Liberties fears 'groundless'

PUBLISHED : Friday, 25 April, 1997, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 25 April, 1997, 12:00am

People should not associate the cases of Xi Yang and Wang Dan with 'national security', Secretary for Justice-designate Elsie Leung Oi-sie said yesterday.

To try to dispel fears about curbs on civil liberties, Ms Leung told the Chinese Manufacturers' Association that international standards would apply.

She interpreted the term as meaning territorial independence and being free from foreign political influence.

'Whenever 'national security' is talked about, many people will immediately think of [China's] national security law, Xi Yang and Wang Dan.

'What we have in mind is the term in the international covenants,' she said.

Mr Xi, a Ming Pao reporter, was sentenced to 12 years' jail in 1993 for allegedly stealing state financial secrets. He was released in January.

Wang, a leader in the 1989 pro-democracy movement, has been jailed twice for counter-revolutionary activities.

The meeting boosted support for the consultation paper on civil liberties and social order. Anna Pao Sohmen, daughter of Sir Yue-kong Pao and a Hong Kong affairs adviser, said the law was not as 'draconian' as people thought.