Delayed vote on sanctions law ‘not unusual’: scholar

A mainland scholar on Friday played down Beijing’s decision to postpone a vote on inserting the anti-sanctions law into Hong Kong’s Basic Law, saying it’s not unusual given the profound impact it could have on the SAR’s markets.

Tien Feilong, an associate professor of law at Beijing’s Beihang University said details have to be worked out on how the mainland law would be implemented in Hong Kong.

For example, he said the central government has to decide how local authorities should coordinate with mainland’s enforcement mechanism, and whether companies based in Hong Kong can apply for exemptions.

Tien said Beijing also need to make sure the “brand new” anti-sanctions law will cause as little impact to the Hong Kong market as possible.

The scholar, who’s also the director of the Chinese Association of Hong Kong and Macau Studies, noted that the law may also have a bearing on the SAR’s ties with the United States which has a lot of commercial activities in the city.

He said the central government has to assess the risks of the US decoupling from Hong Kong and its possible attacks on the SAR’s economic and trade status after the law is introduced.

Tien also said it’s not unusual for the National People’s Congress Standing Committee to postpone a vote, as it might vet a resolution for up to three times before voting on it.

Tien said he believed the central authorities did consider the current Legislative Council’s term is coming to an end next month, but he said it’s just a technical factor and it’s not a must to complete the local legislation in this current term.