Hong Kong will move on controversial security law, CY Leung says, as Beijing bars independence activists from Legco

by Tony Cheung, Jeffie Lam, Joyce Ng and Gary Cheung7 November, 2016 / SCMP.COM

Key points from the day:

> The National People’s Congress Standing Committee has clarified the definition and requirements of “swear in accordance with the law” in Article 104 of Hong Kong’s Basic Law – which covers members’ oaths – following the ongoing Legislative Council oath-taking controversy

> A spokesman for the Hong Kong and Macau Affairs Office said: “[Beijing] will absolutely neither permit anyone advocating secession in Hong Kong – nor allow any pro-independence activists – to enter a government institution.”

> Following Beijing’s decision, Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying said Hong Kong would enact Article 23, a controversial provision of the Basic Law relating to national security legislation

> It remains unclear what legal consequences other lawmakers who advocate self-determination may face

12.35pm – Beijing ‘has limited its involvement’

Hong Kong’s leader says the National People’s Congress Standing Committee has now only interpreted the Basic Law five times, showing Beijing has been very careful in exercising this prerogative.

“The NPCSC would not interpret the Basic Law if there was no need for it,” he says, adding that the central government was fully aware of what’s happening in Hong Kong.

12.33pm – ‘We’ll see about the other lawmakers’

Asked how the ruling could impact other lawmakers, Secretary for Justice Rimsky Yuen Kwok-keung says he needs time to study the ruling to decide whether any follow-up action is necessary.

Yuen says past court judgments will not be affected.

But if there are any issues with other lawmakers’ oaths, he hastens to add, and if they are later taken to court, the court will be duty-bound to apply the ruling as part of Hong Kong law in handling the case.

12.25pm – CY Leung on Article 23

Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying expresses his strongest stance in office to date on Article 23 when asked about the controversial provision of the Basic Law relating to national security legislation.

Leung, who has previously said there is no urgent need to adopt it, says: “The Hong Kong Special Administrative Region shall enact [the law] on its own. We have not seen anyone advocating independence in the past but now we see it. This indeed deserves our attention.”

12.23pm – Justice minister won’t resign

Secretary for Justice Rimsky Yuen Kwok-keung says he will not resign over the ruling that many in Hong Kong view as in incursion against the city’s judicial independence.

“I have said I believe the dispute concerning the oath-taking can and should be resolved in Hong Kong courts,” Yuen says. “I am still of this view.”

“However, in cases of this nature, there are bound to be differences of opinion,” he adds. “Such differences of opinion can be legitimate.”

Yuen says he considered several factors in staying on the job, including that the Standing Committee has the power to interpret the Basic Law, and that the ruling is “not case-specific” but of a general nature that sets forth principles to aid the court to interpret Article 104.

“The constitutional fact is that Hong Kong has been part of China,” Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying says. “It is and it will be.”

“The Basic Law is a national law and a Hong Kong law,” he adds. “Any proposition about Hong Kong’s future must be in accordance with the Basic Law.”

12pm – Hong Kong leader to implement ruling fully

Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying says he and the Hong Kong government “support” the interpretation by the National People’s Congress Standing Committee this morning.

“I, as the chief executive, have the duty to implement the Basic Law in accordance with Article 48,” he says. “I and the SAR government will implement the ruling fully.”

11.43am – ‘Why I’m angry at the localists’

Before the press conference, Li Fei spends seven minutes explaining why he’s angry about the Hong Kong localist lawmakers’ use of derogatory language used by Japanese to insult China. Read more…


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