The New Today

Commentary

Hong Kong’s stability and thriving development underpinned by the safeguarding national security ordinance

On March 19, 2024, the Legislative Council of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (SAR) of the People’s Republic of China unanimously voted in favour of the passage of the Safeguarding National Security Bill.

This important event was widely welcomed by people from all walks of life in Hong Kong, and will serve as a landmark in advancing the cause of “one country, two systems”.

The passage of this bill is long overdue – the Basic Law of the Hong Kong SAR, which came into effect on July 1, 1997, states in Article 23 that Hong Kong “shall enact laws on its own to prohibit any act of treason, secession, sedition, subversion against the Central People’s Government, or theft of state secrets, to prohibit foreign political organisations or bodies from conducting political activities in the Region, and to prohibit political organisations or bodies of the Region from establishing ties with foreign political organisations or bodies” – making a National Security Law is thus the constitutional responsibility of Hong Kong authority.

The adoption of the Safeguarding National Security Ordinance is legitimate, justifiable and meaningful.

First, it will consolidate the foundation for the comprehensive and accurate implementation of “one country, two systems”. “One country” is the premise of “two systems”, and the supreme principle for ensuring “one country” is to safeguard the national sovereignty, security and development interests.

This Ordinance fills in the loopholes and shortcomings of the Hong Kong SAR’s local legislation for safeguarding national security.

Together with the National Security Law passed in 2020, it will become the fence of law for protecting the “one country, two systems”, and fully showcase the advantage of this institutional arrangement.

Second, it will enable Hong Kong to achieve stability and prosperity at a faster pace. The Safeguarding National Security Ordinance strikes a balance between safeguarding national security and ensuring rights, freedoms and economic growth, fully made reference to the legislation experience of other countries, especially common law jurisdictions, fully respects and protects human rights, clearly defines elements of crime, and clearly distinguishes between crime and non-crime.

It provides effective protection for the normal business activities of foreign institutions, organisations and personnel in Hong Kong and their need for international exchanges. It does not at all undermine the high degree of autonomy in Hong Kong, nor does it change the current capitalist system and way of life in Hong Kong.

It will enable Hong Kong to better leverage its unique status and strengths, better deepen exchanges and cooperation with various countries and regions, and better consolidate its status as an international financial, shipping and trade center.

Third, it will serve as a strong deterrence to the anti-China, destabilising forces. When the turbulence over the amendment bill in Hong Kong broke out in 2019, the rioters who attacked the police, hurt innocent people and disrupted social order were emboldened by the missing of a law to protect national security, while some external forces flagrantly interfered in Hong Kong’s affairs, supported violent criminals, and threatened the HKSAR government.

All those actions seriously challenged the red line of the “one country, two systems” principle, severely undermined the safety, property and legitimate rights and interests of Hong Kong residents, and posed a serious threat to China’s national security.

After the introduction of the Hong Kong National Security Law in 2020, the SAR has entered a new stage in which it has restored order and is set to thrive. With the help of the new Ordinance, any further attempt to play the “Hong Kong card” to compromise Hong Kong’s prosperity and stability and contain China’s development is doomed to fail.

The unanimous passage of the National Security Bill attracted criticism from certain countries with no surprise. In fact, only these outside forces have been very high-profile in making their opposition heard.

What makes them so agitated and anxious? They are simply worried that they will not be able to use Hong Kong as a reckless and unchecked channel as before to engage in activities that jeopardise China’s national security, for their black-clad hands are cut off by the new bill.

The Ordinance is targeted at a tiny minority of individuals who are involved in offenses seriously jeopardising national security, and it aims to protect the great majority of law-abiding Hong Kong residents.

Statistics show that a certain country that bad-mouths the Ordinance most has an airtight national security system, with at least 21 laws and unparalleled extraterritoriality. However, it keeps pointing fingers at Hong Kong’s Safeguarding National Security Ordinance. This is sheer political manipulation and hypocritical double standards.

The Chinese government has unwavering resolve in safeguarding its national sovereignty, security and development interests, in implementing “one country, two systems” and in opposing any external interference in Hong Kong’s affairs.

Any attacks and smears against the Safeguarding National Security Ordinance will not have their way.

The successful adoption of the Safeguarding National Security Ordinance has once again proved that as the wheel of history rolls forward, the cause of justice is invincible and the process of “one country, two systems” is unstoppable.

I am sure that with a higher level of security, Hong Kong will surely achieve higher quality development and a higher level of opening up, and be more confident in handling future challenges.

Hong Kong, known as the Pearl of the Orient will shine even brighter!

Ambassador Wei Hongtian is the resident Chinese envoy to St George’s, Grenada