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Hong Kong Security Chief: Article 23 Legislation Encompassing Espionage and Cyber Crimes

In an interview published today by Ta Kung Pao, Hong Kong Police Commissioner Chris Tang Ping-keung discussed the upcoming legislation regarding article 23 of the Basic Law. Tang stated that the legislation would take into account the recent situation in Hong Kong and the national security risks faced by the city from China.

He emphasized that individuals who pose a threat to China’s national security continue to engage in various forms of advocacy, infiltration, and collusion with foreign forces. Online platforms are frequently used to incite actions that endanger national security.

Tang noted that, in recent years, Hong Kong has experienced acts of “soft subversion” and that online discourse and publications can easily escalate tensions in society.

He also highlighted the significance of espionage risks and mentioned that intelligence agencies from other countries have openly expressed their intention to recruit secret agents from different nations and organizations globally, in order to gather sensitive information about China.

Therefore, the Hong Kong government is examining areas not covered by the existing national security law and current legislation, such as espionage activities and gaps related to online platforms. The aim is to develop effective and pragmatic measures and provisions to enhance the mechanisms for safeguarding national security.

Tang stated that, among the seven categories of behaviors that should be legislated under Article 23 of the Basic Law, the Hong Kong national security law covers two: secession and subversion of the central government in Beijing. However, the existing local laws only cover certain aspects, indicating the need for further improvement.

Chief Executive Carrie Lam previously stated that the legislation for the article should be completed no later than next year.

Source: Ta Kung Pao (Hong Kong), July, 3, 2023