Unwavering support for national security legislation
Ensuring "One Country, Two Systems" remains unchanged
7 June 2020
The National Anthem Bill, which was passed last Thursday, will officially come into effect upon gazettal this Friday (June 12). During the scrutiny of the Bill by the Legislative Council (LegCo), some non-pro-establishment lawmakers tried to obstruct the proceedings by hook or by crook. In addition to the usual filibustering tactic of initiating incessant quorum calls, they literally splashed something foul-smelling at the meeting. Such malicious acts should be condemned.
The core spirit of the national anthem law lies in respect for the national anthem as the symbol and sign of our country, and the legislative exercise is a constitutional responsibility incumbent upon the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR). The National Anthem Ordinance is far from complicated, but the legislative process has taken more than two years to complete. It is thus conceivable that local legislation on Article 23 (concerning national security) of the Basic Law will be even more difficult. Therefore, it is just reasonable to take legislative action at the state level to plug the gaping hole of national security in order to get Hong Kong back on track in time, so that the long-term prosperity and stability of the city can be ensured and the legitimate rights and freedoms of the general public can be safeguarded.
Amidst an ever-changing international landscape and ever-increasing tensions between China and the West, Hong Kong has been successful in weathering a lot of storms since its return to the Motherland. Its ability to stand up against tests and trials is proven. During the past 23 years, leveraging on the Mainland while engaging itself globally, Hong Kong has made remarkable progress in various areas, reinforcing its status as an international financial, shipping and trading hub while maintaining its ranking as one of the world's freest economies and most competitive regions.
The success of Hong Kong is not easy to come by, and public order and social stability are the main contributing factors. Since its return to the Motherland and until last year, Hong Kong has been one of the safest cities in the world with its crime rate far lower than that of other metropolises such as New York, London, Paris and Tokyo. The overall crime figure for the first half of 2019, i.e. before the violent situation got out of hand, dropped 4.7% compared with the same period in 2018, the lowest since half-yearly statistics were first compiled in 1977.
However, the anti-extradition bill incident and the series of violent clashes in the past year have seen radicals blatantly damage social peace in the name of “Hong Kong independence” and “self-determination”, crossing the bottom line of the “One Country, Two Systems” principle and dealing a devastating blow to Hong Kong. Such acts ran counter to “One Country, Two Systems” and the long-term development interests of Hong Kong and our country. The survival and progress of a country is premised on its national security. No country in this world would allow activities that endanger national security, such as secession, to take place in its own territory. In the current situation, can our country just sit and watch without taking any action?
Caring much about the prosperity and stability of Hong Kong as well as the well-being of Hong Kong people, the Central Government has supported our development in many different aspects and given us strong backing, which is there for all to see. The Motherland and Hong Kong are mutually dependent, sharing good and ill fortune together.
It should be stressed that Hong Kong's continued development and long-term international competitiveness are subject to the 3 “S” elements, namely Stability, Safety and Security. Persistent social instability and unrest in Hong Kong will turn everything into empty talk, making all our efforts futile no matter how hard we try.
While ensuring that the statutory rights, interests, freedoms and core values currently enjoyed by Hong Kong people are fully protected, and guaranteeing that “One Country, Two Systems”, “Hong Kong people administering Hong Kong” and a high degree of autonomy are not bent, distorted or shaken in practice, the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress (NPCSC) will enact a national security law for the HKSAR. This is indeed an effective way to ensure the long-term prosperity and stability of Hong Kong, and law-abiding citizens and investors should have nothing to fear. Once again, I call on members of the public to distinguish right from wrong and not to believe in rumours.
Last week, the Chief Executive (CE) visited Beijing to render her views on the Hong Kong national security law to the Central Government and was received by Vice Premier Han Zheng. Later, the CE quoted the Vice Premier as saying in the meeting that the Central Government was adamant in enacting the national security law for Hong Kong in order to ensure the full and faithful implementation of the “One Country, Two Systems” principle and firmly safeguard national security.
The HKSAR Government will render full cooperation to the NPCSC in drafting the legislation, and will, as stipulated in the legislation, establish a robust enforcement mechanism to enhance enforcement capability and introduce national security education. The relevant Central authorities will listen to the views of different sectors in Hong Kong in various ways and forums will be held in Shenzhen and Beijing. All sectors of society are urged to take part in this exercise and express their views.
Recently, a student online signature campaign against the national security legislation was launched in an obvious attempt to achieve a political end by taking advantage of students. Nobody should use schools as venues for making political demands, nor should they incite students (especially primary and secondary students) to declare their stance on controversial and evolving political issues or take part in related activities. All sectors of the community should clearly voice their concerns and work with schools in protecting our next generation and deterring the intrusion of politics into schools.
I am aware that many representatives of the education sector, including council chairmen and heads of tertiary institutions, have expressed their support for the national security legislation in recognition of the necessity and urgency of the legislative decision. In a constantly changing and complex social environment, educating our next generation so that they have correct national and historical perspectives and sentiments as well as right values is of paramount importance. Enhancing the education and awareness of national security of the public, especially young people, will help pool our strengths for safeguarding national security. We should have confidence in our young people. With careful education and proper guidance, they can surely thrive and succeed.