Western countries' security laws are more vague: SJ - RTHK
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Western countries' security laws are more vague: SJ

2024-03-23 HKT 13:04
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  • Western countries' security laws are more vague: SJ
Secretary for Justice Paul Lam on Saturday lashed out at Western countries for slamming Hong Kong's domestic national security legislation, saying they should look at their own laws before casting aspersions on the SAR.

Speaking on a radio programme, Lam accused countries that have criticised the new law - the Safeguarding National Security Ordinance - of twisting facts.

"They put things out of context and even distort them. But they keep coming back to the same points - how the legislation infringes on human rights and freedoms... it’s vague and worries a lot of people. I’d like to ask: if you say our security law is vague, have you looked at your own?" he added.

Lam called Britain’s own definition of state secrets ambiguous, and said Australia’s threshold for the offence of external interference is low.

"Is their legislation better than ours in terms of scope and ambiguity? If our law is vague, then theirs is very vague or extremely vague." he said.

The justice chief also said Hong Kong had lacked comprehensive legal tools to safeguard national security, so the government needed to enact the legislation as quickly as possible.

During the same radio programme, Secretary for Security Chris Tang said an elevated national security risk has made it urgent to enact the legislation.

"You can see from news reports that there are daily attempts to smear Hong Kong. The intelligence agencies of some foreign countries say they need to strengthen and enhance their intelligence work on our country. Therefore, the risks are indeed very high, and we had to complete the legislation as soon as possible," he explained.

Tang also said communicating with foreign organisations, as long as it does not interfere with the operation of the nation and the SAR, would not violate the new law, which introduces the offence of "external interference," targeting collaborations between people and "external forces".

The security minister encouraged local news organisations to engage in communication with foreign media groups.

Western countries' security laws are more vague: SJ