又中又英——flat - footed

  China's national security law for Hong Kong caught many countries, especially Western countries, flat-footed. Beijing had announced it would impose a national security law for Hong Kong. Western countries were caught flat-footed because they didn't think the law would be so sweeping and promulgated so quickly. Many Western countries have now promised to welcome Hong Kong people who feel unsafe living here. If you were caught flat-footed, it means you were surprised by or unprepared for something that happened. The word "sweeping" used this way means affecting or including many people or many things. Many Hong Kong people were also caught flat-footed by the sweeping law and the speed with which it was promulgated.

  The word "promulgate" used this way means to make an official announcement introducing a law or rule, usually without going through normal procedures. New laws are normally debated and then either approved or defeated by legislatures, such as Hong Kong's Legislative Council or the US Congress. But the national security law was secretly discussed in China's National People's Congress and then imposed on Hong Kong without going through Legco. The US Congress quickly passed a law to impose sanctions on mainland and Hong Kong officials responsible for the national security law. A Democratic Party congressman, Brad Sherman, said the White House had squandered many months without speaking out in support of Hong Kong. He said the US government had put Hong Kong on the backburner.

  The word "squander" means to waste money or time in a foolish way. If you put something on the backburner, it means you give it low priority or decide not to deal with it. Sherman criticized the White House for giving Hong Kong low priority because it wanted to conclude a trade deal with China. The Hong Kong government put Article 23 national security legislation on the backburner after half a million people protested against it in 2003. That's why the central government decided to promulgate its own sweeping national security law for Hong Kong.

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  中國在香港實施的《國安法》,令許多國家尤其是西方國家措手不及(flat-footed)。北京此前已宣佈,會在香港實施一條國家安全法,西方國家給殺個措手不及(flat-footed),是因為他們不認為法例會是如此影響廣泛(sweeping),且又頒佈(promulgated)得如此快速。許多西方國家現已承諾,歡迎那些在這兒感到不安全的人到他們那裏。若你were caught flat-footed,意即你對某事的發生毫無防範,給殺個措手不及。Sweeping在這裏是指影響廣泛,牽涉到許多人或許多事的。對於這影響廣泛(sweeping)的法例,以及它頒佈(promulgated)之迅速,許多香港人也給殺個措手不及(flat-footed)。

  Promulgate在這裏是指正式頒佈一條新法例或規例,多是沒有經過正常的程序。新法例通常都會經由立法機關,例如香港的立法會或美國國會,進行辯論,然後通過或者否決。然而,《國安法》是在全國人大秘密審議,然後繞過立法會,直接在香港實施。美國國會很快便通過了一條法案,制裁那些負責《國安法》的中國內地及香港官員。一位民主黨眾議員謝爾曼就說,白宮已經浪費了(squandered)許多個月,沒有去聲援香港。他說,美國政府把香港放在次一等的位置(backburner)。

  Squander是指愚蠢地浪費或揮霍金錢或時間。若你put something on the backburner,意即你認為某事很不重要,將它放在很次要的位置,又或決定暫時擱在一旁。謝爾曼批評白宮將香港放在很次要的位置,因為它只想達成跟中國的貿易協議。二○○三年,當有五十萬人遊行抗議二十三條就國家安全的立法後,香港政府就暫且擱置了(backburner)二十三條立法;因此,中央政府決定要自行給香港頒佈(promulgate)一條全面徹底的(sweeping)《國安法》。mickchug@gmail.com

Michael Chugani褚簡寧

中譯:七刻

Michael Chugani 褚簡寧


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