The Chinese government still refuses to publish the full text of the “national security law” it will soon impose on Hong Kong.
Former Hong Kong Secretary for Justice Elsie Leung, a supporter of the regime, said Thursday that Beijing is keeping the law under wraps because publishing it might “trigger public events and strong opposition,” including “destructive behavior.”
“Beijing does not want to cause violent behavior of this kind,” said Leung in an interview with Radio Television Hong Kong (RTHK).
Leung argued the Chinese government has already released sufficient details of the national security law, including a broad description of the crimes it will cover — “secession, subversion, terrorism, and collusion with foreign or external forces” — and changes to the judicial process, notably including judges appointed by Hong Kong’s Beijing-controlled executive instead of the city’s independent judiciary committee.
Leung insisted in another interview this week that taking judicial appointments away from the committee would not undermine the independence of the judiciary.
According to Leung, Beijing’s rubber-stamp legislature, the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress, has already “heard the views” of the people of Hong Kong and has “a lot of discussions” available for reference as it crafts the security legislation, so there is no need to publicize the details for further debate.
The Hong Kong Free Press (HKFP) quoted other “pro-Beijing figures” who said they expected the national security law to be passed very soon, possibly at this weekend’s meeting of the Standing Committee, although the law is not on the official agenda. Among other clues signalling a vote on the security law, a delegation from Hong Kong has been invited to attend the congressional meeting in Beijing, including members of the island’s Basic Law Committee.
“Everyone hopes this trip will be worth it,” said Basic Law Committee vice-chairwoman Maria Tam, one of the invited guests.
Much as Leung insisted stripping the Hong Kong judiciary of its power to appoint judges in “national security” cases would not compromise its independence, Tam claimed the National People’s Congress would “try its best” to consider the views of Hong Kongers even though it has no intention of allowing them to speak.
“If you are opposing [the security law] in principle, and think it is not needed, there is nothing left to be discussed,” she said.
HKFP noted that according to the latest polls, 57 percent of Hong Kongers oppose the law with 49 percent of them “strongly” opposing it.