On June 30th 2020，the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress adopted the Law of the People’s Republic of China on Safeguarding National Security in Hong Kong SAR. This law is now added to the list of laws in Annex III of the Basic Law of Hong Kong and applied by promulgation in Hong Kong SAR. It is of both practical and historic significance.
First, the National Security Law for Hong Kong SAR is a sound legal framework establishing at the national level and an enforcement mechanism for safeguarding national security in Hong Kong SAR to meet people’s aspiration.
Article 23 of the Basic Law authorizes Hong Kong SAR to enact laws on safeguarding national security. However, 23 years after Hong Kong’s return, nothing has been done and there is no legal framework or enforcement mechanism in terms of national security in Hong Kong SAR. As a result, the city is left “defenseless” against the anti-China forces seeking chaos and disruptions.
For some time, internal and external hostile forces have openly clamored for “Hong Kong independence” and “self-determination”. They have taken actions such as beating, smashing, looting, arson, confronting police enforcement with violence, and storming the Legislative Council of Hong Kong SAR. They have even cried for “waging armed revolution to gain independence”. Such activities trampled on rule of law, undermined social stability, and hit the economy hard. Hong Kong has become a notable source of risk to China’s national security.
Like any other country, the Chinese Central Government is responsible for upholding national security and cannot just sit by and do nothing. The National Security Law is about restoring order and responding to the outcry of the Hong Kong for chaos to be stopped. Only within eight days in late May, nearly three million Hong Kong people signed the petition in support of the Law.
Second, the National Security Law for Hong Kong SAR not only is in line with “One Country, Two Systems”, but also ensures the sustained implementation of this policy.
China’s guiding policy for the governance of Hong Kong is still “One Country, Two Systems”. This has not changed and won’t change in the future. Hong Kong is part of China. We have to defend our own country’s unity, sovereignty and territorial integrity. This is what is meant by “One Country”. And within the framework of “One Country”, on the basis of secure and stable “One Country”, “Two Systems” can prosper in parallel and together. This is the real meaning of “One Country, Two Systems”.
The new law is intended just for that purpose, to maintain and safeguard “One Country, Two Systems”, to make Hong Kong more stable, more secure for everybody, for the Hong Kong residents as well as for foreign investors. People could have a more predictable, safer environment to do their business and enjoy life in Hong Kong.
Third, the National Security Law for Hong Kong SAR has no impact on Hong Kong’s high degree of autonomy, the rights and freedoms of Hong Kong residents. It targets a very narrow category of acts that seriously jeopardize China’s national security.
According to the Basic Law of Hong Kong, its capitalist system and way of life shall remain unchanged for 50 years. This will be better ensured, not changed, by the national security law. The four offences and their corresponding penalties are precisely prescribed in the law, namely, secession, subversion, terrorist activities, collusion with foreign countries or external elements to endanger national security. This means that the law is highly targeted. It bans such criminal activities and protects the rule of law in Hong Kong and legitimate rights and freedoms of the people there.
Finally，one important task of the National Security Law for Hong Kong SAR is to prevent, suppress and punish collusion with a foreign country or with external elements to endanger national security.
Hong Kong is a special administrative region of China. Hong Kong affairs are China’s internal affairs and allow no external interference. No one should underestimate the firm determination of China to safeguard its sovereignty, security and development interests. Attempts to disrupt or obstruct the implementation of the National Security Law for Hong Kong SAR will be met with the strong opposition of 1.4 billion Chinese people.
The National Security Law for Hong Kong SAR is the fundamental solution that will end the chaos and restore order in Hong Kong. We, the Chinese are confident that, under the strong leadership of the Central Government of China, with the concerted efforts of all the Chinese people, including Hong Kong compatriots, and with the strong safeguards of the National Security Law for Hong Kong SAR, Hong Kong will become a safer, better and more prosperous place.
RAO Hongwei Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the People’s Republic of China to the Republic of Rwanda