National Security Law breathes new life into Hong Kong
2020-07-10 07:40



On June 30, The Standing Committee of the National People's Congress (NPC), China's top legislature,adopted the Law of the People's Republic of China on Safeguarding National Security in the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR), as a response to the social unrest and escalating street violence which has troubled Hong Kong people for nearly a year.

The NPC decision makes it clear, from the very beginning, that the State resolutely, fully and faithfully implements the policy of One Country, Two Systems under which Hong Kong people administer Hong Kong with a high degree of autonomy. This commitment was reaffirmed in Article 1 of the legislation on safeguarding national security in Hong Kong. The goal of this legislation is to close the critical loophole in national security in Hong Kong, cement the foundation of One Country, and provide maximum safeguard for Hong Kong to harness the strengths of Two Systems on the basis of upholding One Country. It will not affect the HKSAR's independent judicial power, including that of final adjudication. There will be no change to the policy of One Country, Two Systems, the capitalist system, the high degree of autonomy, or the legal system of the Hong Kong SAR.

Some people have expressed the concern that the legislation will jeopardize Hong Kong's prosperity and stability. Quite the contrary, the legislation will usher in a turning point for Hong Kong to end chaos and bring back order. It will help Hong Kong sustain a favorable business environment, consolidate and elevate its status as a financial, trade and shipping center, and bolster the confidence of foreign investors. After its adoption, the NPC decision received explicit support from many Hong Kong-based foreign-invested corporations, including HSBC, Standard Chartered, Swire and Jardines. They are all convinced that the legislation will contribute to the lasting stability of Hong Kong, and serve as the very foundation and prerequisite for all development.

Around the globe, be it New York or London, no international financial center will see its business environment undermined by the enforcement of a national security legislation. A recent survey by the American Chamber of Commerce in Hong Kong shows that more than 70 percent of companies don't have plans to move capital, assets, or business operations from Hong Kong, and more than 60 percent of the respondents personally don't consider leaving the city. No businesses will turn against opportunities and profits. The Macao SAR passed its national security legislation in 2009 in accordance with Article 23 of its Basic Law. From 2009 to 2019, Macao's GDP soared by 153 percent, its number of tourists up by 81 percent, and its overall unemployment rate down to a ten-year low.

Some Western politicians and media have even erroneously misinterpreted the legislation as an "suppression of the protests and the promotion of democracy in Hong Kong", which is absolute nonsense, fully underscores the bias and double standards of some people on Hong Kong affairs. What has happened since the return of Hong Kong proves that the freedoms of speech, of the press, of publication, of association, of assembly, of procession and of demonstration enjoyed by Hong Kong residents in accordance with the law have been fully protected.

Since the turbulence over the amendment bill in June last year, some radical protesters have deliberately stirred up violent incidents. Their actions have gone far beyond the scope of peaceful demonstration and freedom of expression, and turned into extremist, violent and illegal acts. Such violent acts have blatantly violated laws, posed serious threats to the safety of Hong Kong citizens and openly challenged the sovereignty and dignity of the State. The malicious nature of their acts has been laid bare by clear facts and solid evidence.

Peaceful and reasonable expression of demand is a basic requirement and an intrinsic part of a culturally advanced society based on the rule of law. Having said that, rights must be exercised within the framework of the rule of law, and no demand should be expressed by illegal means, let alone resorting to violence. The rule of law is the core value of Hong Kong and the cornerstone for its long-term stability and prosperity. Ensuring observance of laws and prosecution of lawbreakers is a manifestation of the spirit of the rule of law. Only by taking zero tolerance toward violence and rioters, can Hong Kong's law and order be protected and the rule of law upheld. Supporting and conniving at violence and rioters represents a flagrant infringement of democracy, freedom and the rule of law.