Press Release

 Email this articleGovernment Homepage

CE's opening remarks on Basic Law Article 23


Following is the English text of the opening remarks by the Chief Executive, Mr Tung Chee Hwa, on Article 23 of the Basic Law at his press conference today (September 5):

Recently, we have been listening to the views of various parties on the enactment of legislation to implement Article 23 of the Basic Law. At the same time, within the Government, we have conducted detailed study and discussion. This morning, I convened a special Executive Council meeting so that we could take a decision on the issue. Now I would like to announce our decision.

As you all know, Article 23 stipulates that the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) shall enact laws on its own to prohibit any acts which are harmful to national security. The fact that this responsibility has been left to the SAR Government is a manifestation of the trust of the Central Government in the people of Hong Kong.

Enacting the legislation under Article 23 is therefore not only a constitutional duty that the HKSAR must fulfil, but also a civic duty of the people of Hong Kong. And judging from our consultation so far, we believe there is in principle a consensus within the Hong Kong community on this.

However, because the Hong Kong community continues to have some doubts and concerns about the provisions of the proposed legislation, we have decided to withdraw the National Security (Legislative Provisions) Bill from the legislative programme, so as to allow sufficient time for the community to study the enactment question. But the Security Bureau will establish a special working group to review afresh the legislative work. And I believe, this piece of legislation will ultimately win the understanding and support of the community at large after such full consultation.

As Hong Kong is going through a painful process of economic restructuring, especially after the SARS outbreak, it is crucial that the Government, the trade and industrial sectors and the community as a whole concentrate our efforts to revitalise the economy and to increase employment opportunities. Recently, the Central Government has introduced a range of measures to help stimulate Hong Kong's economy, which is beginning to show signs of revival. We have to make the most of this opportunity to maximise our advantages to further promote our economic restructuring.

End/Friday, September 5, 2003


( Floor / Cantonese / Putonghua / English )

Email this article