Article 23 last thing business needs

Pro-Beijing businessman Lo Man-tuen (bio) respectfully suggests that Hong Kong yet again kick its long-delayed Article 23 national security law down the road to let the city ‘focus on the economy’ as it recovers and ‘regains lost opportunities’ after its post-2019 traumas. 

The local NatSec legislation envisaged by the Basic Law would today overlap with the NatSec Law imposed by Beijing in mid-2020. Its main function now would presumably be to strengthen controls on the press and expression – enabling tougher penalties than the hitherto barely used colonial-era sedition laws resurrected (as here) as part of the new NatSec system.

Lo’s patriotic pitch is that controversy on Article 23 this year could alienate Taiwanese voters ahead of the presidential election due in around 12 months time – which may well be true. But his main concern is no doubt Hong Kong’s image on the broader international stage and prospects for tourism and other industries. It is hard to push a cheerful Hello Hong Kong relaunch campaign while politicians, journalists and protesters are being tried in special jury-less courts.

As the Standard’s editorial points out, enacting Article 23 right now would contradict the official ‘all is well’ narrative…

Has it not been the official stance that implementation of the national security law has been so successful that the city has returned to stability and security has been properly addressed?

With this in mind, would it conflict with the claim if officials continued to insist there was an urgency for Article 23 legislation?

But Beijing’s officials do not exactly mourn the loss of Hong Kong’s old free and cosmopolitan reputation. At best, they might humour loyalist business types by soft-pedaling Article 23 this year (chances are someone has indicated to Lo that they might). Even that would be uncharacteristically limp-wristed of them. With the existing NatSec/sedition laws jailing opposition figures and silencing critics quite effectively, it wouldn’t make a lot of difference.

‘Hello Hong Kong’ vs NatSec
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6 Responses to Article 23 last thing business needs

  1. Deprived Donkey says:

    The push me pull me (if memory serves aright) animal song is only available to Premium Music millionaires.

  2. 4 am Knacker Knocker says:

    I hear you NatSec knockin’
    But you can’t come in
    I hear you NatSec knockin’’
    Go back where you been

  3. Mary Melville says:

    Anyone who had doubts about a successful outcome to the Northern Metropolis development plans :
    https://www.info.gov.hk/gia/general/202302/10/P2023021000300.htm
    Another bloated group of vested interests
    18 Legco members – and we thought that their role is to monitor progress not formulate the plans – conflict of interest?
    9 affiliated to property tycoons
    5 token academics – leaning towards HKU
    and representatives from the dynamic(??) Cyberport/HKSTP and a few miscellaneous punters
    Note that of the 37 members a mere TWO LADIES, and they are Legco
    No representation from green groups, welfare organisations, healthcare, logistics, education, tourism, etc etc, to bring to the table the issues related to the daily grind.
    Hearing the people sing is clearly not an item on the agenda

  4. Red Dragon says:

    I note that Vag and Micky Tien have been roped in.

    But wait! No Al Zeman, Ron Arculli, Bunny Chan or Odious Ho.

    What is the world coming to?

  5. Ged says:

    I thought Regina Ip’s op-ed in the South China Morning Post ‘The Hong Kong government must break its habit of relying on property developers’ on Feb 12th indicated a turn away from the local business community to improve the economy. So maybe Article 23 is compatible with economic growth in Beijing’s eyes as it would allow more space for compliant mainland companies?

  6. Kwun Tong Bypass says:

    Wow!
    A 37 member “advisory” committee. Folks from all walks of PATRIOTIC life.

    Great discussion forum: The 37 sitting in a room, being given a speech prepared at the LO, and then everybody agrees. Including Heung Yee Kuk’s Lider Lau Ip Keung!

    True Democracy with Hong kong Characteristics at Work!

    Is that a double-headed “Grass Mud Horse Covering the Middle” (of the magician) in that Foto?

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