OPINIONS HK must not let violence flare up again

OPINIONS

HK must not let violence flare up again

chinadaily.com.cn

22:51, June 11, 2020

The Chinese national flag and the flag of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region fly above the Golden Bauhinia Square in Hong Kong, China, Aug 5, 2019. (Photo:Xinhua)

Since June last year, violent activities that endanger people's lives and livelihoods have intensified in Hong Kong under the orchestration of radical separatist forces. The mayhem they have engineered has escalated to pose risks to the long-term prosperity and stability of the special administrative region and to the security of the country.

The social upheaval has dealt a heavy blow to Hong Kong's economy, seriously affected residents' life and work and eroded investor confidence. Not only has Hong Kong's GDP contracted for the first time in a decade and unemployment risen to its highest rate in nearly 10 years, but it has also lost its status as the world's freest economy, a title it had held for 25 years.

Despite this, the violence has become worse with anti-Beijing forces making Hong Kong the playground for their intemperate adventurism. And the discovery of a number of improvised explosive devices and the materials for making them at the end of last year and the beginning of this suggests that some are willing to take their inclinations to violence to extremes.

No government would stand idle in such circumstances, especially as the restraint shown by the authorities has only emboldened anti-Beijing elements in Hong Kong to openly solicit the patronage of outside forces hostile to China.

It was intended, as set out in Article 23 of the Basic Law, that the SAR would enact laws on its own to safeguard national security. But even 23 years after Hong Kong's return to China, that legislation has not materialized due to the sabotaging and obstruction of the relevant legislative process by opposition lawmakers in Hong Kong.

Given the severity of the turbulence in Hong Kong and the fact that some radical elements seem willing to resort to terrorism to advance their political agenda, it has become imperative to establish and improve the legal system and enforcement mechanisms to safeguard national security and public order in the SAR. Since it has become impossible for the SAR to do that itself, it has to be done at the State level.

Which is why the National People's Congress has now made the decision to draw up national security legislation for Hong Kong.

That a recent campaign rallying public support for the proposed legislation to improve the legal system and enforcement mechanisms in Hong Kong to better safeguard national security collected some 3 million signatures of local residents within a few days is clear evidence that law-abiding residents want an end to the disruptions and the restoration of law and order.

By forestalling and punishing acts that challenge the principle of "one country, two systems", undermine law and order in the SAR, or pose a threat to national security, the planned legislation will protect the lawful rights and interests of law-abiding residents and legal entities in the SAR.

Only those with a vested interest in fueling the turmoil in the SAR would have any cause to oppose it.

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