Former top adviser to the government Lau Siu-kai has said that legislation of Article 23, an anti-subversion security law, is unlikely to be proposed by the Hong Kong government over the next two years.

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Former top government advisor Lau Siu-Kai. Photo: RTHK screenshot.

“Issues that have troubled administrative and legislative relations and Hong Kong society as a whole are unlikely to appear in the next two years, particularly those surrounding political reform,” Lau said during a commercial radio programme on Friday.

When asked if democratic reform would be postponed for longer than two years, Lau said that such issues may not even be raised for the duration of the current administration.

“The pro-democracy camp does not have the political power to initiate a large-scale democratic movement,” he added.

With regards to Article 23, Lau said that “[u]ltimately, the successful implementation or not of Article 23… will determine whether or not the Basic Law has been correctly carried out.”

In 2003, around half a million people took to the street against the government’s attempt to legislate Article 23. The government has not since attempted to table a proposal, but the current administration and the pro-Beijing camp have recently raised the idea on numerous occasions.

Joint Immigration Facility

Lau also commented on the upcoming joint checkpoint arrangement for the Guangzhou-Shenzhen-Hong Kong Express Rail Link. Chief Executive Carrie Lam said at her first Q&A session on Monday that the arrangement was necessary for the project, and that it would comply with the Basic Law.

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Photomontage of Express Rail Link West Kowloon Terminus. Photo: Andrew Bromberg at Aedas/Wikicommons.

“When it comes to passing legislation about implementing the joint checkpoint arrangement, given that the pro-establishment camp has up till now appeared relatively supportive of [Chief Executive] Carrie Lam, there should be enough votes to pass any related laws.”

“Even though citizens may have concerns [about the rail link], they have not evolved into conditions for political crisis… The worries are not big enough to… lead to political confrontation,” he added.

Concerns about the potential stationing of Chinese law enforcement agents at the West Kowloon terminus had previously been highlighted by some lawmakers.

Lau is the vice chair of the Chinese Association of Hong Kong and Macao Studies, a semi-official advisory body for the Chinese government.

jun pang

Jun Pang

Jun Pang is an independent writer and researcher. She has previously worked in NGOs advocating for refugees' and migrants' rights in Asia and Europe.