Keywords and ‘made-simple’ Summary of the National Security
A new section “Secession 分裂國家” will be added to the Crimes Ordinance to provide that it is an offence of secession to withdraw any part of the People’s Republic of China from its sovereignty by using force or serious criminal means that “seriously endangers the territorial integrity” of the PRC or by engaging in war.
An offender is liable to a maximum penalty of life imprisonment.
One must also note that this law applies to any Hong Kong permanent resident in relation to secession done by him outside Hong Kong. That means the law has extra-territorial effect.
In fact, it is proposed that the offences of subversion and secession should apply to acts done outside Hong Kong by any Hong Kong permanent resident.
Examples of legislation having extra-territorial effect that were enacted before and after the reunification are section 4 of the Prevention of Bribery Ordinance and section 7(1A) of the Gambling Ordinance. The former provides that any person who “whether in Hong Kong or elsewhere” bribes a public servant shall be guilty of an offence. The latter makes it an offence for a person to engage in bookmaking by receiving, negotiating or settling “outside Hong Kong” a bet which was placed from Hong Kong.
The act of such an approach is that there be circumstances in which the acts of a Hong Kong permanent resident committed outside Hong Kong (whether in the mainland or not) might amount to offences against the state both in Hong Kong and the mainland.
The extra-territorial clauses of the offences of subversion and secession provide for the circumstances where the courts have jurisdiction to try these offences committed outside of the geographical boundaries of Hong Kong.
A Hong Kong permanent resident who committed an extra-territorial offence of subversion or secession and who returned to Hong Kong could be arrested and prosecuted before Hong Kong courts in the normal way.
Note: Credit is due to the Hon Bernard Chan for sharing these information with me.