Published: 14:41, March 2, 2024 | Updated: 18:16, March 2, 2024
Public consensus lays foundation for Article 23 legislation
By Xinhua

Chairman of Hong Kong Bar Association Victor Dawes (second right) attends a press conference regarding the association's views on a public consultation document on Basic Law Article 23 legislation at the High Court in Admiralty, on Feb 29, 2024. (ANDY CHONG / CHINA DAILY)

BEIJING - The Hong Kong Special Administrative Region government's recent conclusion of the public consultation on the legislation of Article 23 of the HKSAR Basic Law serves as a powerful testament to the public's unwavering determination to see this crucial legislation through to completion.

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During the consultation period, which ran from late January to Feb 28, a total of 13,147 opinions were received. With an overwhelming majority of responses expressing support or positive views, 98.64 percent to be exact, it is evident that there is a strong consensus among the Hong Kong public to expedite the completion of the Article 23 legislation.

The public's responses reflected through the consultation have demonstrated the wide consensus that the Article 23 legislation must be done and must be done as soon as possible

From the outset, the HKSAR government has demonstrated a commitment to transparency and inclusivity in its approach.

The extensive consultation document, spanning over 80 pages, provided comprehensive insights into the purpose, principles, methods, and key components of the Article 23 legislation, and drew references from legal practices in other common law jurisdictions.

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Moreover, the HKSAR government's efforts to engage the public through various channels, including promo videos, consultation sessions and media interviews, have ensured that diverse perspectives are heard and considered. These endeavors have also promptly addressed concerns and clarified misconceptions related to the legislation.

The public's responses reflected through the consultation have demonstrated the wide consensus that the Article 23 legislation must be done and must be done as soon as possible. Only by doing so can Hong Kong eliminate national security uncertainties and improve its environment for business communities.

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Looking ahead, it is believed that the HKSAR government and legislative institutions will heed social expectations and swiftly proceed with the legislation of Article 23 in an orderly manner.

Supported by an enhanced security environment and a robust legal system, Hong Kong is poised to achieve higher-quality development and higher-standard openness, facilitating further progress in its transition from stability to prosperity.