Proposed separatism law 'double legislation'

PUBLISHED : Monday, 24 May, 2004, 12:00am
UPDATED : Monday, 24 May, 2004, 12:00am

Plans to include Hong Kong in a national unification law being drafted in Beijing to curb separatism were a double up and contradicted the Basic Law, Democratic Party legislator Szeto Wah said yesterday.

The chairman of the Hong Kong Alliance in Support of the Patriotic Democratic Movement in China said secession offences were already covered by Article 23 of the Basic Law, which says Hong Kong shall enact its own legislation.

'Is this double legislation? There is a conflict between implementing the unification law in Hong Kong and Article 23,' he said.

On Friday, Beijing said a unification law being considered would also apply to Hong Kong and Macau, raising fears that a more draconian version of Article 23 legislation would be imposed after a mass protest last July forced the government to withdraw the bill.

Separately, representatives of the pro-Taiwan Hong Kong & Kowloon Trades Union Council yesterday petitioned the government and urged Beijing to shelve the legislation.

They feared pro-Taiwan groups would lose their freedom to take part in Taiwan affairs.

Secretary for Justice Elsie Leung Oi-sie said it was unfair to criticise the unity law before more details of the legislation were available.

Wong Man-kong, a local deputy to the National People's Congress, believed that there would be wide public consultation if the bill were to be introduced in Hong Kong.

The Hong Kong government issued a statement saying core values enjoyed by people in the city, such as a free society and the rule of law, remained intact.

Despite Beijing's decision to rule out universal suffrage in 2007, the government said there remained plenty of scope for changes to enhance the electoral system.

A government taskforce will hold its first seminar on political reforms today.