HONG KONG: AHRC Submits Concerns about Proposed Article 23 Legislation to Legco

AHRC Submits Concerns about Proposed Article 23 Legislation to Legco: Article 23 May Diminish Rule of Law and Increase Corrupt Practices

The Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) has grave concerns about the Hong Kong government’s consultation document “Proposals to Implement Article 23 of the Basic Law” that was released for a three-month consultation period on Sept. 24, 2002. Based on the effects that AHRC has witnessed where similar national security legislation has been enacted in other countries in Asia, AHRC believes that the rule of law may be eroded and that corruption, which was effectively brought under control in Hong Kong with the creation of the Independent Commission against Corruption (ICAC) in 1974, could become an issue in the community again.

Like others in the human rights and legal communities in Hong Kong, AHRC also cannot accept the provisions in the consultation document that permit the police to search offices and homes and seize materials without a search warrant. This extension of police power can easily lead to abuses that infringe on the human rights of Hong Kong’s people and invite corrupt practices among the police force. As a result, the basic freedoms granted under the Basic Law, Hong Kong’s mini-Constitution, will be eroded.

“The economic, social and cultural fabric of Hong Kong has historically evolved on the basis of respect for people’s freedom,” said Basil Fernando, the executive director of AHRC. “The balance that now exists can be overturned if these freedoms are in any way undermined. The way of life in Hong Kong is very different from that of Singapore. It would be a pity if this lost.”

Because of these concerns, AHRC has made a written submission to the Legislative Council (Legco) and Hong Kong government. The submission is available at AHRC’s main web site at <http://ahrchk.net>. If you have any questions, please contact Wong Kai-shing or Bruce Van Voorhis at at: +(852) 2698-6339 (office hours) or +(852) 9436-8401 (after office hours).

Document Type : Statement
Document ID : MR-24-2002
Countries : China, Hong Kong,
Issues : Rule of law,