Article 23 moves have to ensure protection of legitimate rights
- Communication is also of the essence now that Hong Kong has been told to take further measures just one year after the Beijing-imposed national security law
A year after the imposition of the controversial national security law, Hong Kong has been told to go further. This includes legislating against other offences under Article 23 of the Basic Law and strengthening safeguards in a more holistic approach to defending city and state. To those who find the security law sweeping and unclear, the latest order has inevitably fuelled further concern. While the pressure for the city to clean up its act even more is likely to prevail, this is an evolving process that requires more time and full public engagement, taking into account the actual needs and the city’s way of life and protection enshrined in the mini-constitution.
The comparison does not necessarily mean Hong Kong must copy the mainland regime. Article 23 stipulates that the city shall enact laws in seven areas, including treason, secession, sedition, subversion, theft of state secrets, foreign political organisations conducting political activities in the city as well as local groups establishing ties with foreign political bodies. Similarly, the national security law only targets subversion, secession, terrorism and collusion with external forces. But the law also states that the government shall take necessary measures to strengthen public communication, guidance, supervision and regulation over matters concerning national security, including those relating to schools, universities, social organisations, the media, and the internet. Chief Executive Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor has also vowed to implement new laws and spur government departments to do more to combat what she characterised as lingering risks.