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National security law for Macao set for amendment

By XI TIANQI in Hong Kong | CHINA DAILY | Updated: 2022-08-24 09:30
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An aerial photo shows the evening view of Macao Peninsula. [Photo/VCG]

The Macao Special Administrative Region is set to amend its Law on Safeguarding National Security in line with national security standards to deal with the "intensive and challenging changes" in the international and regional security environment.

A 45-day public consultation on the amendment was launched on Monday. The Macao SAR government is expected to complete a report by the end of October and submit proposals to the legislature in early November.

The proposed changes include altering the offense of "subversion against the Central People's Government" to "subversion of State power", according to the consultation document. The charge will also be extended to cover nonviolent means, with the "abetting or supporting sedition" offense added.

The consultation document also says refining the criminal law stipulations is the focus of the amendments to the Law on Safeguarding National Security.

Three preventive measures are also proposed in the document, namely "interception of intelligence communications", "temporary restrictions on departure "and "request for activity information from suspicious organizations or individuals in Macao".

Macao's Secretary for Security Wong Sio-chak said the changes are aimed at keeping the city's security law in sync with those of the nation and the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region, and aligning Macao with national security standards.

The move is expected to upgrade Macao's ability to coordinate and administer national security affairs; comprehensively prevent and penalize offenses against national security; effectively prevent interference by external forces; safeguard national sovereignty, safety and development interests; and maintain Macao's prosperity and stability.

Citing the 2019 social unrest in Hong Kong and the recent visit of US House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi to Taiwan, Wong said the global and regional security environment is facing intensive changes, while the development of national security and Macao's safety are encountering more, new and severe problems and challenges.

"To effectively tackle such complicated and volatile security risks, safeguard national security and the long-term stability of Macao, and ensure the stable and long-lasting implementation of 'one country, two systems', the Law on Safeguarding National Security must keep itself abreast with the times to meet the latest needs and objective demands relating to safeguarding overall national security," Wong said.

To rectify the problems and inadequacies in its existing laws, the Macao SAR government is drawing up the roadmap to make them perfect, strengthen the foundation and core functions of the law, improve the system for accusations and imputations, and rationally adjust categorizing crimes and criminal behavior. More methods will be used for gathering information concerning security, and thwarting covert activities.

Eight consultation sessions will be held. Three of them are open to all Macao residents and the others to stakeholders in specific sectors, such as the political, legal, economic and financial fields.

The Macao SAR introduced its National Security Law in 2009.

Supporting the move, Macao lawmaker Si Ka-lon, a deputy to the National People's Congress, said it is important and urgent to keep the Law on Safeguarding National Security abreast of the times and adapt to local conditions, with the continued interference and infiltration of external forces in Macao, as well as the pandemic, which have brought about social and economic instability in the city.

Calling the amendments timely in filling the absence of some provisions, Si said it can ensure a stable and long-lasting implementation of the "one country, two systems "principle while safeguarding national security and the long-term stability of Macao.

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