Pro-Beijing figure Elsie Leung Oi-sie said on Monday that Article 23 could be rolled out in stages and in different ordinances to achieve its full effect. She said that the government was too rushed in enacting the controversial security law in 2003, when the public “could not digest, and could not understand it.”

The push for Article 23, the ill-fated section of the Basic Law which prohibits secession and sedition against China, sparked mass demonstrations on July 1, thirteen years ago.

Elsie Leung.
Elsie Leung. File Photo: Stand News.

Leung said that if its implementation was split into different stages, “maybe people would more easily accept it.” She suggested that parts be put into different ordinances, including the Crimes Ordinance, the Public Order Ordinance, and the Societies Ordinance.

See also: Students protest Basic Law interpretation during visit from former secretary of justice

Baggio Leung chung hang Yau Wai-ching
Yau Wai-ching and Baggio Leung. Photo: Stanley Leung/HKFP.

However, Alan Leong Kah-kit, a former pro-democracy lawmaker, told RTHK that it is bad timing to talk about Article 23 and that separating the ordinance into pieces is a bad idea.

“One dose of poison will kill you, and you will also die from the same dose split into ten,” he said.

Elsie Leung said on on the radio that she “did not believe that many lawmakers would lose their seats” after an interpretation of the Basic Law was handed down by Beijing last Monday. Beijing said that oaths should be taken “accurately, completely and solemnly,” amid an oath taking controversy surrounding localist lawmakers Yau Wai-ching and Baggio Leung Chung-hang.

Chantal Yuen is a Hong Kong journalist interested in issues dealing with religion and immigration. She majored in German and minored in Middle Eastern studies at Princeton University.