Article 23 bill to be tabled to Legco soon: Govt - RTHK
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Article 23 bill to be tabled to Legco soon: Govt

2024-02-21 HKT 16:39
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  • Article 23 bill to be tabled to Legco soon: Govt
Secretary for Security Chris Tang on Wednesday said the government will soon table a bill to Legco on Basic Law Article 23 national security legislation, adding he expects more push-back on the issue from forces outside of Hong Kong.

The consultation period ends next week.

Speaking after a meeting with lawmakers, the security minister said the leaking of state secrets, foreign intervention and sedition are issues that weigh most on people's minds when it comes to Article 23.

Tang reassured the public that those who conduct general research or carry out analysis would not fall foul of leaking state secrets, insisting that there are several key specific elements for the crime, including the likelihood of endangering national security by disclosing secrets concerning major government policies.

The minister added that general exchanges with foreign groups wouldn't constitute a crime under external interference, saying that would have to include the collaboration with an external force to engage in improper activities to influence or interfere with the government, the legislature and the courts.

Tang stressed it's fine for people to criticise the government based on justifiable facts, saying it actually welcomes such criticism.

He said the proposed laws are mainly targeting sedition and the use of provocative wording, and he expects more smearing of the proposals from outside forces to continue.

"I believe the people have discerning eyes. The Article 23 legislation is to target these people who endanger national security," he told reporters after an ante-chamber meeting with lawmakers.

"Those targeted include foreign forces, people who fled Hong Kong for overseas... We expect these people will conduct a bigger smearing campaign against the bill once it's tabled to the legislature."

DAB lawmaker Holden Chow said the dialogue with officials was useful. He said everyone the party has met with, including those in the community, as well as local and foreign chambers of commerce, all support the national security legislation.

Meanwhile, unionist lawmaker Stanley Ng said he thinks Article 23 should have provisions allowing Beijing to handle major cases that Hong Kong cannot deal with, similar to the National Security Law.

Article 23 bill to be tabled to Legco soon: Govt