Pro-Beijing lawmaker Regina Ip Lau Suk-yee, who is expected to run for the chief executive position, has said that implementing an Article 23 security law is a constitutional duty no matter who becomes the next leader.

“I will definitely go ahead [with Article 23] if I am elected as the new chief executive,” said Ip, chairwoman of the pro-Beijing New People’s Party. She added she did not have any concrete plans to implement it at this stage.

regina-july-1st regina Ip Lau Suk-yee
Regina Ip Lau Suk-yee

Article 23 of the Basic Law, Hong Kong’s mini-constitution, stipulates that the city should enact security laws to prohibit acts of treason and subversion against the Chinese government. The government pushed for the controversial law in 2003, but pro-democracy activists opposed the legislation and argued that it would reduce the level of freedom in Hong Kong. The law was eventually abandoned following mass demonstrations.

Ip, who campaigned for the law as the Secretary for Security in 2003, said she did not consider having pushed forward Article 23 as a dishonour.

“I can only say that there were controversies, and I admit that I was not perfect in my work,” she said.

The legislation of Article 23 re-appeared on the agenda after the High Court ruled last month that two Youngspiration lawmakers would be disqualified from the legislature. Pro-Beijing figures warned that talk of independence would lead to the legislation of the controversial law.

yau wai ching baggio leung oath
Pro-independence activists Yau Wai-ching and Baggio Leung outside the High Court after their disqualifications. Photo: Reuters/Bobby Yip.

Meanwhile, Ip lashed out at an Apple Daily reporter when asked if she has plans to roll out Article 23 during her term if she is elected. She accused the reporter of trying to trap her with the question, adding that she has reiterated her stance on the law many times.

Eric is currently a Bachelor of Journalism student at the University of Hong Kong. Eric has his finger on the pulse of Hong Kong events and politics. His work has been published on The Guardian, Reuters and ABC News (America).