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Op-ed: China advances HK national security legislation

(People's Daily Online)    21:00, May 24, 2020

The National People's Congress, China’s top legislature, is advancing national security legislation for the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) from the state level in accordance with the Constitution and the HKSAR Basic Law. The decision will make sure that the “one country, two systems” principle is fully applied in the right direction.

This means that Hong Kong, almost without any national security legislation before, will gain an institutional foundation for national security under the leadership of the central government following the return of Hong Kong to the motherland.

China must improve the weakness and plug the loopholes from the state level. National security legislation falls within the authority of the central government.

In the course of drafting the HKSAR Basic Law, the central government, out of confidence in the HKSAR and out of respect for the original legal system, authorized the HKSAR through Article 23 of the HKSAR Basic Law to enact laws on national security by itself to prohibit seven types of acts that endanger national security.

However, local legislation involving Article 23 of the HKSAR Basic Law has been delayed and even severely stigmatized and demonized in the past 20 years or so since the establishment of the HKSAR.

The relevant provisions of the existing laws of the HKSAR have not been effectively implemented. They have basically gone into hibernation, with obvious weaknesses and shortcomings in the institutional set-up and personnel allocation for the maintenance of national security. This has made the HKSAR “defenseless” in terms of national security, which is rarely seen in the world. It’s also an important reason for rampant activities damaging national security in the HKSAR. Therefore, it’s impossible for the central government to stand idly watching.

It’s also imperative for China to improve the weakness and plug the loopholes from the state level. Since the anti-extradition protests in last June, “Hong Kong independence” and radical separatist activities in the city have grown increasingly rampant, and violent terrorism ramped up.

Meanwhile, some external forces openly meddled in Hong Kong affairs, and severely challenged the bottom line of the principle of “one country, two systems.”

The Office of the Commissioner of the Chinese Foreign Ministry expressed strong indignation over and condemned a recent online speech by Chris Patten, former governor of Hong Kong, at the Foreign Correspondents' Club in the city, which heaped accusations onto the HKSAR government's governance, distorted “one country, two systems” and the Basic Law, smeared the Chinese central government's Hong Kong policy, and tarnished China's international image.

Such outrageous behaviors meddling in Hong Kong affairs by some Western politicians are the result of Hong Kong’s loopholes in safeguarding national security. Some Western anti-China forces have colluded with Hong Kong’s rioters, which has seriously threatened China’s national security. Therefore, it’s necessary and urgent to establish and improve the legal system and enforcement mechanisms for the HKSAR to safeguard national security.

A chain is only as strong as its weakest link. To safeguard China’s national security, Hong Kong should play its role. Facts demonstrate that the HKSAR has become a major weakness and potential risk for China to safeguard its overall national security, which also directly affect safety of Hong Kong residents.

Addressing the shortcoming as soon as possible contributes to the long-term peace, stability, and prosperity of the HKSAR, the wellbeing of the local residents, as well as the long-term stability of the “one country, two systems” principle.

When it’s difficult for the HKSAR to enact national security laws on its own for a long time, the legal system for the city to safeguard national security should be put into place as soon as possible. It’s imperative for the central government to provide an institutional guarantee in this regard to effectively prevent national security risks, which is also a fundamental measure for the long-term stability of the “one country, two systems” principle.

(For the latest China news, Please follow People's Daily on Twitter and Facebook)(Web editor: Hongyu, Bianji)

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