‘There is no one-party rule, but don’t oppose it’

Calls for an end to one-party rule in China could be illegal – or they might not be – but in any case there is no one-party rule, a former justice secretary told Hongkongers on Wednesday.

Elsie Leung, who’s also a former deputy of Beijing’s Basic Law Committee, explained that people might get away with chanting slogans denouncing one-party rule, but such a chant might breach the national security law if accompanied with “other actions”.

“Just chanting the slogan may not necessarily violate the law, but of course you have to look at the evidence, what was said and done beforehand and afterwards,” Leung told reporters after attending an event.

She then stressed that China has a multi-party system, which is led by the Chinese Communist Party (CCP). At the same time, the CCP is the ruling party, and this is set out in the constitution, she said.

People should respect the constitution, and they should not say anything that challenges it, she added.

An end to one-party rule in China had been a regular call at Hong Kong’s June 4 vigils to commemorate the victims of Beijing’s massacre in 1989.

Last year’s vigil at Victoria Park was outlawed, and the authorities are refusing to allow one this year either, citing the coronavirus pandemic for their decisions.

Leung was also asked about a possible ban on the Civil Human Rights Front – which organised some of the biggest rallies during the 2019 anti-government movement – with police now investigating the group.

Reporters asked her whether freedom of association could be undermined by the police’s move.

“In a democratic society, [the freedoms can be restricted] when there’s a need to do so, with the aim of protecting national security, public order and safety, and the rights of others,” she replied.