Macau, China, 17 Dec – Macau Chief Executive Edmund Ho Hau Wah said Tuesday that a proposal for a national defence and security bill, which includes a 25-year prison sentence for treason against China, has already been submitted to the Executive Council, and will then go to the Legislative Assembly.
The bill proposal, which has been approved by the Consultation Council, was presented by the government and underwent a 40-day public consultation period, in which 6,000 people and 456 associations took part in 25 sessions.
According to the government, 86.76 percent of individuals agreed with the bill proposal, 2.59 percent did not, and 10.65 percent did not have an opinion. In regards to associations, 98.85 percent agreed with the terms of the bill proposal and 2.36 percent disagreed.
The government said that more than 6,500 people visited the website that was created to provide information about the bill proposal.
The bill proposal kept a prison sentence of between 15 and 25 years for crimes such as treason, and ruled out the inclusion of foreign citizens (non-Chinese) in this crime.
Among the changes, Florinda Chan, Secretary for Administration and Justice, highlighted that it did away with punishing any preparation of theft of state secrets and sedition, and it kept sentences of between one month and three years for treason against China, subversion and secession.
The bill proposal also contained an article where a sentence may be lighter or where a crime may no longer be punishable, “if, after acknowledging significant harm, the person or organisation voluntarily and substantially lessens the danger produced by the act or eliminates it”.
Also, hearings in a criminal case “are public”, expect for cases relating to theft of state secrets, where the judge may determine to exclude publicity, taking into account the damage it may cause.
Crimes of secession and acts of subversion against the Central People’s Republic are punishable with sentences of 15 to 25 years, whilst incitement of such acts may be punishable with one to eight years of prison.
Theft of state secrets, including spying or buying secrets, is punishable with a prison sentence of between two and eight years, whilst espionage has a sentencing range of between three and 10 years.
The bill proposal also prohibits foreign political organisations or associations from conducting activities against national security and prohibits political organisations or associations in Macau to associate with them.
The bill proposal also includes accessory sentences, such as loss of political rights, ban from public offices, and deportation of non-permanent residents from the region.
The bill being proposed applies to crimes committed in Macau, or in the case of the holder of a permanent resident identity card, it also applies to crimes committed abroad.