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Keywords and 'made-simple' Summary of the National Security (Legislative Provisions) Bill
(4th edition V Treason)

Last time we talked about giving aid and comfort to an enemy. You may ask whether a Chinese citizen commits treason if he is staying overseas and paying tax to a government there, and unfortunately that government is at war with the Peoples Republic of China? Will that person be charged with assisting the enemy?

Under English law, it is NOT treason if a British subject is in a foreign country when war breaks out between that country and England, and continues to reside there, or if during a truce he goes to a foreign country, and returns before the truce expires, unless he actually conspires with the enemy, or aids him in forwarding his measures in hostility.

The acts in fact assisted the enemy is not enough to constitute treason without proving the accused intended to do so to aid and comfort.

In other words, residing in another country or paying tax to another government even that government is enemy of the PRC is nothing wrong. The act of paying tax should not be considered as a way to help the enemy government to wage war on the PRC. It is simply an act to comply your legal obligation for staying in that country. It is impossible to prove a conviction in this section.

For avoidance of doubt, the Bill clearly specified the intention element of the offence. Only if the accused is proven to have an intention to prejudice the position of the PRC in the war in assisting the public enemy could he be considered guilty.

Similar offence can be found in the UK, USA, Canada and Australia. Australia, for instance, makes it an offence when one engages in conduct that assists by any means, with intent to assist, an enemy at war with the Commonwealth, or another country or an organization that is engaged in armed hostilities against Australian Defence Force.

In our next issue, we will start another core subject in the bill, that is Subversion A, which is a new section in our law.

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Note: Credit is due to the Hon Bernard Chan for sharing these information with me.

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