The Bar Association has asked the National People’s Congress Standing Committee for a copy of the draft national security legislation for Hong Kong when it is ready.
In a letter to the NPCSC which is drafting the legislation through the Liaison Office of Hong Kong, the barristers’ group also said it was crucial for the committee to have a “meaningful public consultation.”
Bar Association chairman Philip Dykes wrote the letter to the Liaison Office director Luo Huining on Tuesday on behalf of the association.
“As one of the professional legal bodies in the HKSAR, we strive to uphold the Basic Law and the rule of law in the HKSAR and we thus hope to express our views on the proposed legislation as an effort towards the upholding of the rule of law,” Dykes said in the letter.
The legislation has generated widespread concern within the local community over the proposed law’s impact on Hong Kong residents – including overseas nationals and businesses once it is promulgated, he said.
Dykes suggested the NPCSC conduct public consultations with Hong Kong people on the proposed law due to the differences between the two systems and “would reinforce the intent and spirit of the consultation under Article 13 (3) of the Basic Law.”
He hoped to receive a copy of the draft legislation when it is ready and offer “constructive” comments on it. “We would, therefore, be grateful to be given sight of the first draft of the proposed legislation as soon as is practicable.”
The letter was written after the National People’s Congress approved the proposal to impose new national security legislation for Hong Kong last Thursday.
The NPCSC will be drafting the law, which could be in place by August.
The Bar Association said on May 25 that Beijing appears to have no legal authority to enact the proposed law by promulgation under Article 18 of the Basic Law.
It said the absence of public consultation is “unprecedented” and the public “must be allowed” an opportunity to consider and debate the proposed law.