英文

下一篇

Editorial : Legal tools needed to tackle independence movement with pinpoint accuracy

【明報專訊】VICTOR Mallet, the first vice-president of the Foreign Correspondents' Club (FCC) and the Financial Times' Asia News Editor, applied for renewal of his work visa in Hong Kong last month. His application was rejected. Many people link the incident with the speech given by Andy Chan, convener of the Hong Kong National Party, which was hosted by Mallet.

The Financial Times has published an editorial expressing regret at the Mallet incident. Many Hong Kong and international associations of correspondents have also pleaded with the government to overturn the decision. The UK, US and European Union have published statements expressing concern over freedom of the press and free speech in Hong Kong, while the UK Foreign Office has demanded that the Hong Kong government offer an "urgent explanation". Meanwhile, the Office of the Commissioner of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Hong Kong (FMCOPRC) has stressed that the HKSAR government has the power to decide whether to issue a visa in accordance with the law, and that foreign countries have no right to interfere in the matter.

The HKSAR government has reiterated its long-standing stance and stressed that it will not comment on specific immigration cases. However, most people have linked the incident to the FCC's invitation to Andy Chan, convener of the Hong Kong National Party. One would be deceiving others and oneself to suggest that the two incidents are not related. The Hong Kong National Party advocates Hong Kong's independence, and the government has invoked the Societies Ordinance to ban it. The FCC invited Chan to make the speech before the ban came into effect. It is understood that the FMCOPRC once contacted the FCC and demanded that the FCC reconsider the invitation, but the FCC declined. The matter became a diplomatic incident the moment the Ministry of Foreign Affairs interfered. The Mallet incident only served to provoke an even greater diplomatic storm. It is unknown to outsiders whether the SAR government's refusal to renew Mallet's work visa involved even more complicated diplomatic issues. However, it is obvious that the diplomatic storm kicked up by Chan's speech continues to smoulder.

From a legal point of view, the FCC had the right to invite Andy Chan to make a speech, and the SAR government had no legal tools to stop it from happening. Likewise, the SAR government has the right not to explain why Mallet's work visa has not been renewed. After all, all governments have the power to decide whether to issue a visa to someone without offering an explanation. This is the international norm, to which the British colonial government was not an exception. A Taiwanese expert has mentioned that between 1956 and the mid-1980s, the British colonial government's policy for Taiwan-Hong Kong relations was primarily dependent on cross-strait relations and what was necessary for the Sino-British relations, using "border control and societies control measures". However, what is legally permissible is not necessarily politically prudent. Both the FCC's invitation to Chan to make a speech and the HKSAR government's handling of the matter have to be examined from the perspective of realpolitik to see whether they are in Hong Kong's interests.

With the profound changes in the international arena, Hong Kong is faced with increasing pressure to consider the national interest. For Hong Kong to have more room for political manoeuvre, it is necessary to have more legal tools to handle the national security issue. Article 23 of the Basic Law has now become "a necessary evil". The aim is to make sure that the government and all people do everything by the book and avoid exploiting the grey area.

明報社評2018.10.09:通盤兼顧應對港獨 精準打擊避免自傷

香港外國記者會(FCC)第一副主席、《金融時報》亞洲新聞主編馬凱(Victor Mallet)上月申請香港工作簽證續期遭拒,不少人都將今次事件,與早前馬凱主持香港民族黨召集人陳浩天午餐會演講聯繫起來。

《金融時報》發表評論,對馬凱事件深表遺憾,本港和國際多個記者組織亦促請政府撤回決定。英美歐盟發表聲明,關注香港新聞及言論自由,英國外交部要求港府「緊急解釋」,中國外交部駐港特派員公署則強調,特區政府有權依法決定是否批出簽證,外國無權干預。

特區政府重申一貫立場,強調不會評論個別出入境個案,然而多數人都聯想到FCC邀請民族黨召集人陳浩天演講風波,認為兩件事無關,未免自欺欺人。香港民族黨宣揚港獨,政府援引《社團條例》查禁,FCC在禁令落實前邀請陳浩天演講,據悉外交部駐港特派專員公署曾接觸FCC,要求重新考慮,惟FCC拒絕。事件由外交部介入交涉一刻開始,實際已升至外交層面,馬凱事件只是激起更大外交風浪。特區拒批工作簽證,背後會否牽涉更複雜的外交問題,外界無從得知,然而FCC邀請陳浩天演講所掀起的外交風波,顯然仍在不斷發酵。

單從法律層面來說,當日FCC有權邀請陳浩天演講,特區政府沒有法律工具可以阻止,現在特區政府亦有權不解釋拒絕馬凱工作簽證的原因。說到底,各地政府都有權決定是否向某人批出簽證,毋須解釋,這是國際常見做法,過去港英政府亦如此,有台灣學者便提到,1956年至1980年代中,港英政府的台港關係政策,主要視乎兩岸關係和中英關係需要,「採用出入境管理和社團控制措施」。然而法律容許的事,不代表在政治層面是明智做法。不管是當日FCC邀請陳浩天演講,還是今次港府的處理,都需要從政治現實主義角度審視,判斷是否符合香港利益。

國際形勢丕變,香港需要更多考慮國家利益的壓力愈來愈大。香港若要有更多政治迴旋空間,需要有法律手段處理國家安全問題。《基本法》第23條立法現在成了「必要之惡」,目標是要確保政府和所有人做事都要有規有矩,避免利用灰色地帶鑽空子。

■Glossary

with pinpoint accuracy : if sth is done with pinpoint accuracy, it is done exactly and in exactly the right position

smoulder : If a problem or unpleasant situation smoulders, it continues to exist and may become worse at any time

by the book : following rules and instructions in a very strict way

上 / 下一篇新聞