National People’s Congress Standing Committee (NPCSC) member Tam Yiu-chung on Sunday gave assurances that Beijing won’t be adding to its new national security law for Hong Kong for at least one year, though he stressed that it has full right to make changes when needed.
Tam was speaking two days after Deng Zhonghua, deputy director of the Hong Kong and Macau Affairs Office, said that the power of the NPCSC to improve the SAR’s legal framework to protect national security isn't limited to just one law.
Deng said the Standing Committee can make new laws to criminalise other acts not yet covered, that threaten national security.
“Of course the Standing Committee has the right”, Tam told reporters on Sunday.
If there’s something that needed to be improved, clarified, or amended, he added, “the Standing Committee will consider.”
However, he said this won’t happen in the short term, and it should be at least one year before any changes are made.
Tam also downplayed concerns over the impact of the law, noting that only ten people were arrested for allegedly violating the new legislation during clashes on July 1.
“Out of seven-odd million Hongkongers, only ten people [were arrested]. You tell me if this is a majority”, he quipped.
He also says the law hasn’t affected freedom of expression here, even though the government has pulled at least nine titles written by democracy advocates and localists from the shelves of public libraries for ‘review’.
Books by authors such as former Demosisto leader Joshua Wong and Civic Party legislator Tanya Chan have been taken out of circulation.
But Tam thinks the authorities just want to make sure that they don't promote secession, sedition, or terrorism.
"If you just criticise the government, no problem", he said.
'No additions to security law for one more year'
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