Can an emergency be proclaimed in Hong Kong?

Source:Global Times Published: 2019/8/29 13:59:51

Can an emergency be proclaimed in HK?

Photo: Xinhua

Asked by reporters on Tuesday whether the Emergency Regulations Ordinance could be invoked, Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (SAR) Chief Executive Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor did not dismiss the speculation, but said that the SAR government has the responsibility to look into all laws in Hong Kong if they can provide a legal means to stop violence and chaos.

Ronny Tong Ka-wah, a senior barrister in Hong Kong, said in a television interview that the ordinance can be enacted when an emergency is declared in Hong Kong and public security is threatened. The chief executive and the Executive Council are allowed to invoke the ordinance without going through the Legislative Council.

Some legal experts believe that the Emergency Regulations Ordinance can serve as an effective weapon for the chief executive and her Executive Council to curb protests and chaos through legal means. They explained that the chief executive and the Executive Council are able to take action based on the ordinance, including curfews, shutting down social networking sites used by demonstrators, and making arrests and expelling protesters from the city.

Legal professionals pointed out that according to the ordinance, laws to ban wearing masks during demonstrations can be made. This has drawn public attention. Some mobs have been increasingly rampant in recent days, but their masks have made it difficult for investigations later. Legal experts stressed that such a ban will be a powerful deterrent to perpetrators.

We believe that the discussion on whether to use the Emergency Regulations Ordinance is a right step for the Hong Kong community to combat violence. Hong Kong has many more available legal resources, and activating and mobilizing them will not only have an effect, but also help maintain the consistent logic of Hong Kong's existing legal system, and make the anti-riot measures strictly follow the rule of law. 

The Emergency Regulations Ordinance as a hot-button topic shows the grim reality that the situation in Hong Kong has been difficult to control with general means. The Hong Kong SAR government and the police have always been restrained. If they are considering invoking the ordinance, it must be their last resort.

Both ordinary Hong Kong residents and the SAR government had never thought the day would come when they will need to consider invoking the emergency law. A handful of insane rioters have been worsening the violence, forcing the situation to the brink. It is unfortunate for Hong Kong as well as the rioters. 

Hundreds of thousands of people participated in massive peaceful demonstrations, which are lawful in Hong Kong. A vast majority of protesters didn't violate laws. Only a few of them challenged laws, with some going too far by damaging the rule of law of Hong Kong and thus ruining their lives. 

These people became rioters and gambled their fate. They would never win over the legal order backed by the central government. No matter how seriously thwarted, the legal order will recover in Hong Kong. However, how will the rioters, some of whom are really young, get their lives back on track? Such a pity. 

It is unrealistic to try to reshape Hong Kong's rule of law by stoking violence. Endorsed by the central government, the rule of law in the city will not be overturned by a small group of people. Stop before it is too late is the only choice for those rioters to avoid losing more. Sooner or later, Hong Kong will be back in order. 

Radical protesters who are not involved in violent activities must wake up in time so as not to be used as cannon fodder in the game of extreme opposition politicians and the game of the US against China. Even the US dares not question the fact that Hong Kong is part of China. Hongkongers, don't be manipulated! 

Newspaper headline: Can an emergency be proclaimed in HK?


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