Macau national security law

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Demonstration against the Article 23 law in Macau

The Macau's national security law (Chinese: 維護國家安全法, Portuguese: Lei relative à defesa da segurança do Estado) is a law in Macau which prohibits and punishes acts of "treason, secession, and subversion" against the Central government, as well as "preparatory acts" leading to any of the three acts. Taken into effect on 3 March 2009, the purpose of the law is to fulfil Article 23 of the Macau Basic Law, the constitutional document of the Macau Special Administration Region.[1][2][3]


According to the Secretary for Administration and Justice Florinda da Rosa Silva Chan, the Macau bill has been drafting since 2004 with considerations for national security laws of other countries, particularly Portugal and Italy.[4] As up until 1999, Macau was a colony of Portugal. The draft unveiled on 22 Oct 2008 outlined Macau's proposal to ban treason, attempts to overthrow the Chinese government and theft of national secrets. Some of the proposed offenses carry a maximum penalty of 25 years in jail.[5]

Response to drafting of the law[edit]

Edmund Ho, Chief Executive of Macau, said in a press conference that the bill targets "serious criminal behavior" and will not limit protests or criticism of Beijing. He further said "Chanting a few slogans, writing a few articles criticizing the central government or the Macau government, these activities won't be regulated by this proposed law."[5] Macau Legislator Au Kam-san said "We don't want to see any mainland style national security law. It would be acceptable to enact a law based on the Johannesburg Principles.[6]

Political commentator Larry So Man-yum said the legislation would do well in Macau given residents' patriotism and their lack of awareness about civil rights. "There will be absolutely no problem. Compared to Hongkongers, Macau people have high levels of acceptance for the central government. No "Broomhead" will emerge in Macau."[6] In 2003, Secretary for Security Regina Ip was nicknamed "Broomhead" for attempting to sell Article 23 in Hong Kong.[6] The Hong Kong government on 22 October responded with having no plan to embark on the legislation, adding its most pressing commitments are economic and livelihood issues.[7]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "National security law promulgated in Macao". People's Daily. 2009-03-02. Retrieved 2009-03-03. 
  2. ^ Vaudine England (2009-03-03). "Macau law a 'bad example' for HK". BBC News. Retrieved 2009-03-03. 
  3. ^ "Basic Law of the Macao Special Administrative Region of the People' s Republic of China". Government of Macau. Archived from the original on 2012-02-05. 
  4. ^ South China Morning Post. "SCMP." Macau announces new security law. Retrieved on 2008-10-22.[dead link]
  5. ^ a b HKStandard. "The Archived 2011-05-22 at the Wayback Machine.." Macau unveils proposed national security bill. Retrieved on 2008-10-22.
  6. ^ a b c South China Morning Post. "SCMP." Edmund Ho to head talks on enacting security law. Retrieved on 2008-10-22.
  7. ^ "News,[permanent dead link]." HK has no plan to legislate Article 23. Retrieved on 2008-10-22.


  • Jorge Godinho, 'The Regulation of Article 23 of the Macau Basic Law. A Commentary of the Draft Law on the Protection of State Security', available at Social Science Research Network [1]. Includes English translation of most of the draft law.