A group of legal experts has called for the deletion of the notion of national security as a ground for restrictions on the right of freedom of assembly proposed by the future government. The call was made by 17 academics and teaching staff of the law faculty at the University of Hong Kong in a joint submission to the Chief Executive-designate's office. The signatories include Professor Raymond Wacks, Professor Peter Wesley-Smith, Professor Albert Chen Hung-yee, Professor Yash Ghai and Andrew Byrnes. They said: 'Given the loose and indiscriminate reference to the term 'national security' in the People's Republic of China, the worries of many Hong Kong people are understandable.' They said that under the 'Syracuse Principles', which represent the consensus of international jurists, national security should be confined to those situations where 'the existence of a nation or its territorial integrity or political independence is endangered by force or the threat of force'. 'Even if we adopt the so-called wider definition . . . as referred to by the Chief Executive-designate's office, that the activity concerned must still threaten 'the existence of the state', it is impossible to imagine how a public procession . . . in Hong Kong . . . may threaten the existence of China as a whole or its territorial integrity or political independence.' Even under an extreme scenario, they said, the police would be able to impose the necessary control on the grounds of 'public order and public safety' stipulated in the existing law. And even if the concept had to be retained in the Public Order Ordinance, they proposed confining 'national security' to those situations where the 'existence of China or its territorial integrity or political independence is endangered by force or the threat of force'. Mere local or isolated threats should be excluded. The academics also opposed replacing the notification system with the issuing of a 'notice of no objection' for rallies, because it would give an impression that holding a public procession was a 'privilege' to be granted by the police, but not a 'right' in the Basic Law and International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.