HK lawyers propose anti-independence law

By Yuen Yeuk-laam Source:Global Times Published: 2015-4-7 0:58:02

Draft written due to fears about rise of 'separatist' feelings: expert

Several Hong Kong legal experts have proposed a draft of an anti-Hong Kong independence law, which aims to clamp down on behavior that encourages secession and prevent the spread of "separatism."

Over 30 lawyers from the China-Australia (CA) Legal Exchange Foundation, a group that seeks to strengthen exchanges between the Chinese mainland and Hong Kong, started a four-day visit to Beijing on April 1 and have visited the Supreme People's Court, the Hong Kong and Macao Affairs Office of the State Council and the Basic Law Committee to discuss the details of the anti-independence law with officials.

"We hope the law will be introduced at the national level and will allow the Hong Kong legislative body to sentence offenders during political emergencies," Lawrence Ma, president of the CA Legal Exchange Foundation and lawyer, told the Global Times Monday.

He explained that the proposal was drafted after the group saw the potential for a rise in Hong Kong separatism following a series of small-scale protests initiated by local radical groups angry at Chinese mainland shoppers and behavior such as people waving Hong Kong flags dating from the British colonial era and haranguing mainlanders.

According to Ma, the draft law states that any secession-promoting behavior would be considered a criminal offence and anyone found to have promoted Hong Kong's independence, disrupted social order because of localism or to have funded such acts could face criminal charges.

"Secession here is defined as an attempt to separate any part of China's national territory from Chinese sovereignty," Ma said.

He added that the group is now planning to discuss the draft further with the Hong Kong government.

"Head of the Basic Law Committee, Li Fei highly praised the draft and the fact that a group of Hong Kong lawyers are concerned about relations between the mainland and Hong Kong," Ma noted.

Tian Feilong, a legal expert at Beijing's Beihang University, said that the draft's function would be similar to the anti-secession law that applies to Taiwan but that the exact details would likely be different.

He also said the law may act as a remedy to the fact that Article 23 of Hong Kong's Basic Law has not been implemented in the region due to obstruction by opposition groups since 2003. Article 23 contains provisions to counter possible acts of treason, secession, subversion and sedition.

Posted in: HK/Macao/Taiwan

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