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Lawmakers call for clarification of proposed state secrets bill

Committee chair Ella Lei Cheng I says bill follows mainland China’s state security law concerning secrets on economic and social development.

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Committee chair Ella Lei Cheng I says bill follows mainland China’s state security law concerning secrets on economic and social development.

ARTICLE BY

PUBLISHED

READING TIME

Less than 1 minute Minutes

UPDATED: 22 Dec 2023, 12:31 am

Legislators reviewing a bill defining state secrets and regulating their protection in the Macao Special Administrative Region are urging the government to clarify the exact definition and scope of state secrets.

The bill proposes to cover eight areas related to Macao’s socioeconomic development, and any person or entity having access to state secrets would fall under the obligation of confidentiality. Violations of state secrets are criminal offences under the National Security Law.

Directly-elected lawmaker-cum-unionist Ella Lei Cheng I, who chairs the Legislative Assembly’s 1st Standing Committee, said that the bill is mainly modelled on the state security law enforced in mainland China, such as concerning secrets on the economic and social development of the country.

The bill proposes that state secrets will no longer be secret after a confidentiality period of up to 30 years, Lei said, adding that in mainland China state secrets will be automatically declassified upon the expiry of the designated confidentiality period, but in Macao, the duration would need to be defined by the chief executive.

Lei said that the future state secrecy law would also apply to court trials during which a defendant would have to seek approval from the chief executive or the government to disclose information in his or her defence in court if it is considered to be a state secret.

Lei stressed that the judge would have the power to keep the respective trial session closed to members of the public, The Macau Post Daily reported.

 

UPDATED: 22 Dec 2023, 12:31 am

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