Leung wants hard line on disrespect

Local | Phoenix Un 7 Nov 2017

Any disrespect for the national anthem that upsets mainland officials and local residents should be prosecuted, former chief executive Leung Chun-ying says.

Speaking at a forum on the 20th anniversary of the handover, Leung, who is vice chairman of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference, also said that while killing is a crime deserving of capital punishment, "the only exception is killing in the name of the country."

He warned Hongkongers against describing the Hong Kong-mainland relationship as Sino-Hong Kong as this would imply independence advocacy. Leung said he had personally observed disrespect for the national anthem during the 2014 Occupy movement.

He said students in several universities raised yellow umbrellas and turned their backs to the stage when the national anthem was played during the graduation ceremonies.

"Nobody handled these students and nobody handled these vice chancellors," Leung said, adding that anyone defending such behavior as freedom of speech "is absolutely preposterous."

Earlier when giving a speech, Leung said Hongkongers should learn about the struggling relationship between China and other countries, and that it is not a crime to kill in the name of the country.

"You can learn from this the struggling nature between countries. There are many actions which are illegal and unacceptable but which become acceptable and legal in the name of the country," Leung said. "Hong Kong must learn of the relationship between countries, especially that between our country and other major countries."

He said the prosperity of Hong Kong will depend on how the SAR handles its relationship with the mainland and he warned Hongkongers not to refer to this relationship as "Sino-Hong Kong," as this would imply they are advocating independence. "If a Taiwanese refers to the relationship between the mainland and Taiwan as Sino-Taiwan or Taiwan- China, then his stance on the cross-strait issue is clear," Leung said.

He said there is a historic reason why Hongkongers had little knowledge about the country, because the British government amended the nationality law in the 1970s, depriving some Hongkongers of their right to reside in Britain.

He also rejected any claim that the SAR enjoys "residual power" under the high degree of autonomy Beijing bestowed on Hong Kong. "China took back sovereignty and governance from Britain and it's not the case that Hong Kong gave its power to the central government," he said.

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