Fears 'rule of man will basically hit everyone'

Top News | 2 Jul 2020

The pan-democrat camp has slammed the new law for overriding the Basic Law by permanently banning those who commit offenses from running for electoral office.

In a media briefing, opposition convener Tanya Chan said the law had made amendments to both the Basic Law and common law in Hong Kong.

Currently, the Basic Law prohibits those who have been criminally convicted and sentenced to more than three months in jail from standing in any elections in the next five years.

"The situation has turned into a rule of man," Chan said. "We cannot go back to the old systems Hong Kong used to have."

Hong Kong First's Claudia Mo Man-ching said the SAR no longer has press freedom, and journalists could be in serious trouble for publishing "sensitive" information.

"Anyone giving or disseminating any [sensitive] material or information to a journalist, and this journalist [who] publishes information obtained in such a manner, both parties could be in dire trouble," said Mo, a former journalist.

She added the law serves as a "total demolition" of press freedom, which acts as the last defense in all civil societies.

"This is not rule of law. This is not even rule by law. This is rule by decree."

The Hong Kong Journalists Association also raised concerns over the press being the target, as journalists might be deemed to have "incited or advocated" terrorism, secession and subversion when covering related events.

It said journalists will find difficulties when doing interviews since the chief executive and prosecutors are authorized to request anyone who possesses information or material relevant to offenses endangering national security to answer questions or furnish such material.

The Democratic Party's James To Kun-sun said the SAR's governing principle has become "one country, one system" and blasted Beijing for forcing the mainland's style of prosecution and conviction onto the local law system.

The Labour Party's Fernando Cheung Chiu-hung said the law can affect "basically everyone" in Hong Kong, from journalists, teachers, cultural workers to religious groups.

"This law is arbitrary," Cheung said.

"The central government and the chief executive have absolute authority. They can arrest anyone they want."

Civic Party lawmaker Dennis Kwok Wing-hang said the independence of the judiciary has vanished under the new law, but he urged people not to be cowed.

"My advice to the Hong Kong people is: do not let fear into your hearts because this is exactly what they want to do If you let fear dominate your soul and your heart, then they will win," Kwok said.

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