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Macao SAR legislature passes state security bill

Source: Xinhua | 01-06-2009 08:24

The Legislative Assembly of Macao Special Administrative Region (SAR) Monday approved the general outline of the government-drafted state security bill with the majority of the assembly members voting in favor of it.

The Macao SAR government introduced to the public the draft bill on safeguarding the national security based upon the SAR's Basic Law Article 23 (BL23) on Oct. 22, 2008, and after the two-month long consultation period, the SAR government announced the revised version of the bill in December 2008, which was later submitted to the assembly.

The 29-member Legislative Assembly held a plenary session on Monday to discuss the general outline of the bill. During the session, the majority of the assembly members joined in the chorus of supporting the legislation of the BL 23, saying it is a necessity for the SAR to have the legal means to protect state security.

However, different voices were heard during the discussion. Au Kam San, a member of the assembly, said the definitions such as "preparatory acts", sedition, and theft of state secret in the revised bill were "not clear", which will arouse "fears" of losing speech freedom among the publics.

The degree of the punishment for committing serious crimes, including treason, secession, sedition, the theft of state secrets and subversion against China's central government, were also deemed to be harsh by some of the legislative members. Shorter length of imprisonment for these crimes was proposed.

Under the SAR's BL 23, Macao shall "enact laws on its own" to prohibit any act of treason, secession, sedition, subversion against the Central People's Government, or theft of state secrets, to prohibit foreign political organizations or bodies from conducting activities that endanger national security in the Region, and to prohibit political organizations or bodies of the SAR from establishing ties with those foreign political organizations or bodies.

The bill will be discussed on committee level for the next few weeks before an article-by-article vote during its second reading.

 

Editor:Liu Anqi