Executive Councillor Regina Ip Lau Suk-yee discusses the necessity for national security legislation in Hong Kong during an interview with China Daily. (CALVIN NG / CHINA DAILY)
The attacks by external forces on China’s plans to enact a proposed national security law in Hong Kong are baseless and wrong, says Executive Councillor Regina Ip Lau Suk-yee.
During a recent interview with China Daily, Ip said national security legislation in Hong Kong would in no way violate the “one country, two systems” principle or the Sino-British Joint Declaration.
The city’s former secretary for security said the Sino-British Joint Declaration contains nothing to prohibit China from protecting its national security or to stop Hong Kong from safeguarding national security by legislating a national security law.
“The Sino-British Joint Declaration is just a document on Hong Kong showing that China and the United Kingdom accepted that the ‘one country, two systems’ arrangement would remain unchanged for 50 years after 1997,” Ip said.
“The power to enact a national security law rests with China and the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region. It is totally irrelevant and meaningless for the UK to cite the Joint Declaration,” she said.
In addition, Ip stressed that in no way would the national security law erode freedom of expression or human rights in Hong Kong.
But she also said that freedom of expression was not totally unrestricted. She cited the United Nations International Covenant on Civic and Political Rights, which stipulates that freedom of expression should not endanger national security, public order, public health or morals.
Ip said the frenzied way the United States and the UK reacted to the proposed national security law shows they are worried many of their own unlawful activities in Hong Kong will be banned.
“While ‘Taiwan independence’ groups admit to donating huge sums of money to separatists to create trouble in Hong Kong, the National Endowment for Democracy, a US Congressional body, provides millions of dollars to Hong Kong activists every year,” Ip said.
“That’s why I suggest the national security law should require local political parties and civic organizations to declare donations from foreign political organizations,” she said.
She also said trade sanctions threatened by the US will only have a minimal impact on Hong Kong. This is because the value of SAR imports to the US is rather small. On the contrary, the US enjoys a very favorable trade balance in the region with Hong Kong — worth $30 billion annually. If the US sanctions Hong Kong, it will inflict greater pain on the 1,300 or more American enterprises operating in the city, Ip predicted.
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