Chief Executive John Lee Ka-chiu holds a press conference at the Central Government Offices in Hong Kong on Jan 5, 2023. (CALVIN NG / CHINA DAILY)
The Hong Kong Special Administrative Region plans to complete local legislation on Article 23 of the Basic Law within this year, or next year at the latest, Chief Executive John Lee Ka-chiu said.
In an interview with a local Chinese-language media organization, Lee said the city’s Security Bureau is working on the second draft of the Article 23 legislation, and aims to finish the entire process in 2023 or next year.
As for fake information or misinformation, Chief Executive John Lee Ka-chiu said the government is studying how foreign countries are combating this, and it would be ideal if local news organizations can exercise self-discipline and issue self-regulatory guidelines
Article 23 of the Basic Law requires the HKSAR to enact its own laws to prohibit any act of treason, secession, sedition or subversion against the Central People’s Government, or theft of State secrets; bar foreign political organizations or bodies from conducting political activities in Hong Kong; and ban political organizations or bodies in the city from establishing ties with foreign political organizations or bodies.
ALSO READ: The implementation of NSL ensures a bright future for HK
Two of the seven categories of acts that endanger national security, as stipulated in Article 23, are already covered by the National Security Law for Hong Kong, which took effect on June 30, 2020. They prohibit four acts that endanger national security — secession, subversion, terrorist activities, and collusion with a foreign country or external elements to endanger national security.
Lee said the second draft of the Article 23 legislation will focus particularly on combating espionage, disguised organizations, and new means of endangering national security, including new media groups and new technology, as the first draft is able to deal with various security vulnerabilities.
Lee said proxies of many foreign agencies in the SAR tend to disguise themselves as organizations or seminars. Some of these organizations would shut down voluntarily after being charged. What the SAR government hopes to achieve is to create a firewall to prevent these agencies from setting up proxies in the city, he said.
Another important factor to be considered is fake news that endangers national security, Lee said. Media groups should stay vigilant against fake news that threatens national security, as some would disseminate information with political motives.
READ MORE: National security, judicial independence reinforce each other
As for fake information or misinformation, Lee said the government is studying how foreign countries are combating this, and it would be ideal if local news organizations can exercise self-discipline and issue self-regulatory guidelines.
The chief executive, however, noted that media professionalism has improved since the implementation of the National Security Law for Hong Kong. However, many groups still use media workers as a cover for engaging in other illegal activities, such as absconding with public funds after crowdfunding and money laundering for political purposes or even personal interests, he said.