File photo: CGTN
GENEVA, June 30 (Xinhua) -- Chief Executive of China's Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) Carrie Lam on Tuesday addressed the UN Human Rights Council via video message, urging the international community to respect China's right to safeguard national security and HK people's aspirations for stability and harmony.
Speaking at the opening of the 44th session of the UN Human Rights Council, Carrie Lam stressed that the legislation to safeguard national security is now urgently needed.
"National security is invariably under the purview of the central authorities, be it in China or any other countries. In all countries, the power to legislate on national security rests solely with the central government," she said.
The chief executive said that Hong Kong is an inalienable part of China -- a special administrative region enjoying a high degree of autonomy which comes directly under the central government, but Hong Kong has not been able to fulfill its constitutional duty. For the sake of not only the 7.5 million Hong Kong residents, but also the 1.4 billion people in the Chinese mainland, "the question of how long we could tolerate such a gaping hole in national security has to be asked, and answered."
Since last June, she said, Hong Kong has been traumatized by escalating violence fanned by external forces. During this period, groups advocating "Hong Kong independence" and "self-determination" incited protesters to desecrate and burn the national flag, vandalize the national emblem and storm the central government's office in Hong Kong.
Further, some local politicians proclaimed that they would paralyze the HKSAR government while others campaigned for foreign governments to interfere in Hong Kong's affairs or even to impose sanctions on Hong Kong.
Saying that these acts have crossed the "One Country" red line, Lam called for resolute action. She said, "no central government could turn a blind eye to such threats to sovereignty and national security as well as risks of subversion of state power."
She told the Council that as the highest organ of state power in China, the National People's Congress has the constitutional power and the duty to enact national security legislation for the HKSAR.
"The legislation aims to prevent, curb and punish acts of secession, subversion of state power, terrorist activities, and collusion with foreign or external forces to endanger national security," Lam said.
"These crimes will be clearly defined in the law. It will only target an extremely small minority of people who have breached the law, while the life and property, basic rights and freedoms of the overwhelming majority of Hong Kong residents will be protected," she added.
Upholding important legal principles, the legislation will not undermine "One Country, Two Systems" and Hong Kong's high degree of autonomy, she stressed.
"Hong Kong is a free and diversified society. We respect differences in opinion and thrive on reaching consensus. But the 'One Country' principle is non-negotiable and could not be compromised, as without 'One Country', 'Two Systems' will stand on shaky ground and Hong Kong's stability and prosperity will be at risk," said Lam.
She told the Council that for those foreign governments or politicians raising objections to the legislation, one could only lament the "double standards" they are adopting.
"All those countries that have pointed their fingers at China have their own national security legislation in place. We could think of no valid reason why China alone should be inhibited from enacting national security legislation to protect every corner of its territory and all of its nationals," she explained.
She highlighted that with full conviction in "One Country, Two Systems" and upon implementation of the national security legislation, Hong Kong will ride out the political storm since last June and emerge stronger with stability restored.
"I and the Hong Kong SAR government are determined to capitalize on our strengths, harness the opportunities presented by our country's development and provide Hong Kong people with brighter prospects," Lam noted.