Vice-chairman of the country’s top political advisory body Tung Chee-hwa on Monday called on the public in Hong Kong to voice their support for the national security law proposed by the National People’s Congress, the nation’s top legislature.
The former chief executive stressed the proposed law would be “an effective remedy” to the challenges facing the SAR.
Hong Kong had been plagued by “serious problems” as ordinary people — who live in constant fear of street violence — suffered a disproportionate share of the economic burden, Tung said.
All sectors, including the government and educators, should strengthen national security education and enhance young people’s sense of national and constitutional identity without any delay
Tung Chee-hwa, vice-chairman of the National Committee of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference
Tung, vice-chairman of the National Committee of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference, believes the draft decision on national security legislation has lifted people’s spirits in Hong Kong.
Incessant violent protests have taken a heavy toll on the city, pushing its unemployment rate to the highest levels recorded in the past decade, Tung said.
The city’s unemployment rate jumped to 5.2 percent during the February-to-April period, the highest in over 15 years. Plagued by months of social unrest and the coronavirus pandemic, an estimated 200,000 people are jobless.
Tung noted that the often-violent protests had damaged many of the city’s hard-earned achievements.
Hong Kong lost its title of the freest economy in the world it had held for 24 years to Singapore, according to the Heritage Foundation’s latest ranking.
However, the SAR government’s efforts to protect people’s livelihoods and restore its recession-hit economy had been blocked by opposition legislators. They had threatened to reject funding applications unless the government satisfied their political demands, he said.
One of the most criticized cases is the seven months of filibustering by the opposition in the legislature, which had resulted in a serious backlog of pending bills.
“Enough is enough,” Tung said. “Hong Kong people do not deserve to live like this.”
The proposed law could effectively put a stop to unrest and chaos in Hong Kong. Only when the country is safe and its people content can they lead happy lives, Tung said.
“To safeguard national security is to safeguard the city’s own security,” he explained. The time has come for the SAR to fulfill its responsibilities in safeguarding national sovereignty and promoting national stability and prosperity, he noted.
He offered suggestions to the community to shoulder the responsibility to achieve national security through coordination, and support for the legislation.
He urged the general public to support the NPC’s decision, which they should acknowledge was “responsible and necessary” to plug legal loopholes and prevent Hong Kong becoming an “anti-China base”.
He stressed that all sectors, including the government and educators, should strengthen national security education and enhance young people’s sense of national and constitutional identity “without any delay”.
Responding to some alarmist statements that distorted and discredited the national security law, Tung said they were “unfounded” and “intended to cause public panic”.
Tung reiterated the legislation proposal was a deliberate decision to maintain social stability in Hong Kong. It would never affect the freedoms Hong Kong people have enjoyed during the past 23 years under the Basic Law, he said.
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