Laws to stress national security
National security provisions are to be proposed for inclusion in replacement civil rights laws, it was revealed yesterday.
The proposals will be contained in a consultation paper to be issued by the office of Chief Executive-designate Tung Chee-hwa today after they were endorsed by his executive council yesterday.
Revisions to the Public Order and Societies ordinances are needed by July 1 because of China's decision to repeal sections it considers contravene the Basic Law.
It is understood the post-handover Cabinet has decided to adopt provisions in the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) governing the rights of assembly and freedom of association.
Article 21 of the covenant says restrictions can only be put on the right of peaceful assembly 'in the interests of national security or public safety, public order, the protection of public health or morals or the protection of the rights and freedoms of others'.
A similar provision is contained in Article 22 governing the right to freedom of association including the right to form and join trades unions.
Post-handover executive councillor Antony Leung Kam-chung said the concept of national security was entrenched in the international covenant.
'If you look at the ICCPR, there's such a provision. The Basic Law says we should abide by the ICCPR. We just follow the provisions.' Another councillor, Tam Yiu-chung, denied suggestions the changes were targeted at the Hong Kong Alliance in Support of Patriotic Democratic Movements in China, which has been branded subversive by Beijing.
He said: 'Everyone is equal before the law. We do not target specific groups.' Mr Tam said the changes were aimed at striking a balance between individual rights and social order.
Article 23 of the Basic Law says the SAR must legislate to prohibit foreign political organisations or bodies from conducting political activities in the region, and to prohibit political organisations and bodies of the region from establishing ties with foreign political organisations or bodies.
Mr Tam said the consultation paper would propose how to define political bodies and organisations, as well as 'ties'.
'We will have a set of detailed definitions,' he said.
It is understood that the consultation paper will propose banning donations from groups and individuals overseas to local political bodies.