Leg­is­la­tion a ‘turn­ing point’, Lam says at SAR’s 23rd an­niver­sary

China Daily (Hong Kong) - - FRONT PAGE - By GANG WEN gang­wen@chi­nadaily.com.cn

The Na­tional Se­cu­rity Law for Hong Kong is a his­toric step for­ward in the prac­tice of the “one coun­try, two sys­tems” prin­ci­ple, Hong Kong’s chief ex­ec­u­tive and the head of the cen­tral govern­ment’s li­ai­son of­fice in the SAR said on Wed­nes­day, the 23rd an­niver­sary of the spe­cial ad­min­is­tra­tive re­gion’s es­tab­lish­ment.

Ad­dress­ing a re­cep­tion com­mem­o­rat­ing Hong Kong’s re­turn to China, Chief Ex­ec­u­tive Car­rie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor said the law marks the most sig­nif­i­cant progress in the re­la­tion­ship be­tween the cen­tral govern­ment and the SAR in the past 23 years, and that its en­act­ment is a his­tor­i­cal step to im­prove Hong Kong’s abil­ity to safe­guard na­tional in­ter­ests.

“The en­act­ment of the Na­tional Se­cu­rity Law in Hong Kong is a turn­ing point to take Hong Kong out of the cur­rent im­passe and to re­store sta­bil­ity and or­der from the chaos,” said Lam.

The law, which took ef­fect on the eve of the 23rd an­niver­sary of the es­tab­lish­ment of the Hong Kong SAR, after be­ing passed by China’s top leg­is­la­ture on the same day, crim­i­nal­izes acts of se­ces­sion, sub­ver­sion, ter­ror­ism and col­lu­sion with for­eign or ex­ter­nal forces to en­dan­ger na­tional se­cu­rity.

“It is also an es­sen­tial and timely de­ci­sion for restor­ing sta­bil­ity in Hong Kong,” said Lam, not­ing that the past year, which was char­ac­ter­ized by protest vi­o­lence and po­lit­i­cal un­rest, was the “tough­est chal­lenge” in her 40 years of pub­lic ser­vice.

To bring the re­la­tion­ship be­tween “one coun­try” and “two sys­tems” back on the right track and raise peo­ple’s aware­ness of the law, Lam said pub­lic ed­u­ca­tion, par­tic­u­larly among stu­dents, is of the ut­most im­por­tance.

Speak­ing at the same event, Luo Huin­ing, direc­tor of the Li­ai­son Of­fice of the Cen­tral Peo­ple’s Govern­ment in the Hong Kong SAR, said the en­act­ment of the Na­tional Se­cu­rity Law is a sig­nif­i­cant turn­ing point for Hong Kong to move from tur­moil to sta­bil­ity and a milestone for the prac­tice of “one coun­try, two sys­tems”.

“For the tiny mi­nor­ity who en­dan­ger na­tional se­cu­rity, this law will be a sword hang­ing over their heads. For the vast ma­jor­ity of Hong Kong res­i­dents, in­clud­ing for­eign­ers in Hong Kong, the law will be a guardian that pro­tects their rights, free­doms and peace­ful life,” Luo said.

Look­ing back on the past two decades, Luo said the peo­ple of Hong Kong take pride in the suc­cess­ful prac­tice of “one coun­try, two sys­tems”, and Hong Kong peo­ple have more free­doms and eco­nomic ben­e­fits with the sup­port of fa­vor­able poli­cies from the cen­tral govern­ment.

Hong Kong res­i­dents held city­wide cel­e­bra­tions on Wed­nes­day. Peo­ple were seen sing­ing the na­tional an­them and wav­ing na­tional flags at sev­eral iconic spots across the city, in­clud­ing Vic­to­ria Peak, a land­mark of the fi­nan­cial hub, and the Big Bud­dha — the world’s largest out­door sit­ting Bud­dha statue — at Po Lin Monastery.

Candy He­ung, one of the or­ga­niz­ers of the cel­e­bra­tions, said par­tic­i­pants wanted to show their love for the moth­er­land and Hong Kong, and cel­e­brate the pas­sage of the Na­tional Se­cu­rity Law for the SAR.

He­ung said the events were well­re­ceived by peo­ple from var­i­ous sec­tors, in­clud­ing a large num­ber of young peo­ple. These events send a positive mes­sage of love for the moth­er­land and sup­port for the “one coun­try, two sys­tems” prin­ci­ple, she said.


Hong Kong Chief Ex­ec­u­tive Car­rie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor (center) and other par­tic­i­pants at­tend a re­cep­tion mark­ing the 23rd an­niver­sary of the es­tab­lish­ment of the Hong Kong Spe­cial Ad­min­is­tra­tive Re­gion on Wed­nes­day.

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