OPINIONS Countries must fulfill their sovereign legislative duty to combat domestic terrorism

OPINIONS

Countries must fulfill their sovereign legislative duty to combat domestic terrorism

China.org.cn

15:06, May 27, 2020

At the beginning of 2019, the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) government proposed to amend the Fugitive Offenders Ordinance, but the legislation was disrupted by groups with ulterior motives both at home and abroad. The disruption resulted in the violence and social turmoil that has continued to this day, and continues to be a source of concern for both the Hong Kong citizens and people from Chinese mainland.

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Attention should be paid to the fact that the violent activities carried out by the radicals calling for "Hong Kong independence" are clearly akin to a form of homegrown terrorism in Hong Kong.

These radicals throw bottles, bricks, iron fences, gasoline bombs, and corrosive liquids on passersby, and use real guns and explosives. They beat innocent citizens who try to dissuade them, and even douse people with gasoline in attempts to burn them alive. More shocking is the distribution of "weapons manufacturing manuals" and "guidance for killing police" online to remotely incite violence.

They have escalated violence and terrorist activities during a critical time in the fight against COVID-19. On April 20, they sent a home-made bomb with a detonating device to Chris Ping-keung Tang, commissioner of police of the Hong Kong Police Force. This heinous act is nothing short of criminal terrorist violence.

However, even when confronted with violent and radical terrorists, the police found they were unable to enforce the law. Offenders will be arrested in the morning only to be released in the afternoon; perpetrators surround and bloody the police, threatening the lives of the officers and forcing them to fire warning shots in self-defense. Not only does the restraint of the police go unreciprocated, it actually further emboldens violent behavior.

What lies behind this is the fact that Hong Kong's legal system and enforcement mechanism for maintaining national security are absent.

On May 22, a spokesman for the Hong Kong and Macao Affairs Office of China's State Council stated in a speech that in the nearly 23 years since the return of Hong Kong, the legislation of Article 23 of the Basic Law of HKSAR has not been completed, and has been severely stigmatized and demonized. When it comes to maintaining national security, there are many institutional deficiencies within the HKSAR government in terms of the allocation of rights and powers. Under the current situation, it is imperative to establish and improve the legal system and enforcement mechanisms for Hong Kong to safeguard national security, and to change the long-term "defenseless" national security situation.

Establishing and improving legal systems and enforcement mechanisms to combat local terrorism and maintain national security order is the duty-bound responsibility of every sovereign country, regardless of its size or strength.

Even in countries with federalist systems, where the central cedes authority to the local, the power to manage national defense and national security still belongs to the central government without exception.

Four national security-related bills, including the Sedition Act and the Alien Enemies Act, were passed in the early years of the United States. After the September 11 attacks happened in New York in 2001, the U.S. government promulgated the USA PATRIOT Act and Homeland Security Act. In addition, the Department of Homeland Security, which then became the largest government department, was set up in 2002. After several attacks occurred in the U.S., the federal government recognized the increasing threat from domestic extremists, and included homegrown terrorism in the National Security Strategy for the first time.

The U.S. government spares no efforts in safeguarding national security, but they cannot tolerate other countries' concern for their own safety. Mike Pompeo, U.S. Secretary of State said that the proposal "would be a death knell for the high degree of autonomy Beijing promised for Hong Kong under the Sino-British joint declaration" and that it "would inevitably impact our assessment of ‘one country, two systems' and the status of the territory," which is just another interpretation of the "double-standard" of the U.S.

Long-term stability is the essential precondition for Chinese people, including citizens in Hong Kong, to live and work in peace and contentment, as well as to realize their fundamental rights. Improving the system for safeguarding national security based on China's Constitution and the Basic Law of HKSAR and fighting against domestic terrorism are exactly what Chinese people and the people around the world expect.

Those who want to score "anti-China" points and disrupt Hong Kong will soon find their days have come to an end, and the ridiculous idea of "using Hong Kong to manipulate China" is an effort made in vain. (Translated by Zhang Juan, Jiao Yuan)

Opinion articles reflect the views of their authors, not necessarily those of China.org.cn.

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