Business Hong Kong Politics & Protest

Commerce Sec. and pan-dem lawmakers accuse each other over copyright bill failure

Pan-democratic lawmakers and Secretary for Commerce and Economic Development Gregory So Kam-leung are locked in a recrimination quarrel after So blamed the copyright amendment bill failure on the pan-democrats.

The bill failed to pass after the LegCo meeting was adjourned at 1pm on Friday.

gregory so kam-leung copyright bill

Gregory So Kam-leung. Photo: RTHK screen cap.

“Everyone can see that because of ‘filibustering’ [by pan-democrats], there are many proposals that are ‘clogging up’ the Legislative Council,” So said after the meeting was adjourned.

The Copyright Alliance also heavily criticised the pan-democrats. “They should be held accountable for the losses to the creative industries and the setback to Hong Kong’s economy.”

Pan-democratic Civic Party’s Dennis Kwok said that during the LegCo meeting, So failed to discuss the “limited fair use” revision that he proposed along with lawmakers Kenneth Leung and Charles Mok.

charles mok dennis kwok copyright bill

Dennis Kwok (left) and Charles Mok (right). Photo: RTHK screen cap.

“[So] kept saying this proposal is not new. Why does whether it is new or old matter? Most importantly, with this proposal, we have made a step forward, hoping that the copyright owners and the government would also make a step forward, in order for us to reach a compromise,” said Kwok.

Labour Party’s Cyd Ho Sau-lan was critical of So’s performance, saying that he was “incompetent.”

cyd ho sau-lan copyright bill

Cyd Ho Sau-lan. Photo: RTHK screen cap.

“If the government relies on the fact that they have enough votes, rejects the three revisions proposed by the pan-democrats and pass the bill in its original form, this will be a bad law.”

“The responsibility of us LegCo pan-democrats is not to help the government pass any laws unconditionally. Our responsibility is to protect citizens’ civil rights. On this, we have succeeded.”

So also laid blame on the pan-democrats in the LegCo meeting. “Remember these people. Remember them one by one. It’s them who are the culprits,” he said.

Pan-democratic Democratic Party’s Emily Lau Wai-hing reacted angrily, saying, “We are elected Legislative Councillors participating in politics. I want citizens to remember me. Even more so, I want them to remember this government. But what’s the point? They don’t have the right to vote. I want them to have the vote to vote you out.”

emily lau copyright bill

“They don’t have the right to vote.” Emily Lau Wai-hing. Photo: NowTV screencap.

Pro-establishment lawmakers voiced their disappointment in the failure to pass the bill.

DAB’s Chan Kam-lam said, “Nobody benefits from this. Everyone’s a loser.”

ma fung-kwok copyright bill

Ma Fung-kwok. Photo: NowTV screen cap.

New Century Forum’s Ma Fung-kwok, who is a lawmaker in the sports and culture sector, said, “If it is not possible to discuss this bill again, [I] hope that the government could restart consultation as quickly as possible in the remaining one year of their term, to discuss the concerns of the industries, netizens and citizens.”

Dubbed “Internet Article 23” by campaigners – a reference to Hong Kong’s ill-fated security law – the copyright amendment bill has faced major opposition from local netizens who fear it may curb internet freedoms.

Pan-democratic lawmakers, opposed to the amendments, have been waging a filibuster in order to delay the bill since December. So announced last week that if the bill is not passed this week, it will be withdrawn. He issued an ultimatum to pan-democrats on Thursday, asking them to stop filibustering.

Commerce Sec. and pan-dem lawmakers accuse each other over copyright bill failure