Hong Kong will bring laws against insulting the regional flag and emblem in line with those pertaining to the national flag, Chief Executive John Lee announced during his first Policy Address on Wednesday.

Hong Kong China flag
Photo: GovHK.

The move aimed “to further preserve the dignity of the regional flag and the regional emblem as a symbol and ensign of the HKSAR,” Lee said.

The National Flag and National Emblem Ordinance was amended in September last year to outlaw acts including the desecration of the Chinese national flag and national emblem on the internet.

Article 23

The government will press ahead with “preparatory work” for implementing Article 23 of the Basic Law, which mandates that the city enact laws to safeguard security, the chief executive said on Wednesday. The legislation was left off the 2022 Legislative Council schedule.

The chief executive said last week that the government wanted to make sure the law was “truly effective” when implemented and that more in-depth and comprehensive studies were needed.

john lee policy address (1)
Chief Executive John Lee delivers the 2022 Policy Address on October 19, 2022. Photo: Lea Mok/HKFP.

Lee also said that legislations regulating crowdfunding activities and enhancing cybersecurity for key infrastructure would be introduced. The government will also consult the public on addressing the issue of “false information” for policy consideration.

According to Article 23 of the Basic Law, Hong Kong has to legislate its own security law – in addition to the Beijing-imposed national security law – to outlaw acts such as sedition and treason.

The first attempt to pass Article 23 was overseen by former chief executive Tung Chee-hwa’s administration and took place from 2002 to 2003, sparking a protest of more than 500,000 people, and leading to the resignation of then-secretary for security Regina Ip.

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Candice Chau

Candice is a reporter at Hong Kong Free Press. She previously worked as a researcher at a local think tank. She has a BSocSc in Politics and International Relations from the University of Manchester and a MSc in International Political Economy from London School of Economics.