The ACYF HK Members Association and the Y.Elites Association, two Hong Kong youth organizations, recently pledged support for China’s new national security legislation for Hong Kong Special Administrative region (HKSAR) amid rampant activities of secession, subversion and terrorism that sow trouble in Hong Kong society.
Hong Kong’s business tycoon Li Ka-shing also defended the bill in a written response to the Ta Kung Pao. “It is within each and every nation’s sovereign right to address its national security concerns,” the 91-year-old billionaire said. “We probably need not over-interpret it. Hopefully the proposed new law can allay concerns the central government has in Hong Kong and give rise to a positive outlook from there.”
Some voices outside China claimed that the bill will deprive Hong Kong of its freedom and discourage foreign investors from conducting business in the city. Such accusations, whether driven by ignorance or malicious intentions, don’t hold the water. Just take a look at international financial centers around the world: New York, Tokyo and London are all governed by national security laws. The US is one of the first countries in the world to introduce national security laws and tops the world in the number of bills relevant to national security.
Fixing loopholes in the legal system of the Hong Kong society will create a more secure environment for business growth. Last year, the anti-extradition bill incident caused a heavy blow to the economy of Hong Kong, causing unemployment for many, especially young Hong Kong people who just graduated from university. Fitch Ratings has downgraded Hong Kong’s credit rating a second time from AA to AA-. Revitalizing the economy and stabilizing the market of Hong Kong has become an urgent task for the Hong Kong government. Without a sound legal system that guarantees national security, it’s unlikely that Hong Kong will rebuild confidence in investors and create new opportunities for development.
For Hong Kong residents, there is no need to worry that the law will compromise their legitimate rights. The National People’s Congress decision will not affect the autonomy of Hong Kong, as stressed by Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi at a media conference on Sunday. It only targets a very narrow category of acts that pose a grave threat to national security, including activities of secession, subversion, terrorism, and external-forces-led interference in Hong Kong’s internal affairs.
Admittedly, Hong Kong residents today are still grappling with deeper issues like housing, the income gap, and upward mobility, all of which take time and effort to be resolved by the Hong Kong government. Should anti-government protests and violence go on without any control, the majority of the Hong Kong society will have to bear the costs of social unrest. The installment of a national security law is a consensus of society, and will help secure a more prosperous future for Hong Kong under the “one country, two systems” practice.