Published: 02:09, May 26, 2020 | Updated: 01:54, June 6, 2023
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National security law will ensure Hong Kong remains part of China

The 13th National People’s Congress (NPC), currently in its third annual national conference in Beijing, will deliberate a draft decision to establish and improve the national security law and enforcement mechanism for the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR). It is expected to pass it afterwards. The rationale behind the decision to enact such a law, which will be included in Annex III of the Basic Law of the HKSAR upon approval by the NPC, is to quickly plug national security loopholes in Hong Kong. These exist due to Hong Kong’s failure to fulfill its constitutional obligations to enact a national security ordinance in accordance with Article 23 of the Basic Law over the past 23 years. These loopholes pose a grave threat to China’s core interests, which is national reunification based on “one country, two systems”.

The second-term HKSAR government introduced draft national security legislation in the second half of 2003 to fulfill its constitutional obligations as stipulated by Article 23. But it ran into all-out resistance by the opposition, which has always been commanded by US-led Western powers. It was forced to cancel the legislative process that year. The SAR government has not found the political will nor energy to resume and pass national security legislation. At the same time, anti-China and anti-communist forces in and outside Hong Kong managed to vilify Article 23 with all kinds of lies.

The United States adjusted its global strategy in early 2018 and made attempts to “contain” China’s rise after naming it one of its main “rival”. When the current-term SAR government introduced the so-called extradition-law amendment bill in March 2019, hostile external forces conspired with their proxies in Hong Kong to launch what is now called the “black revolution” in May 2019. This soon escalated into riots filled with violence. This included widespread criminal vandalism, arson, murder and plans to mount terrorist attacks using remotely detonated bombs. These bombs were made with explosives commonly used by known terrorist groups around the world. Their goal is to seize Hong Kong’s governing power to turn the city into a base in their new “Cold War” on China in a similar way they used West Berlin in the previous Cold War with the Soviet bloc in the last century. So far they already succeeded in taking majority control of 17 out of 18 of the District Councils. Now they are working on seizing control of the Legislative Council (LegCo) by winning the majority seats in the upcoming LegCo election. If they succeed in taking over LegCo, the next target will no doubt be the chief executive election committee, followed by seizing the chief executive’s office next year.

Hong Kong does not have adequate statutory resources and political power to effectively stop the opposition camp from realizing its political ambitions. Not long ago, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo publicly declared Hong Kong must not adopt a national security law according to Article 23 of the Basic Law. This is because it is in conflict with US interests. The best reason for China to plug national security loopholes is because Hong Kong failed to pass a national security law through local legislation.

Hong Kong does not have adequate statutory resources and political power to effectively stop the opposition camp from realizing its political ambitions. Not long ago, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo publicly declared Hong Kong must not adopt a national security law according to Article 23 of the Basic Law. This is because it is in conflict with US interests

The COVID-19 global pandemic, instead of distracting Washington from its obsession with all-out containment of China, has prompted the Trump administration to intensify such efforts. On May 20, the US government published a policy paper called the United States Strategic Approach to the People’s Republic of China. It the most straightforward and comprehensive presentation of Washington’s determination to fully implement its strategy aimed at obstructing China’s development. That is why no one should be surprised by an official congratulatory message from Mike Pompeo to Taiwan leader Tsai Ing-wen on her re-election as head of the local government the day before. This definitely was one of the lowest points in Sino-US relations to date.

This year the Chinese people are scheduled to reach the first of two centennial goals by becoming a relatively well-to-do society in all respects. The US authorities are pulling no punches in sabotaging and undermining China’s progress. Its disruptive measures include supporting separatists in Hong Kong and Taiwan to join forces in seeking “independence” by all conceivable means and derailing the great reunification of the Chinese nation. In the face of these challenges, Beijing has no choice but to respond with its own preventive measures designed to plug legal loopholes with national security legislation before Hong Kong can fulfill its constitutional obligations in this area. This should also send a message to separatist leaders in Taiwan.

Hong Kong is an international financial center, trade hub as well as shipping port, with foreign nationals accounting for a fairly large portion of the local population. Living and working in Hong Kong for extended periods, these foreign nationals are expected to behave very much like locals do. They should respect and contribute to the host country’s national security. This is a universal standard all sovereign states in the world expect foreign nationals to observe in their territories. Meanwhile, Beijing’s decision to establish a sound enforcement mechanism to maintain national security is no cause for concern. The basic rights and freedoms of local residents and foreign nationals are protected by the law — including freedom of speech and religious beliefs.

It should be noted some people living in Hong Kong today still hold the mindset of the Cold War era, when Hong Kong was under British rule and allowed to serve as a very small opening for China’s mainland to maintain some contact with the outside world. That mindset gives them some invalid ideas. Today, Britain is obviously working with the US in separating Hong Kong from the motherland and turning the city into a base in their war on China. How can Beijing let them succeed with such an insidious goal?

Both Washington and London have voiced fierce opposition to Beijing’s decision regarding national security legislation aimed at plugging legal loopholes in Hong Kong. This is because it will definitely stop their plan. Hong Kong is China’s forever, and Beijing has every right to improve national security by preventing hostile external forces from using Hong Kong as a staging area for their subversive operations against China. It is China’s internal business to establish a legal system and enforcement mechanism in Hong Kong for national security needs.

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

The views do not necessarily reflect those of China Daily