Pass security laws, ex-DAB chief says

Hong Kong people should not ignore their duties as Chinese citizens as they fight for universal suffrage, an executive councillor said yesterday.

Those duties included supporting the enactment of laws to safeguard national security, said Tsang Yok-sing.

Mr Tsang, founding chairman of the Democratic Alliance for the Betterment and Progress of Hong Kong, told a seminar it was wrong for people to demand universal suffrage while opposing the need to pass national security legislation.

Mr Tsang's remarks come a week after Wang Zhenmin, deputy dean of Tsinghua University's law school, cited the absence of national security legislation as one of six reasons why Hong Kong was not ready for universal suffrage.

The proposed legislation was shelved in 2003 after more than 500,000 people took to the streets in opposition. 'There is room for discussion on whether the national security legislation should be passed after the introduction of universal suffrage or the other way round,' Mr Tsang said.

'But Hong Kong people should be aware of their obligations as Chinese citizens during their fight for full democracy.'

He said mainland officials had asked him after the 2003 march how they could trust Hong Kong people to elect their own leader when they were reluctant to pass laws to safeguard national security.

Mr Tsang said some educators in Hong Kong still resisted 'patriotic education' - or efforts to enhance the national consciousness of Hong Kong people.

Hang Lung Group chairman Ronnie Chan Chi-chung, also speaking at the event organised by the Hong Kong Development Forum, agreed there was a need to step up patriotic education in Hong Kong, and urged the government to take a lead.