Secretary for Commerce and Economic Development Gregory So Kam-leung has blamed the failure to pass the copyright amendment bill on pan-democratic lawmakers, calling them “culprits” for stifling the development of economy and creative industries.

“Remember these people. Remember them one by one. It’s them who are the culprits,” said So, as he made a rare lengthy speech in LegCo on Friday morning, quoting heavily from “The Heaven Sword and Dragon Saber,” a popular Chinese novel by Jin Yong.

Gregory So Kam-leung. Photo: LegCo.

“In response to some pan-democratic lawmakers accusing the government of ‘throwing a tantrum’ and refusing to accept the revisions or new proposals, I think this is a complete confusion of right and wrong, black and white,” he also said.

So added that it is not known when the government could submit another proposal to update copyright ordinances.

Charles Mok. Photo: LegCo.

Pan-democratic IT sector lawmaker Charles Mok, who was one of the people who suggested a “limited fair use” revision to the copyright amendment bill, said in response that So’s long speech failed to address the pan-democratic opposition to the bill, which was a key issue.

Mok said that So had rejected his “limited fair use” revision before he had sent the proposal to So. “[He is] opposing it for the sake of opposing.”

“Turn back before it’s too late,” Mok added, using So’s own narrative when the commerce chief asked lawmakers to stop filibustering.

Dubbed “Internet Article 23” by campaigners – a reference to Hong Kong’s ill-fated security law – the copyright amendment bill has faced major opposition from local netizens who fear it may curb internet freedoms.

So rejected revisions proposed by some lawmakers on Thursday, saying that the copyright owners would not accept them. Pan-democratic Civic Party’s Kwok Ka-ki and pro-establishment Liberal Party’s Felix Chung Kwok-pan questioned why So had discussed the compromises made.

Hermina Wong

Hermina is a Hong Kong writer and journalist. She graduated with a degree in politics from Cambridge, and is interested in international affairs, particularly those related to China, the EU and the Middle East. She also enjoys political satire.