F. Legislating on Article 23 of the Basic Law
54. Over the past few years I have
been saying, "When Hong Kong succeeds, China will
benefit. When China succeeds, Hong Kong will prosper".
Our economic and social progress require not only a
secure Hong Kong, but more importantly, a stable situation
in the Mainland. Following our return to the Motherland,
ensuring national security has become the natural and
basic civic responsibility for each one of us to observe
and practise. The SARG has stressed all along that the
enactment of legislation under BL23 is meant to protect
national security. It does not undermine in any way
the preservation of the characteristics of Hong Kong
as an open, pluralistic and cosmopolitan city. It will
not affect the basic rights and freedoms we now enjoy.
Nor will it undermine the SARG's compliance with internationally
accepted norms of behaviour. This is the fundamental
principle behind the whole legislative proposal.
55. During the consultation exercise conducted over
the past three months, the community held animated and
extensive discussions on the legislative proposal. I
consider this kind of dialogue to be proper and normal.
The SARG has noted that the community at large generally
realises the need to legislate under BL23, while some
citizens have expressed their doubts and worries about
certain aspects of the legislative proposal. We value
citizens' views and suggestions very highly, and will
study these issues in depth. We will exchange further
views with the citizens concerned over the next few
weeks. I firmly believe that, when the SARG presents
the Bill, all will be able to see that many of their
views will have been accepted. Finally, I reiterate
that the SARG will take this matter forward in a thoroughly
open-minded and enlightened manner, and be completely
transparent in the legislative process.