|Legislation for Protecting National Security in Hong Kong Ensures Better Implementation of the "One Country, Two Systems"|
The National People's Congress of China has adopted on May 28th a decision to establish and improve a legal framework and enforcement mechanisms for safeguarding national security in the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR), with a view to facilitate legislation in Hong Kong for safeguarding national sovereignty, security, and development interests, and for upholding the Basic Law and the "one country, two systems". As some people have erroneously misinterpreted the decision as an "interference in Hong Kong's freedom and democratic system", we would like to present the context and realities of the decision to the Belgian public who have an interest in Hong Kong's development.
First, Hong Kong is a part of China. Hong Kong affairs are China's internal affairs. Hong Kong was subjugated to British colonial rule in 1842 and returned to the motherland in 1997. For over two decades since, the Chinese Central Government has ensured the prosperity and stability of Hong Kong with the principle of "one country, two systems". No one cares more about the future of Hong Kong than the Chinese people ourselves. It is the motherland that would heed Hong Kong's voice most attentively. It is the Hong Kong people that care most deeply about the efficacy and results of the "one country, two systems".
Second, upholding national security falls under the jurisdiction of the Central Government, as is the case in countries around the globe. The Central Government of China shoulders the primary and ultimate responsibility for safeguarding national security. Indeed, the Central Government has authorized the HKSAR to enact its own national security law in accordance with Article 23 of the Basic Law. However, this does not prevent the Central Government from adopting a legal framework and enforcement mechanisms for safeguarding national security in Hong Kong in light of the actual situation and needs. In fact, while the authorization shows the trust the Central Government places in the HKSAR, it also clearly delineates its constitutional responsibility and legislative obligation to safeguard national security.
Third, safeguarding national security has become the question that must be answered to ensure the continued and sound implementation of the "one country, two systems". The purpose of the "one country, two systems" is to promote unity, ensure a stable transition, and to protect Hong Kong's prosperity, rather than leaving a backdoor for activities threatening China's national security. After Hong Kong returned to the motherland, attempts by anti-China and external forces to disrupt and obstruct the legislation process following Article 23 of the Basic Law have created a vacuum when it comes to the protection of national security in Hong Kong, a rare occurrence elsewhere in the world. Since a major setback in 2003, legislation following Article 23 has become stigmatized and demonized by some ill-intended people, making it more difficult for the legislation process to be followed through with. This has led to escalating activities that seriously threaten China's national security. Therefore, filling that void through a national legislation has become a pressing priority, and it must be done without any further delay.
Last but not least, the NPC's decision targets only a small category of activities that seriously jeopardize national security, while it protects the overwhelming majority of law-abiding Hong Kong residents, their legitimate rights and interests, as well as those of foreign institutions and personnel. The decision will not affect the high degree of autonomy of Hong Kong, or the rights and freedom of Hong Kong residents, nor the legitimate rights and interests of foreign investors in Hong Kong.
Passage of the draft decision shows the resolve of the country in ensuring the prosperity and stability of Hong Kong. European countries and other members of the international community have a stake in improved legal system, more stable society, and better business environment in Hong Kong. Gross intervention by the US poses the gravest threat to the "one country, two systems" and the Basic Law. Foreign forces in collusion with anti-China local forces have blatantly distorted the "one country, two systems" and the Basic Law, stood in the way of the comprehensive and to-the-letter implementation of the Basic Law and attempted to make Hong Kong an independent or semi-independent political entity, or even a bridgehead for infiltrating, damaging, dividing, or even subverting China. This threatens the "one country, two systems" and the Basic Law, and undermines China's sovereignty, and Hong Kong's prosperity and stability.
All of the Chinese people, including Hong Kong residents, stand behind the decision adopted by the NPC and are opposed to American interference under the pretext of the so-called Hong Kong Human Rights and Democracy Act. Mr. Tung Chee-hwa, the first Chief Executive of HKSAR, remarked that the introduction of national security legislation in Hong Kong is to safeguard national security, and ensure social stability, so that people can lead a peaceful and normal life. We cannot stand by and allow for foreign forces to work hand in glove with local anti-China forces to undermine China's national security, and challenge the Central Government and the authority of the Basic Law. The Hong Kong SAR has a constitutional responsibility to protect national security. The incumbent Chief Executive Carrie Lam emphasized that NPC's legislation for protecting national security in Hong Kong is in strict compliance with China's constitution and the Basic Law. It aims to ensure the implementation of the "one country, two systems" and to protect the longstanding prosperity and stability of Hong Kong. Hong Kong residents feel safer with the adoption of a law that upholds national security in HKSAR.