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