National security legislation solid underpinning for rights, freedoms of Hong Kong residents

Guests attend the opening ceremony of celebrating activities for the 23rd anniversary of Hong Kong's return to the motherland in Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Center in Hong Kong, south China, July 1, 2020. China's Hong Kong celebrated Wednesday the 23rd anniversary of its return to the motherland. (Xinhua/Li Gang)

By People’s Daily

The Law of the People’s Republic of China on Safeguarding National Security in the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) was passed unanimously by the Standing Committee of the 13th National People’s Congress (NPC), China’s top legislature, on June 30.

The NPC Standing Committee also listed it in Annex III to the HKSAR Basic Law to be gazetted and enacted in Hong Kong by the SAR government.

As a strong support for the long-term and sustained implementation of “one country, two systems” principle, it will help Hong Kong go back to the right track and start again, and guarantee the rights and interests, as well as freedoms of Hong Kong residents.

It is also in compliance with the universal truth that the rights and freedoms of residents will be guaranteed to the maximum extent possible, if the security of a country is guaranteed and its society remains stable.

Chinese President Xi Jinping remarked, “Without a harmonious and stable environment, how can people live in peace and enjoy their work!” What he said was particularly proved true in the protests over the proposed amendments to the HKSAR’s extradition bill in June 2019.

Planed and instigated by anti-China forces who attempt to disrupt Hong Kong, black-clad rioters and “mutual destruction” tactic once swept the HKSAR. Extremists and violent radicals set fire and hurled gasoline and petrol bombs, confronted the police enforcement with violence, restricted and beat up policemen and civilians, illegally possessed guns and ammunition, installed explosive devices, created fear and panic with anthrax and made many terrorist attacks.

Living and working in peace and contentment, and enjoying the rights and freedoms has become a luxury when the most basic personal safety and daily life are threatened.

Today, people are fully aware that those who provoke violence and apply “mutual destruction” tactic are the biggest enemies of the rights and freedom of the residents of Hong Kong.

Anti-China forces attempting to destabilize Hong Kong, by particularly taking advantage of Hong Kong’s national security loophole in legislation, have recklessly engaged in activities that jeopardize the principle of “one country, two systems.”

Moreover, they pitted safeguarding national security against protecting the rights and freedoms of residents, and stigmatized and demonized Article 23 of Hong Kong’s Basic Law, in a bid to better carry out secession, subversion, infiltration and sabotage activities against the mainland.

The legislation will target a small minority of severe criminals jeopardizing national security, including secession, subverting state power and organizing and carrying out terrorist activities, as well as interference in the HKSAR’s internal affairs by foreign or external forces.

Preventing, prohibiting and punishing these illegal acts in accordance with the Law aims to safeguard national security and maintain prosperity and stability of Hong Kong, better protect life and property of a majority of Hong Kong residents, and rights and freedoms prescribed in the Basic Law.

Safeguarding national security overlaps with protecting rights and freedoms in essence. It is clearly stipulated in the Law that the HKSAR must act in line with rule of law. And the Law also underlines respecting and protecting human rights.

When the law is enacted, Hong Kong citizens’ rights and freedoms of speech, press, publication, assembly, association, procession and of demonstration that are enshrined in the Basic Law of the HKSAR and the provisions of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights as applied to the SAR will remain the same.

Besides, normal exchanges and contact between residents and legal persons of the international metropolis and other countries, regions and international organizations will be protected, too.

Admittedly, some Hong Kong residents’ understanding and trust of the country, especially the rule of law of the mainland is another deep-seat issue.

Thanks to the sheer endeavor in the past four decades since reform and opening up, China has made remarkable achievements in establishing the rule of law. A law-based environment is the best environment for doing business. The Chinese mainland remains one of the most attractive destinations for foreign investment, which speaks volume for the rule of law in China.

The mainland and Hong Kong do not differ greatly in terms of criminal justice systems. Since security organizations perform tasks in accordance with the law and follow a rigorous procedure in the mainland, there is no need to worry that these organizations will not respect the rule of law in the HKSAR.

In recent years, many foreigners based in the mainland have repeated on many occasions that China is the safest place in the world, which serves as the best demonstration.

Since the return of Hong Kong to the motherland, the principles of “one country, two systems”, “Hong Kong people administering Hong Kong” and a high degree of autonomy have been implemented in good faith. It is acknowledged by all that all the rights and freedoms of the residents of the HKSAR are fully protected, and that the residents are entitled to a wider range of rights and freedoms than what they had under the British colonial rule.

With the Law of the People’s Republic of China on Safeguarding National Security in the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region, the new guardian for the HKSAR, the residents will be sure to better enjoy the institutional advantages of the “one country, two systems” principle, and work and live in an even safer, more stable and more harmonious social environment.

When chaos and fear disappear and peace and harmony is restored on the land of Hong Kong, the Pearl of the Orient will embrace a more splendid future.

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