Published: 09:08, January 27, 2021 | Updated: 03:28, June 5, 2023
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Lam urges Biden govt to view National Security Law fairly
By Shadow Li and Chen Zimo in Hong Kong

Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor expressed on Tuesday her hope that the Biden administration will review the US position on the National Security Law for Hong Kong in “a fair manner”, after the Trump administration imposed “unjustified sanctions” on the city. 

In a video speech at a seminar focusing on Sino-US relations, Lam said the security law comes with important features to put it on a par with, if not making it superior to, similar national security laws in other jurisdictions, including such laws in the US. 

She said the Hong Kong law, which outlaws four types of acts and activities that endanger national security, also contains specific provisions to uphold Hong Kong people’s rights and freedoms. 

It also provides for important principles of the rule of law, including the presumption of innocence, the prohibition of double jeopardy, and the right to a fair trial, she said. The law came into effect on June 30, after the city had been haunted by a year of street violence that began in June 2019. 

The enactment of the law in Hong Kong, a special administrative region of China, was both a “necessary” and “rational” move by the central government as it is “the legitimate right and duty of every state to safeguard its national security”, Lam said. 

CE Carrie Lam said the National Security Law for Hong Kong comes with important features to put it on a par with, if not making it superior to, similar national security laws in other jurisdictions, including such laws in the US

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It was “lamentable if not outright resentful” for the Trump administration to impose unilateral “unjustified actions or sanctions” on the Hong Kong SAR government, businesses and individuals, she said. 

As one of the sanctioned officials, Lam said she and her 11 senior sanctioned colleagues will continue to steadfastly, dutifully and lawfully carry out their duties to safeguard the country’s national sovereignty, unity and territorial integrity. In fact, the implementation of the law has restored long-overdue stability, which Lam said is vitally important to the prosperity of Hong Kong and the business activities of both local and overseas enterprises. 

Lam’s remarks were backed by a report by the American Chamber of Commerce in Hong Kong, the largest foreign business chamber in the city. According to the report, US enterprises in the city are still optimistic about Hong Kong’s business environment after the enactment of the law.

According to the report released recently, AmCham said most surveyed businesses expect Hong Kong to remain their respective regional headquarters for the next three years, and half of the surveyed businesses are cautiously optimistic they will perform better in 2021. 

READ MORE: Japan, US firms voice confidence in HK's business environment

Jessica Bartlett, chairwoman of AmCham HK, said earlier in a video published on the chamber’s social media account that there was no exodus of US capital in the wake of the law’s implementation. 

Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian, at a news briefing on Monday, said the report by AmCham is a living embodiment of how the National Security Law brings significant benefits to maintain Hong Kong’s robust business environment by providing a safer, brighter, more stable and sustainable investment environment for foreign businesses. 

Lau Siu-kai, vice-president of the Chinese Association of Hong Kong and Macao Studies, said the Biden administration should rescind the US’ unjustifiable actions against Hong Kong as an olive branch to repair the damage by then-president Donald Trump’s violation of international commerce norms. 

For example, it should drop the unreasonable requirement that city-produced exports be labeled “Made in China” and recognize the Hong Kong SAR as a separate customs territory, which it has under the city’s “one country, two systems” arrangement. 

READ MORE: HKSAR takes labelling dispute with US to WTO

Lau said that if the new US administration intends to normalize relations with China, it must take the initiative to stop exploiting and hyping Hong Kong affairs and gradually abandon its all-around suppression of and containment of China. 

However, he said he believes the attitude of the US-led Western camp toward the security law will not change the determination of the central government nor Hong Kong to strictly enforce the law. 

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