Article 23 caution carries day

Top News | Cindy Wan 11 Oct 2018

The government won't turn a blind eye to acts endangering national security and will use existing laws to deal with them, Carrie Lam proclaimed.

"We will fearlessly take action against such acts according to the law in order to safeguard the interests of the country and Hong Kong," she said.

Banning Hong Kong National Party under the Societies Ordinance, she added, serves as a strong reminder of the government's determination to safeguard national security.

Lam said she will listen to views on enacting an anti-subversion law in line with Article 23 of the Basic Law and explore ways to help society "respond positively to this constitutional requirement in Hong Kong."

She denied being under pressure over Article 23, adding the government currently has no legislation timetable.

Asked if she will restart the political reform to achieve universal suffrage for chief executive elections before enacting an Article 23 law, Lam said: "Universal suffrage for the chief executive is the ultimate goal. Hence, it is illogical to handle Article 45 before Article 23."

Lam also defended the Judiciary and quoted Chief Justice of the Court of Final Appeal Geoffrey Ma Tao-li as saying that "any criticism leveled against the judiciary should be on an informed basis."

When Lam entered the chamber, pan-democrat lawmakers refused to stand in protest over the unexplained visa rejection of Financial Times Asia news editor Victor Mallet, who chaired a talk for independence advocate Andy Chan Ho-tin.

Four lawmakers were ordered to leave for disturbing council proceedings, triggering a walkout by the other democrats.

Responding to the UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office's criticism over the controversy, Lam said she expects to meet its secretary Jeremy Hunt.

Lam added it was unfair of the United States to threaten the SAR in regards to Mallet's visa refusal, as Hong Kong is the place with which it has the greatest trade surplus.

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