Tam tells of the right time for Article 23

Top News | Michael Shum 4 May 2020

Hong Kong should enact legislation on national security law under Article 23 by August next year, says National People's Congress Standing Committee member Tam Yiu-chung.

Tam said it should be up to the SAR government to decide how to legislate the Basic Law's Article 23 and the exact timetable.

"Although the government should decide how and when to enact the laws, making it a national law and putting it under Annex 3 of the Basic Law could be one of the methods," Tam said.

Annex 3 is a list of national laws to be applied in Hong Kong. There are five currently listed - including laws on the national flag and emblem, as well as the garrisoning of mainland military personnel in the SAR.

In a television program at the weekend, Tam explained that enacting national security laws is to fight against "Hong Kong independence."

He added: "If we do not have national security laws, how are we going to safeguard national security, national sovereignty and the development interest of our country?"

Tam said it would be not possible for current lawmakers to enact the law, as their term will end in July, but added he hoped the law will be in place by next year.

Article 23 was proposed for legislating in 2003 by then chief executive Tung Chee-wah, resulting in mass protests that forced the proposal to be shelved and then-secretary for security Regina Ip Lau Suk-yee to resign.

"It would not spark as many negative reactions as in the first attempt in 2003 and the anti-fugitive bill saga last year if the government explains clearly that the laws are solely for those advocating independence and sedition," Tam said.

He also defended a statement by the Liaison Office of the Central Government in Hong Kong which criticized the "yellow economy" as a bid by pan-democratic politicians "to grab more seats in the upcoming Legislative Council elections." Tam called it an analysis of society and a warning to the public.

This came as former chief executive Leung Chun-ying said people could report to acts of "yellow merchants" that they suspect breach laws to him, the authorities or pro-establishment lawmakers.

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