25 March 2019
The pan-democrats' silence in the ongoing debate over a national security law could mean they want to avoid incriminating themselves. Photo: HKEJ
The pan-democrats' silence in the ongoing debate over a national security law could mean they want to avoid incriminating themselves. Photo: HKEJ

Are pan-democrats a threat to national security?

Some pro-Beijing groups are hell-bent on getting the National People’s Congress (NPC) to implement China’s state security law in Hong Kong.

They want to make sure the proposal is on the agenda of the NPC session in March. 

NPC deputy Stanley Ng, who heads the powerful Federation of Trade Unions, says it will be a temporary measure until Hong Kong passes its own national security law.

The question is, just who is a threat to Hong Kong’s security?

Ng thinks it is the political opposition. “Someone may have done something that threatens national security. That’s why they are opposed to my idea.”

To be precise, it’s the pan-democrats or whichever groups supported the street occupation, whose frequent communication with foreign politicians and diplomats made them a national security risk.


Ng gave no evidence of these supposed “dangerous liaisons”. Instead, he went on to speculate about so-called “external forces” based on information hacked from the computer of Next Media founder and democracy activist Jimmy Lai.

Hong Kong people are smart. They instinctively know when they’re facing a security threat.

Hong Kong is not Xinjiang. Extremists who have been carrying out a reign of terror in the northwestern region are a bigger threat to national security than those “external forces”.

Clearly, Beijing loyalists are pushing for national security legislation under Article 23 of the Basic Law to put up defenses against a resurgent democracy movement in Hong Kong in the wake of the 79-day street protests. 

They want a weapon to crush dissent.

But in the meantime, they want China’s draconian state security law implemented in Hong Kong, pending reintroduction of the stalled national security bill. 

The Hong Kong government and the pro-Beijing camp want to regain the moral high ground from the democracy movement and make the case that protecting the state is the responsibility of everyone in Hong Kong.

At the same time, they want to deflect public attention from the fight for genuine democracy and universal suffrage.

On the other hand, pro-democracy groups are in a difficult position.

The government has already branded their activities in the recent protests illegal and accused them of colluding with foreigners.

If a national security law is passed, they will be among the first targets.

Their silence in the ongoing public debate over the proposal could mean they’re trying to avoid incriminating themselves.

In 2003, thousands of Hong Kong people took to the streets to oppose the proposed national security law.

They were alarmed by its oppressive provisions that would allow authorities to search their homes and offices, clamp down on freedom of assembly and expression and limit contact with foreigners.

Ng is a rising star in the pro-Beijing establishment but he is also a Hong Kong person.

He is no stranger to Hong Kong people’s sentiment when it comes to their cherished freedoms. He should play a constructive role in ensuring those freedoms instead of stifling them to please Beijing.

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EJ Insight writer

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