Three-pronged approach for disputed article
By CONNIE LAW in Beijing
A THREE-PRONGED approach will be adopted to implement the controversial Article 23 of the Basic Law, a member of the Preliminary Working Committee's legal sub-group, Tam Yiu-chung, said yesterday.
The article says there should be laws to prohibit, among other issues, treason, secession, sedition and subversion against the Central People's Government, theft of state secrets, and local bodies establishing ties with foreign political groups.
Mr Tam said the sub-group suggested restoring the pre-1992 version of the Societies Ordinance to ban parties from having links with overseas political bodies.
The Official Secrets Act should also be adapted, although no decision had been taken on which version should be used. Hong Kong is currently bound by the 1989 version.
The sub-group also noted the Crimes Ordinance had provisions to ban treason and sedition. But it still has to sort out how to legislate against secession and subversion.
The sub-group also called for the overturning of a new ordinance to set up an independent watchdog body for the Legislative Council.
Acting sub-group convenor Lo Tak-shing said members believed the Legislative Council Commission Ordinance had to be repealed because it was a by-product of Governor Chris Patten's political reforms.
But Legco house committee chairman, Dr Leong Che-hung, said the ordinance sought to help the establishment of an independent administrative arm for Legco to better supervise the administration.
'It's not political. If it is scrapped, it will not be able to supervise the government independently,' he said.
Meanwhile, Mr Tam said the sub-group would not take a stance on the Mandatory Provident Fund Ordinance as its subsidiary legislation was not ready yet.
But he warned the amended New Territories Land Exemption Ordinance was unacceptable because it altered the definition of indigenous villagers. The law allows women to inherit New Territories land.
Mr Tam did not rule out more amendment bills being repealed as new laws were enacted in the run-up to the handover.