Date
23 September 2018
Authorities are likely to wait until after the 2020 Legco election before taking up the issue of enactment of a national security law, according to some members of Hong Kong’s pro-establishment camp. Photo: Bloomberg
Authorities are likely to wait until after the 2020 Legco election before taking up the issue of enactment of a national security law, according to some members of Hong Kong’s pro-establishment camp. Photo: Bloomberg

Why Beijing is unlikely to push HK security law before 2020

Key members of the pro-establishment Hong Kong Federation of Trade Unions (HKFTU) will travel to Beijing either at the end of this month or in early September, as per a tentative plan.

According to some HKFTU members, the trip to Beijing this time is mainly to attend a crash course at the Chinese Academy of Governance to learn more about the current state of affairs of the mainland. 

Apart from that, however, it is widely expected that delegates of the HKFTU, one of Beijing’s most trusted political groups in Hong Kong, are likely to meet with the government officials responsible for affairs of Hong Kong and Macau during the trip, and may return with important messages from Beijing leaders to the people of Hong Kong.

Some in the HKFTU have anticipated that Hong Kong independence and the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Bay Area project are very likely to be their main discussion topics when meeting with Beijing officials.

As to the growing public concern that Beijing might turn up the heat on the Hong Kong government about enactment of Article 23 of the Basic Law, following the recent speech given at Hong Kong’s Foreign Correspondents’ Club by independence advocate and Hong Kong National Party (HKNP) convenor Andy Chan Ho-tin, some in the pro-establishment camp have said that such concern is unwarranted.

Nor do they see the enactment of Article 23, under which Hong Kong is required to put in place a law to curb perceived anti-national activities, as imminent.

It is because, they explained, on one hand, Chan was apparently trying to provoke controversies with his speech, hence no need to play right into his hands.

Then on the other, since the District Council election and the Legislative Council election will be taking place next year and the year after the next respectively, initiating the process of enacting the highly divisive Article 23 at this point would definitely undermine the election prospects of pro-Beijing candidates and give the pan-dems a huge advantage.

Besides, they added, even though Zhang Xiaoming, director of the Hong Kong and Macau Affairs Office, had told the media earlier that Chan and his HKNP might have been suspected of violating article 9 of the Crimes Ordinance, all he said recently was that perhaps the people of Hong Kong can think about this issue (i.e. the enactment of Article 23 of the Basic Law).

As far as Chief Executive Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor is concerned, she also reiterated, a day after Zhang’s remarks, that “there has never been any particular timetable for enacting Article 23”.

As such, the pro-establishment camp members believe that both Beijing and the HKSAR government are highly unlikely to deal with the politically radioactive issue head-on any time before the 2020 Legco election.

This article appeared in the Hong Kong Economic Journal on Aug 20

Translation by Alan Lee

[Chinese version 中文版]

– Contact us at [email protected]

JC/RC

Columnist of Hong Kong Economic Journal.

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