Last Sunday, dozens of Beijing officials and local political heavyweights attended a symposium marking National Security Education Day in Hong Kong.
It was organized by Hong Kong Vision, a think tank initiated by former Legislative Council president Jasper Tsang Yok-sing.
According to the political rumor mill, Beijing tapped the highly popular Tsang for the “mission” to raise the awareness of national security in Hong Kong.
Among the guest speakers in the event were director of Beijing’s liaison office in Hong Kong Wang Zhimin, vice chairperson of the Legislative Affairs Commission of the National People’s Congress Standing Committee (NPCSC) Zheng Shuna, Chief Executive Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor and Hong Kong Monetary Authority chief executive Norman Chan Tak-lam.
Also present were vice chairman of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference Tung Chee-hwa and deputy director of the HKSAR Basic Law Committee of NPCSC Elsie Leung Oi-sie.
In his speech, Wang assumed a tough tone in urging Hong Kong to enact the national security law.
Hong Kong Vision said the seminar was prepared about a month ago, but many believe it was hard for such a high-profile event to take place without the support of Beijing’s liaison office and the SAR government.
Beijing’s decision to tap Tsang for the “mission” appears to have paid off; so far the seminar hasn’t drawn any criticism.
Government sources denied speculation that the symposium was aimed at paving the path for the enactment of Article 23 of the Basic Law. But it can be inferred from Wang’s speech that the pressure to enact Article 23 is mounting.
It is deemed that the proposed legislation to enact Article 23, which the SAR government will put forward in the coming days, is likely to be a lot more rigorous and heavy-handed than the one proposed by the former administration back in 2003. For example, it might even ban discussion of Hong Kong independence.
Meanwhile, hot on the heels of Sunday’s symposium, Qiao Xiaoyang, former chairman of the NPC Law Committee, will be visiting Hong Kong this Thursday to attend a closed-door seminar for civil servants on Friday and a public symposium on the 28th anniversary of the promulgation of the Basic Law the next day.
As some pan-democrats have put it, Qiao’s visit, again, is hardly a coincidence either.
This article appeared in the Hong Kong Economic Journal on April 17
Translation by Alan Lee
[Chinese version 中文版]
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