The government says it will start stripping charities of their tax exemption status if they are deemed to have violated the national security law.

Treasury Secretary Christopher Hui made the announcement in a blog post on Monday, saying the authorities can’t allow national security to be jeopardised.

“Promoting public interest through charitable work should of course be encouraged, but we also have to prevent people with ulterior motives from endangering national security in the name of charity,” said Hui.

“If any organisation is found to have participated or used its resources to support or promote activities contrary to the interest of national security, we will not hesitate to strip it of its charity status and withdraw its tax exemptions,” he warned.

“Our commissioner of inland revenue has to review if there’s anything that should be adjusted to fit new situations, and [it would be] only right for him to make amendments according to the national security law.”

Hui sidestepped questions from reporters at Legco as to whether the government already has a list of charities to be investigated.

The Tax Guide for Charitable Institutions and Trusts of a Public Character has been amended to include the national security requirement, with Hui saying the changes come into force immediately.
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