mandag 6. juli 2020

Hongkongers can still criticise government, top official says, as legal scholar refutes notion of prosecution for provoking hatred towards authorities

A prominent adviser to China’s top legislative body believes Hong Kong people cannot be prosecuted just for provoking hatred towards the authorities under the sweeping national security law, while the city’s No 2 official has sought to reassure residents their fundamental rights and freedom to criticise the government will not be undermined.

The view of Basic Law Committee member Albert Chen Hung-yee, a law professor at the University of Hong Kong, contradicted remarks by senior Beijing official Zhang Xiaoming on Wednesday. Zhang, deputy director of the State Council’s Hong Kong and Macau Affairs Office, said spreading rumours – such as falsely claiming police killed several people during an operation at Prince Edward MTR station last year – would be deemed illegal under the new law and one could be arrested for provoking “hatred” among Hong Kong residents towards the central or local governments.