The National Security Law (NSL) has been implemented for more than a year. The Director of the Hong Kong and Macao Affairs Office of the State Council, Xia Baolong, presented a review and outlook of the law at a thematic forum held by the Chinese Association of Hong Kong and Macao Studies. Today, I would like to share with you my views.
Since the NSL has taken effect, it halted the chaos and restored the order in our society. Vigilantism are no longer prevalent and people are free to voice different views openly. Our love for Hong Kong and our motherland can be expressed in an open and aboveboard manner, and people are more respectful of the rights of others while exercising their own. Even though many western countries have launched malicious attacks on the NSL either out of misunderstanding or with a deliberate attempt to mislead, our economic data in the past year, including the funds raised through initial public offerings and the total deposits in the Hong Kong banking system, has proved that Hong Kong's business environment is becoming more attractive, and that international investors' confidence in Hong Kong has been enhanced rather than deterred. These hard facts can surely debunk the lies smearing the NSL.
Xia mentioned in his speech that with the NSL in place, the HKSAR has established a "firm wall made of bronze and iron" in safeguarding national security. He said that officials and patriots in the HKSAR have acted fearlessly in the face of illegal and groundless sanctions by the United States, showing their unwavering love for the country. Meanwhile, the Hong Kong Police, being the loyal guardians of the city's stability and national security, have been strictly enforcing the NSL.
Hong Kong's destiny has always been closely linked to that of our motherland, and Hong Kong people have been contributing to the country in different eras. The central authorities will continue to uphold the principle of “one country, two systems” unswervingly, ensuring its full implementation without being altered or deformed. This year marks the 100th anniversary of the founding of Communist Party of China (CPC). General Secretary of the CPC Central Committee and President Xi Jinping pointed out that the second centenary goal is to build China into a great modern socialist country in all respects. But where will the future of the implementation of "one country, two systems" in Hong Kong lie? I am of the view that one must understand "one country" is the prerequisite of "two systems". By building a solid foundation of "one country" with the full implementation of the NSL and strictly adhering to the "one country, two systems" principle, the "two systems" can make the most of its competitive edges. Hong Kong will definitely have a brighter future with "Security" bringing "Prosperity".
It is therefore necessary to have the NSL to foster Hong Kong’s immense potential for further development. The responsibility of in-depth implementation of the NSL should be shouldered by our society as a whole. The Department of Justice, apart from handling cases of endangering national security strictly in accordance with the NSL and local laws, will also step up the promotion of the national identity among different sectors of the community, enhancing their correct understanding of the Constitution, the Basic Law and the NSL.
A solid system needs an efficient administration for implementation. In addition to genuinely upholding the Basic Law, bearing allegiance to the country and the HKSAR, possessing talents and virtues as well as the administrative capabilities, the governing team should also fulfil five specific requirements as pointed out by Xia: (1) being staunch patriots; (2) having strategic thinking and a broad vision to resolve tough problems with a strong sense of responsibility; (3) serving the public with practical actions; (4) rallying and uniting all sectors; and (5) acting in the best interest of the country and the city and perform their duties faithfully.
The stronger the bottom line of "one country", the greater the room for "two systems", and hence a better tomorrow for Hong Kong.
The writer is Hong Kong's Secretary for Justice. The article appeared on her official blog page on July 17, 2021.
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