HONG KONG - The people of Hong Kong need to take responsibility and safeguard national security - and this means some freedoms have to be restrained, former chief executive Leung Chun-ying said on Thursday.
Leung said restraining certain freedoms to safeguard national security is a common practice in countries across the globe
Leung, now a vice-chairman of the National Committee of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference, posted the remarks on his personal social media account.
His comments are in response to the Foreign Correspondents’ Club inviting the founder of the Hong Kong National Party, Andy Chan Ho-tin, to speak next Tuesday for a luncheon address. Chan advocates Hong Kong independence.
Leung said restraining certain freedoms to safeguard national security is a common practice in countries across the globe and also occurs in Western countries. Chan and the FCC were “no exception”, the former CE said.
Leung said that Hong Kong residents enjoy freedoms of speech, the press and publication. However, all freedoms always have certain limits. For instance, they are also restrained by Article 23 of the Basic Law, Leung said.
“In accordance with the law, Hong Kong people do not enjoy freedom to commit treason, secession, sedition and subversion against the Central People’s Government, or the theft of State secrets,” Leung stressed.
“The people of Hong Kong do not enjoy the freedom to allow foreign political organizations or bodies to conduct political activities in Hong Kong,” he explained.
“Nor are political organizations or bodies in Hong Kong allowed the freedom to establish ties with foreign political organizations or bodies,” added the former CE.
Last week, the incumbent CE Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor said the government would not tolerate any actions advocating “Hong Kong nationalism”. Lam said it was “entirely inappropriate” to organize any event under this theme.
But the FCC said in a recent statement that hosting such events does not mean they either endorse or oppose the views of its speakers. The FCC said it would continue to welcome speakers with widely differing viewpoints in future.
Despite the ongoing controversy and widespread concern, Chan will deliver his talk as scheduled, the FCC said.
The HKNP is the only political party in the city which explicitly advocates Hong Kong independence and promotes it on its website.
Police proposed banning operations of the HKNP on national security grounds on July 17 in accordance with the Societies Ordinance. The HKNP has been given 49 days to send in a written document to explain why such a ban is unnecessary. The deadline is Sept 4.