‘Defending terrorism is a national security offence’

The Secretary for Justice, Teresa Cheng, has warned that “defending” or “glorifying” acts of terrorism amount to advocating them which is a national security offence, and reasons like freedom of speech or a free press are simply not legitimate grounds for defence.

Security chief Chris Tang had earlier classified the case of a man who died after stabbing a policeman in Causeway Bay on July 1 as “lone-wolf domestic terrorism”.

In an opinion piece published in the Sing Tao Daily newspaper on Monday, Cheng referred to a book written by mainland scholars, including former liaison office legal affairs chief, Wang Zhenmin, on Hong Kong’s national security law.

“Promoting and inciting terrorism is in itself a crime under the national security law. ‘Promotion’ here means propagating, defending and glorifying terrorist acts and theories,” Cheng quoted a line from the book.

She said people – especially public figures – should be aware of how sensitive the topic of terrorism is when they make public comments.

She stressed that banning the promotion of terrorism is common in security laws in many western countries, adding that it is “ridiculous” for some people to suggest that it’s only terrorism when civilians are targeted.

“Terrorist activities can target civilians, but also anybody else. By nature, terrorism is aimed at threatening the government by arousing fear,” she said.