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Wednesday, July 15, 2020, 00:39
National Security Law opens a new chapter in Hong Kong politics
By Zhou Bajun
Wednesday, July 15, 2020, 00:39 By Zhou Bajun

Thanks to the deterrent effect of the newly enacted National Security Law, the yearlong “black revolution” has now come to an end. If the special administrative region government can control the third wave of the COVID-19 outbreaks with fresh anti-epidemic initiatives, along with measures to stabilize the economy and ensure employment, then the attempt by anti-China forces to seize more than half of the seats in the upcoming Legislative Council election in September will very likely be another burst bubble.

The enforcement of the National Security Law has been so swift and effective that it immediately disrupted the opposition camp’s execution of its foreign masters’ plan of using the SAR against China. The desperate verbal attacks by United States Secretary of State Mike Pompeo against the National Security Law and the appeal to Western countries to establish an anti-China alliance by Chris Patten, the last governor of Hong Kong, demonstrated how desperate the US and United Kingdom governments are. The Guardian on July 8 quoted Patten as saying, “The re-election of Donald Trump will make it harder to form an effective alliance to prevent China from destroying the rule of law”. He urged the UK to take the helm in building this alliance, saying the UK had to play “a leading role in putting together an intelligent group of countries which are saying we are not prepared to have the 21st century destroyed in terms of the rule of law by the Chinese dictatorship”.

As the National Security Law has completely shielded Hong Kong from the direct interference of the US and the UK, those Western powers are now expected to shift their offensive focus to ideological influence on Hong Kong politics. The “primary election” farce staged by the opposition camp on July 11 and 12 showed their staunch supporters are their ideological “soul mates”.

Western politicians such as Pompeo and Patten have portrayed their China containment policy as “the fight between democracy and autocracy”, which is just rehashing a Cold War slogan in the 21st century. The real problem now is that, under more than one and a half centuries of British rule, many Hong Kong residents were considerably brainwashed by Western ideology. Therefore, it is imperative that the SAR government focus on two missions: One is to guide Hong Kong residents in rethinking what the so-called core values really are; and the other is to step up national education in primary and secondary schools.

As the National Security Law has completely shielded Hong Kong from the direct interference of the US and the UK, those Western powers are now expected to shift their offensive focus to ideological influence on Hong Kong politics. The “primary election” farce staged by the opposition camp on July 11 and 12 showed their staunch supporters are their ideological “soul mates”

The traditional core values of Hong Kong, which were formed in the colonial era, are in direct conflict with the political reality after its constitutional status changed for good 23 years ago. On the one hand, they emphasize the Hong Kong mentality as opposed to national awareness and integrating Hong Kong’s development into the country’s overall development; on the other hand, they emphasize the common law system while overlooking the nation’s Constitution and thus obscuring the fact that the Constitution has replaced Hong Kong Royal Instructions and Hong Kong Letters Patent to become the basic norm of the legal system in Hong Kong. The slogan of “Liberate Hong Kong, revolution of our times” is separatist because it drives the Hong Kong mentality to the extreme. The accusation that the National Security Law is “undermining the rule of law” comes from an overemphasis on the common law system while paying no regard to the Constitution.

The “black revolution” has fully exposed severe inadequacies in the education system of Hong Kong. Chief Executive Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor mentioned at an education forum on July 11 that police had arrested more than 3,000 students in its anti-riot operations last year. Many secondary school students formed human chains and chanted separatist slogans when they could not join rioters in the streets. Some of them went so far as to form secessionist groups to advocate Hong Kong independence on campus. She described the situation as extremely worrying and feared anti-China and anti-government sentiment might have been ingrained in these young minds. Blaming this grave situation on the politicization of education in Hong Kong, she warned that as long as the political issues remain unresolved, it would be difficult to turn it around. 

Now that the chief executive is aware of the severe inadequacies in Hong Kong’s education, the SAR government will need to tackle the issue through a three-pronged approach. First, the Education Bureau must maintain correct political standing while formulating policy measures. Second, schools must correct their political bearing when necessary. Third, teaching materials and teachers must convey to students the correct political standpoints and viewpoints. Political correctness refers to the full and accurate understanding and implementation of the “one country, two systems” principle in Hong Kong.

When vetting the candidates for the upcoming Seventh Legislative Council election, the SAR government must maintain the correct political standing; that is, to strictly adhere to Article 104 of the Basic Law and Article 6 of the National Security Law. It should also increase its efforts in educating the public about the National Security Law across all walks of life, emphasizing that the law is intended to deter a small number of extremists and will help ensure the peace and prosperity of the HKSAR.

The author is a senior research fellow of China Everbright Holdings.

The views do not necessarily reflect those of China Daily. 


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