22 July 2019
NPCSC delegate Tam Yiu-chung (inset) said the ban on the Hong Kong National Party of pro-independence activist Andy Chan was done according to the law and procedures.  Photo: HKEJ/RTHK
NPCSC delegate Tam Yiu-chung (inset) said the ban on the Hong Kong National Party of pro-independence activist Andy Chan was done according to the law and procedures. Photo: HKEJ/RTHK

NPCSC member says govt careful in handling ban on HKNP

Tam Yiu-chung, a Hong Kong deputy of the National People’s Congress Standing Committee (NPCSC), said the Security Bureau has been careful in imposing a ban on the pro-independence Hong Kong National Party (HKNP), the Hong Kong Economic Journal reports.

Tam said he believes the government will not expand or extend the use of the Societies Ordinance unlimitedly when it comes to banning other political groups.

Secretary for Security John Lee Ka-chiu formally banned the HKNP on Monday, making it the first political organization to be outlawed since the 1997 handover.

While Lee did not specify in a media session on Monday whether advocating self-determination and advocating independence are the same, his decision has sparked concerns that the government may be targeting more groups.

Pro-democracy parties have opposed the ban, saying it violates the people’s freedom of expression.

Tam, who was elected to join China’s top legislative body in March, told a radio program on Tuesday that people who dislike the idea of Hong Kong independence should agree with the decision to ban the HKNP, public broadcaster RTHK reported.

People can tell which groups have been acting to realize the idea, he said.

In fact, Tam said, some people in the central government questioned why the Security Bureau took so long to impose the ban.

He said that’s because the bureau wanted to be very careful before doing so and imposed it fully according to the law and procedures, noting that it even allowed the HKNP to appeal the decision to the Chief Executive in Council within 30 days, in order to avoid applications for a judicial review.

Asked if other political groups, such as Demosistō, which advocates self-determination, will also be banned, Tam did not give a straight answer, but said other groups will be fine as long as they do not violate the Basic Law and the constitution. 

The government will be carefully making every step in this regard, he said.

The NPCSC member also called on the incumbent government led by Chief Executive Lam Cheng Yuet-ngo to enact Article 23, which requires Hong Kong to implement laws against treason, secession, sedition and subversion, RTHK reported.

Commenting on the ban on the HKNP, Foreign Ministry spokesperson Geng Shuang said at a daily press briefing on Tuesday that foreign governments and institutions should respect China’s sovereignty and territorial integrity and stop interfering in Hong Kong affairs, calling the move to bar the group from operating in accordance with the law and legal procedures a necessary action.

Meanwhile, the Organized Crime and Triad Bureau of the Hong Kong Police Force will follow up on the HKNP ban. It will also ask Facebook to remove the group’s account on its social platform.

Reacting to the ban, youth activist and Demosistō secretary-general Joshua Wong Chi-fun asked the government for a definition of endangering national and public security, which it gave as a reason for banning HKNP.

HKNP convenor Andy Chan Ho-tin told an online radio program on Monday that he was waiting for legal opinions before deciding on his next move.

Several hours after the ban on the HKNP was announced, a post on a Facebook page named “Hong Kong Communist Party” said, in traditional Chinese, that it has written a letter to Lee to inform him about setting up the party, saying if it did not receive a reply from Lee, the party would interpret it as having no opposition to the establishment of the party.

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