Pledge to peaceful separatists

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 26 July, 1997, 12:00am
UPDATED : Saturday, 26 July, 1997, 12:00am

Protests calling for independence from China would not provoke police action if conducted peacefully, provisional legislators were told yesterday.

Acting Secretary for Security Carrie Yau Tsang Ka-lai told the security panel police would not act against a meeting or rally advocating separation if there was no imminent threat to peace.

'The least extent of regulation will be imposed only if disorder arises,' she said. 'Individual troublemakers would be taken to the police station 'for a cup of tea', just as we did on handover night, without disturbing the activity.

'We will take 'advocacy' in its ordinary and natural meaning as the term has never been tested in court.' In an attempt to justify the guidelines for national security in the amended public order and societies ordinances, Mrs Yau said the Government would act 'reasonably and only in necessity'.

Ma Fung-kwok asked whether the ban on advocating separation from China applied only to the independence of Taiwan and Tibet, as the guidelines mentioned.

Mrs Yau said it applied to all parts of China.