- We have an undeniable constitutional duty to enact legislation on treason, secession, sedition and subversion, but just imagine what terrifying internal upheaval we may face if we go ahead with it
Some influential voices allied with the government are again pushing for legislation on treason, secession, sedition and subversion under Article 23 of the Basic Law. I have no idea how serious they are about it.
If a mere proposed extradition law could plunge Hong Kong into eight months of unprecedented violence and riots, I fear what a draft Article 23 law would do to the city.
I don't deny it is our constitutional duty to enact it. On the other hand, it's also in our own interest not to commit suicide.
The "yellow" camp has been trying to destroy the city in the name of democracy. I don't think the "blue" camp should try to launch another self-destructive war for the sake of national security.
Any Article 23 legislation would, incidentally, give Washington the perfect excuse to intervene massively in Hong Kong. Frankly, I get nauseous just hearing all the self-serving/righteous nonsense from the likes of Mike Pompeo, Mike Pence and Nancy Pelosi.
In any case, it has often been observed by legal experts from both the yellow and blue camps that we already have draconian laws to deal with emergencies. It's a question of whether our leaders have the guts to use them; so far, evidently not.
National security law not the 'highest priority' for Hong Kong
Former director of public prosecutions Grenville Cross recently wrote that under the Societies Ordinance (Cap 151), it is possible to "control the activities of foreign political organisations", on national security grounds.
He also points out that under section 11B of the United Nations (Anti-Terrorism Measures) Ordinance (Cap 575), terrorist charges can be laid against suspects. Needless for me to add, the chief executive can declare a state of emergency and invoke the awesome powers that come with it.
I am, however, being disingenuous with Cross, who was advocating Article 23 legislation in an article in China Daily. I have the greatest respect for Cross and do not presume to argue with him over points of law.
I do argue whether it is politically realistic or possible to enact it in the overall interest and welfare of the city. Cross argues we are almost halfway through "50 years of no change" guaranteed under the Basic Law and still don't have a national security law.
Let me argue the other side: we have lived and survived without it so far; we may face terrifying upheaval if we try to legislate it.
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