Macau, China, 26 Feb – The Legislative Assembly of Macau approved by majority on Wednesday a proposal national security law of the Special Administrative Region.
Four months after the Chief Executive of Macau presented the proposal, the Legislative Assembly approved the national security bill with some alterations, related to reducing the minimum prison sentence for the various crimes, such as treason.
The state Security bill was approved with sentences of between 10 and 25 years for treason – where foreign citizens (non-Chinese) are not included – and for secession, and subversion against the Central Government of the People’s Republic, whilst incitement of such acts is 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 sentence range of between three and 10 years.
The new law also contained an article where a sentence may be lighter or where a crime may no longer be punishable, “after acknowledging significant harm, the person or organisation voluntarily and substantially lessens the danger produced by the act or eliminates it”.
The bill that has just been approved, listed under article 23 of the Basic Law of Macau, also includes accessory sentences, such as loss of political rights, ban from public offices, and deportation of non-permanent residents from the region.
The new law 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.
The state security bill has been on Macau’s political agenda for several years, though it never managed to be officially presented to Macau’s Legislative Assembly. An attempt was made by Hong Kong in 2003, which led to tens of thousands of people to protest in the streets, consequently leading to an open-ended suspension of the discussion in the former British colony.