Deputies to de­lib­er­ate on mea­sures to boost HK se­cu­rity

China Daily (Hong Kong) - - FRONT PAGE - By ZHANG YANGFEI zhangyangf­ei@chi­nadaily.com.cn

Ef­forts must be made at the State level to es­tab­lish and im­prove the le­gal sys­tem and en­force­ment mech­a­nisms for Hong Kong to safe­guard na­tional se­cu­rity and change its long-term “de­fense­less” sta­tus in the field of na­tional se­cu­rity, Wang Chen, vice-chair­man of the Stand­ing Com­mit­tee of the Na­tional Peo­ple’s Congress, said on Fri­day while ex­plain­ing a draft de­ci­sion to the third ses­sion of the 13th NPC.

Such ef­forts will ad­vance in­sti­tu­tion build­ing to safe­guard na­tional se­cu­rity in ac­cor­dance with China’s Con­sti­tu­tion and the Ba­sic Law of the Hong Kong Spe­cial Ad­min­is­tra­tive Re­gion, strengthen the work of safe­guard­ing na­tional se­cu­rity and en­sure the steady and en­dur­ing growth of the cause of “one coun­try, two sys­tems”, Wang said.

China’s top leg­is­la­ture will de­lib­er­ate on the draft de­ci­sion on es­tab­lish­ing and im­prov­ing the le­gal sys­tem and en­force­ment mech­a­nisms for Hong Kong to safe­guard na­tional se­cu­rity dur­ing its an­nual ses­sion this year.

If the de­ci­sion is ap­proved, the NPC Stand­ing Com­mit­tee will for­mu­late re­lated laws as soon as pos­si­ble to solve Hong Kong’s prob­lems in main­tain­ing na­tional se­cu­rity, strengthen the con­struc­tion of spe­cial­ized and law en­force­ment agen­cies and en­sure the law will be ef­fec­tively im­ple­mented in Hong Kong, Wang said.

Since the re­turn of Hong Kong to the mother­land, China has been firmly im­ple­ment­ing the prin­ci­ples of “one coun­try, two sys­tems”, “the peo­ple of Hong Kong gov­ern­ing Hong Kong”, and a high de­gree of au­ton­omy, which have achieved un­prece­dented suc­cess in Hong Kong, he said.

But the in­creas­ing na­tional se­cu­rity risks in Hong Kong have be­come a prom­i­nent prob­lem, es­pe­cially the un­rest trig­gered by the ex­tra­di­tion bill last June, which has seen sep­a­ratists de­face the na­tional flag and em­blem, van­dal­ize pub­lic fa­cil­i­ties and prop­erty, at­tack the po­lice and cen­tral gov­ern­ment agen­cies and par­a­lyze the nor­mal oper­a­tion of the Leg­isla­tive Coun­cil, he said, adding that some ex­ter­nal forces have also bla­tantly in­ter­vened in Hong Kong af­fairs.

These acts have se­ri­ously chal­lenged the bot­tom line of the “one coun­try, two sys­tems” prin­ci­ple, harmed the rule of law, and threat­ened na­tional sovereignt­y, se­cu­rity and de­vel­op­ment in­ter­ests, Wang said.

Law-based and force­ful mea­sures must be taken to pre­vent, stop and pun­ish such ac­tiv­i­ties, he said.

Ar­ti­cle 23 of the Ba­sic Law stip­u­lates that the Hong Kong SAR shall en­act laws on its own to pro­hibit any act of trea­son, se­ces­sion, sedi­tion or sub­ver­sion against the Cen­tral Peo­ple’s Gov­ern­ment, or the theft of State se­crets, and pro­hibit for­eign po­lit­i­cal or­ga­ni­za­tions or bod­ies from con­duct­ing po­lit­i­cal ac­tiv­i­ties in the re­gion and es­tab­lish­ing ties with lo­cal po­lit­i­cal or­ga­ni­za­tions or bod­ies.

More than 20 years af­ter Hong Kong’s re­turn to China, how­ever, re­lated laws are yet to ma­te­ri­al­ize due to sab­o­tage and ob­struc­tion by those try­ing to cause trou­ble in Hong Kong and China at large, as well as ex­ter­nal hos­tile forces, Wang said.

Wang elab­o­rated sev­eral ba­sic prin­ci­ples to stick to: firmly safe­guard­ing na­tional se­cu­rity; up­hold­ing and im­prov­ing “one coun­try, two sys­tems”; ad­her­ing to gov­ern­ing Hong Kong in ac­cor­dance with the law; res­o­lutely op­pos­ing ex­ter­nal in­ter­fer­ence; and sub­stan­tially safe­guard­ing the le­git­i­mate rights and in­ter­ests of Hong Kong peo­ple.

Also on Fri­day, a spokesper­son for the Hong Kong and Ma­cao Af­fairs Of­fice of the State Coun­cil said in a state­ment that the NPC’s re­view of the draft is “very timely, nec­es­sary and im­por­tant”.

It will help lay a solid foun­da­tion for the “one coun­try, two sys­tems” prin­ci­ple, con­sid­er­ing the in­creas­ing strug­gles faced by the Hong Kong SAR gov­ern­ment in main­tain­ing se­cu­rity in re­cent years, the spokesper­son said.

The spokesper­son added that the new laws will only tar­get those ac­tiv­i­ties that at­tempt to split the coun­try, sub­vert State power, or­ga­nize ter­ror­ist at­tacks and in­ter­fere with Hong Kong’s in­ter­nal af­fairs in league with for­eign forces.

The new laws will not af­fect the rights and free­doms en­joyed by Hong Kong res­i­dents, in­clud­ing free­dom of demon­stra­tion and as­sem­bly, as well as free­dom of speech, but will en­able them to bet­ter ex­er­cise those rights in a safe en­vi­ron­ment.

The spokesper­son re­as­sured that the “one coun­try, two sys­tems” prin­ci­ple, the eco­nomic sys­tem im­ple­mented in Hong Kong, the high de­gree of au­ton­omy and the lo­cal le­gal sys­tem will not be changed and the in­ter­ests of for­eign in­vestors in Hong Kong will con­tinue to be pro­tected.

Since the un­rest trig­gered by the ex­tra­di­tion bill last June, sep­a­ratist forces have bla­tantly clam­ored for “Hong Kong in­de­pen­dence” with the sup­port of for­eign and “Tai­wan in­de­pen­dence” forces and com­mit­ted vi­o­lent crimes of a ter­ror­ist na­ture, the spokesper­son said, adding that these acts se­ri­ously chal­lenge the bot­tom line of the “one coun­try, two sys­tems” prin­ci­ple and en­dan­ger na­tional sovereignt­y, unity and ter­ri­to­rial in­tegrity.

As an ad­min­is­tra­tive re­gion un­der the cen­tral gov­ern­ment, Hong Kong has the con­sti­tu­tional re­spon­si­bil­ity to pre­vent and pun­ish any acts that en­dan­ger na­tional se­cu­rity. How­ever, Hong Kong failed to ad­vance the long-dor­mant na­tional se­cu­rity bill, plac­ing the re­gion in a “de­fense­less” state that is rare to see in the world and re­veal­ing many loop­holes in work re­lated to in­sti­tu­tional is­sues and the al­lo­ca­tion of power, the spokesper­son said

In light of these cir­cum­stances, the NPC, as the high­est or­gan of State power, has the right granted by the Con­sti­tu­tion to make pro­vi­sions on es­tab­lish­ing and im­prov­ing Hong Kong’s le­gal sys­tem and to au­tho­rize the NPC Stand­ing Com­mit­tee to draft the law, the spokesper­son said, adding that this is an “in­evitable, jus­ti­fied and nat­u­ral choice”.

The Li­ai­son Of­fice of the Cen­tral Peo­ple’s Gov­ern­ment in the Hong Kong SAR said on Fri­day that the on­go­ing na­tional leg­isla­tive ses­sion’s de­lib­er­a­tions on Hong Kong are “an im­per­a­tive move” to fix the le­gal loop­holes in Hong Kong con­cern­ing na­tional se­cu­rity.

A spokesper­son for the of­fice said in a state­ment that the de­lib­er­a­tions are fun­da­men­tal to safe­guard­ing the “one coun­try, two sys­tems” prin­ci­ple.

The move fully re­flects the cen­tral gov­ern­ment’s strong will and firm de­ter­mi­na­tion to safe­guard na­tional se­cu­rity and demon­strates the res­o­lute de­fense of and ut­most care for the over­all in­ter­ests of Hong Kong and the fun­da­men­tal well-be­ing of Hong Kong com­pa­tri­ots, the spokesper­son said.

The Of­fice of the Com­mis­sioner of the Min­istry of For­eign Af­fairs in Hong Kong also re­leased a state­ment. It said that although Hong Kong has been re­turned to the mother­land for 23 years, some forces ig­nored that fact and at­tempted to con­sider Hong Kong an in­de­pen­dent or half-in­de­pen­dent po­lit­i­cal en­tity. They dis­torted the “one coun­try, two sys­tems” prin­ci­ple, the aims and con­tents of the Ba­sic Law and ob­structed leg­is­la­tion in ac­cor­dance with Ar­ti­cle 23 of the Ba­sic Law in ev­ery pos­si­ble way.

The of­fice said it ex­pected the in­ter­na­tional com­mu­nity to stick to the prin­ci­ples of non­in­ter­fer­ence in in­ter­nal af­fairs, mu­tual re­spect for sovereignt­y and ter­ri­to­rial in­tegrity, to sup­port “one coun­try, two sys­tems” in real ac­tion, re­spect and sup­port the ef­forts that China has made to main­tain na­tional se­cu­rity in Hong Kong ac­cord­ing to the law, and not to in­ter­fere in Hong Kong af­fairs and the in­ter­nal af­fairs of China in any way.

SHEN HONG / XIN­HUA

Wang Chen, vice-chair­man of the coun­try’s top leg­is­la­ture, re­ports on a draft of its de­ci­sion on strength­en­ing Hong Kong’s le­gal sys­tem and en­force­ment mech­a­nisms on na­tional se­cu­rity, and the draft civil code in Bei­jing on Fri­day.

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