Thursday, November 26, 2015   

Legco chief blasts Article 23 call again

Kelly Ip

Tuesday, April 08, 2014

Hong Kong's mini-constitution will have to be amended if the national security law is to be applied in the SAR, Legislative Council president Jasper Tsang Yok-sing said yesterday.

"If it's said some national laws should be used here because of certain situations, this will be a serious blow to the rule of law," Tsang said in stepping up his criticisms of Basic Law Committee member Rao Geping for a second day. "Nobody wants to see this."

The Legco president said if those national laws must be applied to the SAR, the proper way is to amend the Basic Law, but this would lead to a major controversy too.


On Sunday, Tsang said the mainland's national security law cannot be introduced in Hong Kong, as it is inconsistent with the Basic Law.

His rebuttal came after Rao suggested China's anti-subversion law can be introduced here temporarily.

After attending a forum at the Hong Kong Institute of Education on party politics development in the SAR, Tsang told reporters it is not necessarily a bad thing to discuss local political reforms and Article 23 at the same time.

"In 2003, when the SAR consulted the public on Article 23, some political parties then said universal suffrage should be introduced before the legislation of Article 23," Tsang said.

He added Beijing's opposing attitude toward party politics is also changing.

Pro-establishment lawmaker and barrister Priscilla Leung Mei-fun disagreed with Tsang, saying Beijing could enact the national security laws here, in accordance with Article 18 of the Basic Law.

According to Article 18, Beijing could include the national security laws in Basic Law Annex III and, as a result, the SAR would be obligated to enact the laws.

Labour Party lawmaker Lee Cheuk- yan accused Rao of scare tactics.

"If the national security laws are applied in Hong Kong, Hong Kong people will lose the freedoms they treasure," Lee said.

Albert Chen Hung-yee, also a Basic Law Committee member and law professor at the University of Hong Kong, said imposing national security laws here would violate the principle of "one country, two systems."

Veteran politician Allen Lee Peng- fei said the legal system in Hong Kong and the mainland are different, with the SAR adopting the common law and the mainland using civil law.

"How would mainland law be suitable for Hong Kong?" he asked.

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