National Security and Fundamental Freedoms

Hong Kong’s Article 23 Under Scrutiny


Edited by Fu Hualing, Carole J. Petersen, and Simon N. M. Young

ISBN : 978-962-209-732-2


March 2005

528 pages, 6″ x 9″

  • HK$350.00

There has been intense interest in the proposals to implement Article 23, both in Hong Kong and abroad. This book will be valuable to anyone who has followed or participated in that debate or has an interest in the delicate balance between civil liberties and national security. The book will be particularly useful for legislators, policy-makers, lawyers, journalists, historians, teachers, and students, especially in the fields of law and the social sciences. The statutory Appendix will assist teachers and students to draw comparisons between existing law and the government’s proposals.

In 2003 more than 500,000 people marched in Hong Kong against the National Security (Legislative Provisions) Bill, which would have prohibited treason, sedition, secession, and subversion against the national government of China and included new mechanisms for proscribing political organisations. This edited collection analyses that legislation, particularly the implications for civil liberties and the one country two systems model. Although the massive protest compelled the Hong Kong government to withdraw the Bill from the legislature in 2003, it will likely propose similar legislation in the future because Hong Kong has a constitutional obligation to implement Article 23 of the Basic Law. The book provides detailed and balanced commentary on the Bill, explains why certain proposals proved so controversial, and offers concrete recommendations on how to improve the proposals before the next legislative exercise.

Fu Hualing is an Associate Professor and Director of the Centre for Comparative and Public Law, Faculty of Law, of the University of Hong Kong. His research interests include social legal studies, human rights and criminology. He has an LLB from Southwestern University of Law and Politics (China), an MA from the University of Toronto (Canada) and a doctorial degree from Osgoode Hall Law School (Canada). Carole J. Petersen is an Associate Professor and a former Director of the Centre for Comparative and Public Law, Faculty of Law, of the University of Hong Kong. She has been teaching law in Hong Kong since 1989, specializing in constitutional law, human rights, and anti-discrimination law. She has a BA from the University of Chicago, a JD from Harvard Law School, and a Post-graduate Diploma in the Law of the People’s Republic of China from the University of Hong Kong. Simon N. M. Young is an Associate Professor and Deputy Director of the Centre for Comparative and Public Law, Faculty of Law, of the University of Hong Kong. He teaches criminal law, evidence and legal aspects of white collar crime. Previously, he was Counsel in the Crown Law Office-Criminal, Ministry of the Attorney General for Ontario, in Toronto, Canada. He obtained his LLB from the University of Toronto and his LLM from Cambridge University.

“This collection of essays on the saga of Hong Kong’s efforts to address the mandate of Article 23 in the Basic Law of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region and related matters is likely to be an extremely useful resource for a number of audiences. These include those directly engaged with the issue of legislation and policymaking in Hong Kong in both public institutions and in the community; those who have an interest in the development of Hong Kong’s political and legal system and its relationship to the system of Mainland China; and those with an interest in national security and anti-terrorism legislation more generally, from a comparative perspective. The overall quality and range of the contributions is strong. The topic itself is a current and important one, and the collection is an important contribution to the field.” —Andrew Byrnes, Professor of Law, Australian National University

“The debate on legislation to ensure the sovereignty and security of the PRC against threats from Hong Kong was a turning point in the Special Administrative Region’s political history. It showed that while some Hong Kong residents may have reservations about democracy, human rights are cherished by almost all. It also showed that people can influence policy even without formal institutions of democracy. The authors of this book played a leading role in the debate, clarifying the legal issues, which was critical to an informed debate.” —Yash Ghai, Sir Y.K. Pao Professor of Public Law, University of Hong Kong