forward to the trip.

"It's a great time to be able to go to Hong Kong, right before the hand-over," Rassbach said. "It should be very interesting to compare and contrast."

In Hong Kong, the delegation will meet with Andrew Wong, president of the Hong Kong Legislative Council, the colony's current elected legislative body.

The Legislative Council will be replaced by a Provisional Legislature selected by Beijing officials after the changeover.

The students also plan to meet the Hong Kong solicitor general, the chief justice of the Hong Kong Supreme Court and the president of the Hong Kong Stock Exchange.

The expected highlight of the Beijing leg of their trip will be a meeting with Tung Chee Hwa, who will assume Hong Kong's highest administrative post from current Governor Chris Patten.

According to Rassbach, the students plan to focus these meetings on law.

"We'll probably talk specifically about the rule of law in Hong Kong after the transition and the political nature of the economy afterward," he said.

Rassbach said that being a Harvard Law organization probably made "a huge difference" in the group's success in securing appointments.

"Harvard is a very well-known name in East Asia," Rassbach said. "There are a whole bunch of different companies named Harvard this and Harvard that."

The delegation will be composed of HALS officers, students chosen for their contribution to the society and members selected by lottery.

The group has traveled to Asia in each of the past three years. Last year's delegation to Taiwan observed the island's first democratic presidential election.

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