By Zhang Qingbo
Known as the “two sessions,” the annual sessions of China’s top national legislature and political advisory body, are a major political event for the 1.4 billion Chinese people.
According to the agenda of the third session of the 13th National People’s Congress (NPC), the session will deliberate the bill put forward by the NPC Standing Committee on reviewing a draft decision of the NPC on establishing and improving the legal system and enforcement mechanisms for the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) to safeguard national security.
National security is of primary importance for a country. General Secretary Xi Jinping of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee put forward in 2014 that the national security issues facing China encompass far more subjects, extend over a greater range, and cover a longer time span than at any time in the country’s history. Internally and externally, the factors at play are more complex than ever before. Therefore, it is necessary to uphold a holistic view of national security.
National security comes before national governance. The holistic view of national security shall be implemented in every field such as politics, territory, military, economy, culture and society, as well as in all provinces, autonomous regions, municipalities, SARs, and every piece of land in the country with no exception.
For the purpose of opposing and checking Taiwan’s secession attempt from China, the country issued and implemented the Anti-Secession Law in March 2005. The Macao SAR, implementing the Basic Law, passed the National Security Law in February 2009. In July 2015, the National Security Law of the People’s Republic of China was adopted.
At present, Hong Kong remains the only SAR that lacks systematic and effective laws and execution mechanisms, becoming a weakness for China to safeguard national security. Therefore, its necessary for China to set about solving the issue.
The decision comes from responsibility. The HKSAR is an inseparable part of the People’s Republic of China, and the central government exercises overall jurisdiction over the HKSAR. To implement and exercise the overall jurisdiction is a both a right and responsibility of the central government, and is fundamental to safeguarding national sovereignty, security and development interests, as well as to maintaining the prosperity and stability of the HKSAR.
The NPC, as the highest organ of state power, represents the role and will of the central government. To deliberate the bill on establishing and improving the legal system and enforcement mechanisms for the HKSAR exactly demonstrates the central government’s implementation and execution of its overall jurisdiction. It is also an important mission deployed for national security and the “one country, two systems” principle, as well as a practice to fulfill the responsibilities of the central government and the NPC deputies.
The decision complies with the laws. According to the Constitution of China, the NPC has the right to formulate and amend laws. The Basic Law of the HKSAR stipulates that the NPC Standing Committee may add to or delete from the list of laws in Annex III relating to defense and foreign affairs as well as other matters outside the limits of the autonomy of the Region as specified by the Basic Law. And the change shall be applied locally by way of promulgation or legislation by the HKSAR.
The draft decision of the NPC on establishing and improving the legal system and enforcement mechanisms for the HKSAR to safeguard national security is authorized by the Constitution and guaranteed by the Basic Law, which totally conforms to laws and is legitimate.
The decision suits the facts. The article 23 of the HKSAR Basic Law has clear stipulation on safeguarding national security, and requests the SAR to enact laws on its own. However, local legislation in this regard has been impeded in the past 23 years since the SAR returned to China, which is exploited by anti-China radicals disrupting Hong Kong to frequently challenge the authority of the central government, advocate “Hong Kong independence,” and organize separationist activities.
In 2019, the anti-China radicals frequently trampled on national security, and challenged the authority of the central government and the HKSAR Basic Law, seriously threatening the practice of the “one country, two systems” principle in Hong Kong, and the prosperity and stability of the region.
It proved the necessity and urgency of establishing and improving the legal system and enforcement mechanisms for the HKSAR to safeguard national security, a decision that must be implemented.
Establishing and improving the legal system and enforcement mechanisms for the HKSAR to safeguard national security concerns not only Hong Kong, but also the whole China. The NPC is the highest organ of state power that executes its powers enshrined by the Constitution according to new situations and demands. Establishing and improving the legal system and enforcement mechanisms for the HKSAR to safeguard national security from the state level is totally necessary.
The “two systems” can only function well when “one country” is guaranteed. It is believed that all the Chinese people and compatriots in Hong Kong can see the country’s resolution to safeguard its integrity, to ensure the long-term stability of the “one country, two systems” principle, and to protect the prosperity and stability of the Hong Kong SAR.
For such a move that benefits Hong Kong and its people, it comes right on time.
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