Hong Kong security chief rebukes foreign criticism against Article 23 legislation

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Chris Tang

5th March 2024 – (Hong Kong) Hong Kong’s Secretary for Security, Chris Tang, addressed the media today, vehemently denouncing attempts by foreign politicians and individuals implicated in national security cases who have fled the city to malign the legislative work on Article 23 of the Basic Law. Tang methodically countered criticisms levelled by personalities such as U.K. Foreign Secretary Cameron, U.S. Consul General to Hong Kong and Macau Gregory May, and former Legislative Council member Ted Hui Chi-fung. Furthermore, Tang condemned Hui’s recent online disclosure of police and judicial officers’ identities and his call for public assistance in doxxing them, labelling these acts as deplorable.

During an interview with BBC reporters on Hong Kong streets, many locals declined to comment on their views regarding the Article 23 legislation. In response, Tang said, “The people I’ve come across are very forthcoming in expressing their support for Article 23. Why certain individuals are hesitant to respond to these questions is something I find difficult to comment on.”

Following his attendance at World Customs Organisation 6th Global Canine Forum today, Tang met with the press to discuss the results of the public consultation on Article 23 legislation. He reported that the government had received 13,489 submissions, with an overwhelming 98.6% in favour and suggestions for improvement. Only 0.72% of the submissions opposed the legislation, amounting to 97 submissions. Tang emphasised that Article 23 is a defensive law designed to “lock the doors and windows” of the city to protect national and Hong Kong’s security, suggesting that those against the legislation have ulterior motives that may endanger national security.

Tang noted that the opposing submissions were often anonymous or unidentifiable, with a quarter of the identifiable objections stemming from individuals connected with overseas anti-China groups, fugitives, and persons detained over national security cases. He singled out ‘Hong Kong Watch’, criticising its call for international sanctions against the country and Hong Kong and identifying its patron as the former Hong Kong Governor Chris Patten and its advisor as the fugitive Ted Hui.

Tang disputed recent criticisms from foreign politicians against Article 23. Citing remarks from the U.K.’s Cameron, who suggested that the U.K.’s system was superior to Hong Kong’s, Tang invoked the UN Charter to argue for mutual respect and the right of each country to establish its own system. He accused Cameron of harbouring a colonial mindset and of exhibiting double standards.

Furthermore, Tang dismissed concerns from U.S. Consul General May, who advised U.S. companies to use disposable phones and laptops when visiting Hong Kong, suggesting that espionage is, in fact, a U.S. forte. Tang questioned whether businesspeople in the U.S. also had to resort to such measures, asserting that Hong Kong operates under legal protections that are justified and natural.

Lastly, Tang rebuked former lawmaker Ted Hui for encouraging foreign sanctions against Hong Kong’s judiciary and for his calls to doxx, which could violate the National Security Law and privacy regulations. Tang branded Hui’s actions as contemptible and dishonourable, asserting that Hongkongers would see such behaviour as shameful and that it demonstrated the importance of legislation to protect law enforcement and judicial personnel.