Update: Talk of HK independence is not criminal but is not helpful

Apr 27, 2016

by Doreen Weisenhaus with contributions by Rick Glofcheski and Yan Mei Ning (Expanded Second Edition, Hong Kong University Press 2014)

April 27, 2016 (South China Morning Post), Oped by Glenville Cross —

Although the Hong Kong National Party’s calls for independence have upset many people, the party is on a hiding to nothing. Hong Kong is an integral part of China, and this will not change. Beijing will never yield an inch of territory.

In the early 1980s, when Margaret Thatcher’s government examined its 1997 options, it reportedly considered the possibility of Hong Kong independence given that, under the lease, only the New Territories would revert to China. However, despite Thatcher’s qualms at handing Hong Kong over to communist China, this option was quickly rejected. Hong Kong without the New Territories would no longer be viable and, without China’s support, it would fail.

But independence advocacy does not, of itself, contravene the criminal law. Although, under the Crimes Ordinance, treason and sedition are existing offences, neither, on a proper reading, could be used to charge people who peacefully argue for independence. Treason involves force or violence against the sovereign, and sedition is defined as inciting violence, promoting hatred, contempt or disaffection, or stirring up ill will.

See full oped article here.