Vetoing all govt funding request can be illegal: Ronny Tong

Local | 6 Jan 2021 7:13 pm

Vetoing all government funding requests could constitute subversion, Executive Council member Ronny Tong Ka-wah said.

However, he does not see how the primary election can violate national security law.
Tong said voting against the government's motion is normal and does not constitute subversion.

"The only situation where there is a chance of violating National Security law is if lawmakers rejected all government funding requests causing the government to have no money in conducting governance work," Tong said. "In that case, it might seriously interfere with the performance of duties and functions by the body of power," 

An offender of subversion is a person who "organizes, plans, commits or participates" in certain actions "with a view to subverting the State power" using "force or threat of force or other unlawful means". Tong said he does not see that the primary election is an "unlawful means".

According to article 22 of national security law, those certain actions include overthrowing the body of power of China or Hong Kong. It may also refer to seriously interfering, disrupting, undermining the performance of duty and functions of government bodies. 

The penalty given to subversion offenders depends on the level of participation, principal offenders may risk a maximum of life imprisonment or not less than ten years. Those who “actively participates” may be sentenced to three to ten years. The others could be jailed for less than three years.

Lau Siu-kai, vice president of the Chinese Association of Hong Kong and Macau Studies, said on the same program as Tong that the government has warned last year that the primary election may violate the National Security law. He added the authoritativeness and deterrent effect of the law will greatly reduce if the government does not take action.

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