Legal expert's new role tied to Article 23

Money glitz | Mandy Zheng 20 May 2020

Mandy Zheng

Former liaison office legal chief Wang Zhenmin's inclusion in the Central Coordination Group on Hong Kong and Macau Affairs could suggest that the central government is making preparations to enact Article 23, sources told East Week magazine.

The publication reported that Wang, also a law professor at Tsinghua University, will be offering legal advice to the group.

Chaired by Vice Premier Han Zheng, the group is the highest de facto body for the country's policy toward Hong Kong and Macau.

Wang worked as the director of the legal affairs department at the Liaison Office of the Central People's Government in Hong Kong from 2016 to 2018, before returning to teaching.

Sources suggested that Wang's appointment could imply that legislative efforts are under way to implement Article 23, a controversial law concerning national security.

Wang is strongly in favor of enacting the legislation, calling it a "constitutional responsibility" for all stakeholders to establish the legal framework of national security.

"There's always a power in Hong Kong ... that deliberately discredits its motherland. The problem in national security is the major reason why the [protest] riots have lasted for such a long time," he said in December.

A specialist in Basic Law, Wang is considered influential in the central government's policy toward the SAR and serves on the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress that oversees the Basic Law.

During the liaison office and the Hong Kong and Macau Affairs Office reshuffles earlier this year, Wang commented that these would "strengthen the central government's thorough leadership in the two SARs."

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