Chief Executive Carrie Lam has publicised her report on the banning of the pro-independence Hong Kong National Party (HKNP), which was submitted to Beijing on Tuesday.

The 12-page document included a summary of the events leading up to HKNP’s ban: last September, the party became the first in Hong Kong to be banned under the Societies Ordinance since the 1997 Handover.

Carrie Lam
Carrie Lam. File photo: Anthony Wallace/AFP.

On February 26, Lam told the public that Beijing had requested a report on the incident, which she said would cover “the process, the facts, and the legal procedure.” While Hong Kong’s leader regularly reports to the central government, it was considered unprecedented for Beijing to ask the chief executive to submit a written report on an issue.

According to the report publicised on Thursday, the Security Bureau began its internal deliberation last May. The process concluded in February after an appeal against the ban was dismissed by Lam and the Executive Council.

“Having given due consideration to the rights of the HKNP and the two appeal applicants, as well as the totality of the evidence and materials, the Chief Executive in Council took the view that the Secretary had solid reasons to make the order to prohibit the operation of the HKNP as it was necessary in the interests of national security, public safety, public order, and the protection of the rights and freedoms of others,” the report read.

The report concluded by stating the government’s zero-tolerance policy towards independence advocacy. At the time of its banning, the party was considered to have little public support and only a handful of members.

“Any act undermining national security is not in the interest of the nation, and would bring turmoil to the Hong Kong society,” the report read, adding that the government will continue to prohibit such acts.

“The HKSAR has the responsibility to safeguard national security… ‘Hong Kong independence’ is inconsistent with the constitutional and legal status of the HKSAR under the Basic Law, as well as the established basic policies of the People’s Republic of China regarding Hong Kong.”

Reporting to Beijing

The report did not include arguments HKNP had made in its defence.

It did, however, include two redacted appendices: the full text of the Secretary for Security’s decision to ban HKNP, and the letter informing HKNP’s spokesman and convenor that their appeal had failed.

Andy Chan
Andy Chan. Photo: Kris Cheng/HKFP.

Both of those documents were previously made available to the media by the HKNP’s founder and erstwhile convenor Andy Chan.

A government spokesperson described the report as containing the “the case background and summary of the process,” and the redactions were done on the advice of the Department of Justice, in order to avoid affecting any possible legal proceedings.

Lam had previously defended Beijing’s request for the report, saying there was “no question of interference.”

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Chan did not reply to HKFP’s message asking for comment.

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Holmes Chan is a reporter at Hong Kong Free Press. He covers local news with a focus on law, politics, and social movements. He studied law and literature at the University of Hong Kong.