Chief Executive Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor warned the government will not tolerate any act that advocates Hong Kong independence and threatens the country’s sovereignty, security and development interests.
“We will fearlessly take actions against such acts according to the law in order to safeguard the interests of the country and Hong Kong,” Lam said in her policy address before the Legislative Council on Wednesday.
“To nip the problem in the bud, we have also reinforced among all sectors understanding of the Constitution, the Basic Law and national security and fostered an awareness of ‘One Country’ in the community,” she added.
The chief executive said the government has the constitutional responsibility to legislate Article 23 of the Basic Law in order to safeguard national security.
While maintaining that right timing is needed to enact the national security law, Lam stressed: “It does not suggest that we will turn a blind eye to the acts of violating the Constitution and the Basic Law, attempting to secede from the country and endangering national security; or our existing laws will be put aside and never be applied to deal with certain acts that should be prohibited.”
She said the move banning the pro-independence Hong Kong National Party (HKNP) by applying the provisions of the Societies Ordinance is a “strong testimony” to the government’s stance.
In her speech, Lam did not touch on the controversy surrounding the Immigration Department’s refusal to renew the work visa of British journalist Victor Mallet of the Financial Times.
Pan-democrats and other groups suspect the move was in retribution to Mallet’s previous decision to invite HKNP leader Andy Chan Ho-tin to speak at the Foreign Correspondents’ Club despite the government’s warning not to do so.
However, Lam has dismissed as “pure speculation” allegations that the visa rejection was politically motivated.
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