Chief Executive Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor on Tuesday (7/7) said if the Foreign Correspondents’ Club (FCC) and all journalists in Hong Kong can offer her a 100% guarantee that they will not commit any offences under the new national security law, she will give guarantees about press freedom to them.
The FCC had written multiple letters seeking clarifications from the authorities on Hong Kong’s press freedom under the new national security law. In the news conference before Lam's meeting with Executive Council on Tuesday morning, a journalist from the Hong Kong Free Press asked Lam for assurances that journalists would be able to write on any topic and would not be told to remove content, citing the FCC letters.
“If the [FCC] and all reporters in Hong Kong can give me a 100% guarantee that they will not commit any offences under this piece of legislation, then I can do the same,” Lam said.
“So, it is not a question of me standing here to give you a guarantee of what you may or may not do in the days and weeks and years ahead,” the chief executive said. “But the law has clearly defined the four types of acts and activities which we need to prevent and curb and punish in accordance with the law.”
Lam: implementation rules for Article 43 were an empowering move for law enforcement authorities
Speaking to the media, Lam also refuted the claim that implementation rules for Article 43 of the national security law for Hong Kong were an empowering move for law enforcement authorities in the city, saying that setting relevant rules is to protect and respect human rights.
Lam said protection of human rights and freedom under the city’s national security law is reflected in the implementation rules for Article 43 of the law that were gazetted on Monday (6/7). Lam stressed that it is the striving for protection and respect of human rights that makes the implementation rules, denying the expansion of power of relevant government agencies.
She added that the implementation rules clearly set out in detail what circumstances that must be met, what conditions that must be satisfied, and who will give approval, when implementing those measures.
With response to the concern about the enforcement power given by the implementation rules, Lam said the power comes from the national security law. She said if someone believed the implementation rules would lead to expanded police powers, that would be a wrong approach to comprehend the law. Lam said the law has granted the force's dedicated department for safeguarding national security to adopt those measures.
“To show we satisfy the requirement under the general principles of the national security Law to respect and protect human rights, so we’ve made such implementation rules,” Lam said.
Lam added that the implementation rules clearly state under which circumstances the power can be exercised, which should therefore be able to allay the public concern.