Editorial : Old law invoked to curb pro-independence advocacy

【明報專訊】CITING the Societies Ordinance, the Secretary for Security has said he is considering prohibiting the operation of the Hong Kong National Party to protect national security. This marks the first time since the handover the government has invoked the ordinance, showing that it is stepping up its fight against the pro-independence movement. "One country, two systems" is the only option for Hong Kong. To safeguard the city, we must defend the two systems while upholding the principle of one country at the same time. Advocating Hong Kong's independence is equivalent to rejecting "One country, two systems" and all members of society should make clear their objections to it. Both freedom of speech and national security should be protected and the key lies in ensuring that the responses are measured. In the case of banning the operations of pro-independence organisations by the government, the most important thing is to have sufficient legal and factual basis for such moves. The government has yet to enact laws in relation to national security. It is inevitable that its move against pro-independence organisations by invoking the Societies Ordinance will stir up controversies that may require the court's judgement. Since existing legislation does not have a clear definition of national security, some worry that the Security Bureau's decision may open a Pandora's box, leading to abuse of the law. The government must address the public's worries squarely.