Johannes Chan

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Honorary SC
Johannes Chan
Johannes Chan Man-mun.jpg
Alma mater University of Hong Kong (LLB, PCLL)
London School of Economics and Political Science (LLM)
Occupation Dean of the Faculty of Law (HKU)
Barrister-at-law in HK

Johannes Chan Man-mun (陳文敏) SC is Professor of Law and former Dean of the Faculty of Law (2002-2014) for the University of Hong Kong.[1] He is a practising barrister-at-law who specialises in human rights, constitutional and administrative law.[2] In February 2009 he was banned from entering Macau and raised strong responses from both pro-Beijing and pan-democracy camps.

Early life[edit]

Chan was born and educated in Hong Kong. He earned his LLB from the University of Hong Kong and his LLM at the London School of Economics and Political Science.[2]


Chan was called to the Hong Kong Bar in September 1982. Currently, he is still practising as a barrister-at-law who specialises in public law and human rights. He received the Human Rights Press Award in 1999. In 2003, he was appointed as the first Honorary Senior Counsel in Hong Kong.[2] He has appeared as counsel in many constitutional law cases, such as Lam Siu Po v. Commissioner of Police.[3]

Chan joined the University of Hong Kong as a teaching staff in 1985, became a Senior Lecturer in 1991, an Associate Professor in 1996, a Professor in 1998, the Head of Department of Law in 1999 and the Dean of the Faculty of Law in 2002. He was also a visiting professor to a number of universities in Europe and Asia, including being the BOK Visiting International Professor of Penn Law School, University of Pennsylvania (2014), Herbert Smith Freehills Visiting Professor of Cambridge University (2015), and a visiting fellow of Gonville and Caius College, Cambridge University.

Chan has published widely in legal journals regarding human rights.[4][5][6] He was a founding member of the Article 23 Concern Group and Article 45 Concern Group. He was also one of the founders of Hong Kong Human Rights Monitor, and a core member of Hong Kong 2020.[7]

Denied entry by Macau[edit]

On 27 February 2009 Chan was invited to give a speech at the University of Macau. Under the newly enacted Macau national security law he was not allowed to enter Macau.[8] He believed the entrance block was related to his role in the Article 23 concern group in 2002.[8] The only explanation given by Macau officials on the block was that his name was on a list and that they were just doing their job.[8] Legislator Nelson Wong said "it seems that Hong Kong lawmakers, journalists and academics are inferior to gamblers, sex tourists and loan sharks."[9] Ronny Tong said it would be better for Hong Kong people to not travel to Macau (casinos) for entertainment.[9] Pro-Beijing camp Regina Ip said the SAR government must react since it affects the human rights of citizens.[9] Albert Ho called on the Hong Kong government to stop allowing Macau senior officials from entering Hong Kong if they continued to turn away pro-democracy politicians.[10] Chief Executive of Macau Edmund Ho said that his officials had acted according to the law. He personally believed it has nothing to do with the legislation of Article 23.[9] Casino tycoon Stanley Ho said "those who were barred deserved what they got".[9][11]

Pro-vice-chancellor selection controversy[edit]

Thought to be front-runner for the post of pro-vice-chancellor for staffing and resources of the University of Hong Kong, Chan was criticised in Wen Wei Po and Ta Kung Pao for his academic record.[12][13] Wen Wei Po, citing from a leaked University Grants Commission report, stated that his academic record on research was not up to international standards when Chan was the Dean of the Law School. The journal accused Chan of being too busy with politics that he neglected research.[7] According to an article written by Kevin Lau in Ming Pao, parties close to the government applied pressure on committee members behind the scenes to block Chan's appointment.[12][14][15] Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying has been reported to have telephoned members of the committee to persuade them to vote against Chan's appointment,[14] whilst Sophia Kao, member of the Central Policy Unit, admitted that she may have mentioned Chan's candidature to someone "casually" but said she did not recall with whom and in what context.[16][17] CY Leung's lieutenant Fanny Law, who was found to have interfered with institutional autonomy in 2007 whilst she was Education Secretary,[18] categorically denied having intervened.[15] Leung also denied allegations he intervened in the selection.[14]

The council was criticised when it repeatedly deferred the decision to appoint Chan, stating that it should wait until a new provost was in place. The decision was repeatedly delayed through votes on 30 June and 28 July. On 29 September, the council rejected Chan's appointment (12 votes to eight) through a secret ballot in a closed meeting; no reason for the decision was provided.[19]


  • 1990: Human Rights in Hong Kong
  • 1993: Public Law and Human Rights: A Hong Kong Sourcebook (with Andrew Byrnes)
  • 1993: The Hong Kong Bill of Rights: A Comparative Approach (with Yash Ghai)
  • 1995: The Hong Kong Bill of Rights: Two Years Before 1997 (with George Edwards)
  • 1995: Media Law and Practice (with Kenneth Leung)
  • 1999: General Principles of Hong Kong Law (with Albert Chen & Others)
  • 2000: Hong Kong's Constitutional Debate: Conflict over Interpretation (with Fu Hualing and Yash Ghai)
  • 2000: On the Road to Justice
  • 2004: Immigration Law in Hong Kong (with Bart Rwezaura)

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "" Hong Kong Legislative Council to debate Macau’s entries denials today. Retrieved on 4 March 2009.
  2. ^ a b c "Professor Johannes M M Chan SC (Hon)". Faculty of Law, The University of Hong Kong. Retrieved 5 January 2010. 
  3. ^ "FACV No.9 of 2008". Retrieved 4 January 2010. 
  4. ^ "Research Profile". Faculty of Law, The University of Hong Kong. Retrieved 4 January 2010. 
  5. ^ "" A Johannes Chan listing. Retrieved on 4 March 2009.
  6. ^ "Hong Kong University Scholars Hub". ResearcherPage: Chan, JMM. The University of Hong Kong. Retrieved 25 May 2011. 
  7. ^ a b HKU law faculty falls short in research field. The Standard, 27 January 2015.
  8. ^ a b c "" HK professor, politicians barred from Macau visit. Retrieved on 4 March 2009.
  9. ^ a b c d e The Standard. "Tit-for-tat policy urged over entry rules of Macau". Retrieved on 4 March 2009.
  10. ^ Retrieved on 4 March 2009.
  11. ^ South China Morning Post. "HK lawmakers unite against Macau over entry denials." SCMP, Retrieved on 4 March 2009.
  12. ^ a b
  13. ^ "Ex-HKU dean feels Beijing media heat". The Standard, 4 February 2015
  14. ^ a b c Lau, Kenneth (13 February 2015). "Leung denies torpedoing uni selection" Archived 13 February 2015 at the Wayback Machine.. The Standard.
  15. ^ a b "傳政府阻港大陳文敏升職 羅范:點會重蹈覆轍". Apple Daily (in Chinese). 
  16. ^ "高靜芝承認「茶餘飯後」曾討論陳文敏事件". (in Chinese). 
  17. ^ "郭榮鏗:高靜芝身分特殊 是否主動談陳文敏都有問題". Yahoo 新聞香港 (in Chinese). 12 February 2015. 
  18. ^ Scarlet Chiang (21 June 2007). "Li cleared of wrongdoing by HKIEd commission". The Standard. Archived from the original on 22 May 2011. Retrieved 31 July 2008. 
  19. ^ Cheng, Kris (30 September 2015). "Explainer: The HKU Council pro-vice-chancellor debacle". Hong Kong Free Press. 

External links[edit]