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00:00:00
>>
APPLAUSE
>> As Xi Jinping rises in mainland China, anxiety over Beijing's reach into Hong Kong has sent chills through the city's judges and lawyers. And they're increasingly voicing their fears. Hong Kong's rule of law is seen as key to its reputation as a global center for business.
00:00:17
It sits under Chinese rule but it's guaranteed a degree of separation. However, Beijing holds the ultimate power to interpret the cities loss and Reuters interviews with four senior judges saw them concerned that new legal rulings from China's parliament may soon force them to cut back on the city's freedoms.
00:00:34
Reuters Greg Torode is in Hong Kong.>> There is a fear among judges that is spreading in among legal scholars and lawyers that Beijing might be tempted to use its powers much more frequently. As it tries to deal with political tensions or anything it deems as a threat to its sovereignty.
00:00:53
It essentially signalled that it wants better control of Hong Kong, it wants Hong Kong to be more patriotic. Xi Jinping has spelt this out and now on certain terms when he visited Hong Kong last July.>> The judiciary is seen as one the last remaining strengths of the city and its one area Beijing has yet to infiltrate after it has quietly reached into media, universities and government.
00:01:15
Fears of China interpreting the law may already be affecting the city standing.>> We're already hearing that commercial west, for example, is they deal with the likes of International hedge funds. I have to spend a lot more time defending and explaining and outlining why Hong Kong's future is secure.
00:01:33
>> The last time Beijing ruled on Hong Kong's laws in 2016, it effectively blocked six pro democracy lawmakers from taking office. Two of those seats were lost in polls on Sunday. Activists now fear they've lost ground. A senior barrister told Reuters, Beijing uses the law quote to protect their rules not to protect civil rights.
00:01:53
They can interpret it anyway they like.