There are two aspects of the 2020 national security law that do not fit comfortably in the common law tradition, and we should take the opportunity to tidy them up.
Surely an element of hostility towards China would have to be present for an action to become an offence. Moreover, the burden of proof must be on the prosecution.
All these aspects require careful work and thorough scrutiny. Although I won’t be popular for saying so, I think it would be better if we next had a white bill before the blue one to get the details right. This would take time, which would probably push enactment into the next Legislative Council session rather than before the summer recess.
One possible downside of having a legislature filled with patriots could be skimping on the in-depth scrutiny. But, as my grandmother used to say: “If a thing is worth doing, it’s worth doing well.”
Mike Rowse is an independent commentator