The Chinese national flags and flags of the Hong Kong SAR flutter in Hong Kong. [Photo/Xinhua]
The Commissioner's Office of the Chinese Foreign Ministry in the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region stressed on Thursday that the plan to enact national security legislation for Hong Kong brooks no interference, and urged foreign countries to stop meddling in the city's affairs.
The remarks from the office came a day after foreign ministers of the Group of Seven nations and the high representative of the European Union issued a joint statement in which they expressed "grave concern" over the issue. They urged Beijing to reconsider the decision, claiming that it will erode the "one country, two systems" principle and the SAR's high degree of autonomy.
Responding to that, an office spokesperson said in an online statement that it is just and legitimate for the central authorities to perfect the system of national security protection, just like any other sovereign state.
"We suggest the G-7 countries ask themselves: Isn't it true that each of them has national security legislation at home? Isn't such legislation enacted by the central government in their countries? And isn't such legislation applied to their entire territory?"
The G-7 is an intergovernmental economic organization comprising seven developed countries — the United States, the United Kingdom, Canada, France, Germany, Italy and Japan. All seven have established a robust mechanism to protect their own national security. The US has at least 20 laws related to national security, and violating some of them could be punishable by death.
The spokesperson pointed out that the planned national security legislation for the HKSAR is not to be smeared, interfered with or hampered, adding that any attempt to meddle in Hong Kong affairs would be futile.
Meanwhile, the spokesperson underlined in the statement that no one hopes more for the enduring success of the "one country, two systems" principle than China, and no one cares more about Hong Kong's prosperity and stability and its people's well-being and rights than the Chinese government and people.
Safeguarding national sovereignty, security and development interests is at the core of "one country, two systems", the spokesperson said, while again assuring the public that the law will target only a few criminal acts endangering national security and won't affect normal people's legitimate rights and freedoms.
The Standing Committee of the National People's Congress, the country's top legislature, began to deliberate the draft national security law for Hong Kong on Thursday. The draft clarifies what constitutes four categories of criminal acts and their relevant legal liabilities. The crimes are secession, subversion, terrorism, and collusion with external forces that endanger national security.
The spokesperson said Beijing will continue to extensively solicit opinions from across Hong Kong society through multiple channels and means while finalizing the legislation.