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National security law in HKSAR to protect people's rights: HK's legal sector

(Xinhua)    14:44, July 03, 2020

HONG KONG, July 3 (Xinhua) -- Hong Kong's well-known legal bodies and practitioners said Thursday that the newly enacted law on safeguarding national security in the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) applies only to a very small number of criminals who endanger national security and the law can protect the legitimate rights and freedoms of the vast majority of Hong Kong residents.

Maria Tam Wai-chu, deputy director of the HKSAR Basic Law Committee under the National People's Congress (NPC) Standing Committee, said that according to the Law of the People's Republic of China on Safeguarding National Security in the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region that came into force on Tuesday, the Committee for Safeguarding National Security established by the HKSAR is responsible for the HKSAR upholding national security affairs, taking up main responsibility for safeguarding national security.

The Office for Safeguarding National Security of the Central People's Government (CPG) in the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region exercises jurisdiction over a very small number of crimes against national security. All these provisions show that the central government trusts the SAR's ability to shoulder the corresponding constitutional responsibilities, Tam added.

Priscilla Leung Mei-fun, chairwoman of the HKSAR Legislative Council's Panel on Administration of Justice and Legal Services, said that the new law has taken into account both the need to safeguard national security and the unique situation of Hong Kong. In particular, sufficient adjustment has been made in regard to the legal system and the actual situation of Hong Kong has been fully taken into account.

Leung urged all sectors to work together on the promotion and education of the law so that all residents in Hong Kong know that the HKSAR is part of the territory of the People's Republic of China, so as to prevent any activities that harm the interests of the country, the feelings of the people, the national dignity and national security from occurring in Hong Kong.

President of the Law Society of Hong Kong Melissa Kaye Pang said the law shows the central government's confidence in and respect for Hong Kong's legal system.

In many countries in the world, cases involving national security usually fall in the jurisdiction of the central or federal agencies. But the national security law for Hong Kong allows the Hong Kong Police Force, the HKSAR government's Department of Justice and Hong Kong's courts to handle the cases, she pointed out.

The Hong Kong Legal Exchange Foundation said in a statement that the NPC Standing Committee has widely solicited opinions from various sectors of Hong Kong residents and has thoroughly considered the specific circumstances of Hong Kong in many aspects.

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

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