China’s top legislature Saturday reviewed a draft law on safeguarding national security in the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) at the 19th session of the Standing Committee of the 13th National People’s Congress. Chief Executive of HKSAR Carrie Lam responded that the HKSAR government gives its full support and will perform its duty to ensure the effective implementation of relevant laws in Hong Kong.
According to the explanation of the draft law given by the Legislative Affairs Commission of the NPC Standing Committee, the legislation clearly stipulates the respective responsibilities of the central government and the HKSAR government, the responsibility and functions of relevant institutions, and case jurisdiction, application of law and procedures. The national security legislation has shown the utmost trust and reliance of the central government on the HKSAR, and the persistent upholding of the policy of "one country, two systems" and Hong Kong people governing Hong Kong with a high degree of autonomy.
Trusting in the HKSAR to the greatest extent is mainly reflected in highlighting the responsible subjects and allowing the Hong Kong SAR to fulfill its constitutional and main responsibilities for maintaining national security. In other words, no country in the world has handed over the safeguarding of national security to local governments. This not only demonstrates the central government’s determination and courage to safeguard national security, but also shows its great trust in the HKSAR government.
Concretely speaking, the draft law has specified that law enforcement, prosecution and judicial work, including the majority of cases, are handed over to the HKSAR. The central government exercises limited and self-restraint law enforcement and jurisdiction. Only when the HKSAR cannot manage or fails to manage, will the central government take action. The central government will neither replace the responsibilities of the relevant institutions nor affect the independent judicial power and final adjudication power entitled by the HKSAR under the Basic Law. Those who spread the voices that “the national security legislation has killed the ‘one country, two systems’ policy” and “it is the end of judicial independence” can hold their tongues.
Relying on the HKSAR to the greatest extent, the central government believes the HKSAR can do a great job in establishing and improving relevant legal systems and enforcement mechanisms. The vitality of the law lies in its implementation. The provisions of this law are not about shouting slogans. They must be practical. The key is to rely on the HKSAR to strengthen law enforcement, judicial and other forces, and strengthen work related to safeguarding national security.
According to the draft, the HKSAR will establish a national security commission, which assumes primary responsibility for national security. The HKSAR Police Force will set up and staff a department to safeguard national security. Meanwhile, the Department of Justice of the HKSAR will establish a special national security crime prosecution department, responsible for related prosecution work and other related legal affairs. The HKSAR chief executive will appoint qualified judges to handle crimes against national security. It is clear that from law enforcement to prosecution to trial, the HKSAR itself plays the most critical role. In the face of clear and unambiguous regulations, those who want to confuse the public and interfere with public opinion will inevitably fail.
However, some Western politicians, in conjunction with "Hong Kong independence" forces, are vilifying the Hong Kong national security legislation. On June 19, the European Parliament also passed resolutions on Hong Kong’s national security legislation. This represents an unacceptable "double-standard" and gross interference in China’s internal affairs.
National security is China's domestic affair and the central government can legitimately introduce a national security law. Looking at other countries’ practices, the US boasts of the strictest national security laws, while the courts in UK won’t accept judicial review that hampers national security. Behavior that jeopardizes national security is never allowed by any nation. The well-known Federal Bureau of Investigation and Central Intelligence Agency in America, as well as the UK’s MI5, are all official bodies to safeguard national security. Are they willing to grant local governments the power of safeguarding national security? China allows the HKSAR government the responsibility to safeguard national safety, but as a result it was criticized by Western anti-China forces. What a shameless “double standard.”
For Hong Kong residents, the national security legislation is a litmus test. If they hope for long-term safety in the HKSAR, they should support the law and need not worry. If they want to carry out the “one country, two systems” principle steadily, they should endorse rather than object to the law.
Hong Kong is part of China and Hong Kong-related affairs are China’s domestic matters. Over 7 million Hong Kong residents are a part of the 1.4 billion Chinese family, therefore it’s legitimate to safeguard national security in the HKSAR. The national security legislation in the HKSAR shows the central government’s sincerity, and also means the HKSAR government has a big responsibility. With the firm support of the central government, the national security law, the HKSAR government’s determined efforts and Hong Kong residents’ solid endorsement, we have strong faith to believe that Hong Kong will overcome its difficulties and brace for a brighter future.