Published: 14:45, March 25, 2024 | Updated: 15:07, March 25, 2024
Life in HK after implementation of new law on national security
By Xinhua

This photo dated on April 14, 2022 shows a child walking past a billboard promoting National Security Education Day in the Central district of Hong Kong. (EDMOND TANG / CHINA DAILY)

HONG KONG - Chan Tze-chin, a lawyer practicing in Hong Kong, heaved a breath of relief as he walked on the bustling street of Causeway Bay on March 23, the day Hong Kong's Safeguarding National Security Ordinance takes effect.

"I have never felt so reassured," he said.

The ordinance marks the completion of legislation work stipulated by Article 23 of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region Basic Law, plugging the national security loophole.

"Hong Kong starts anew from this day," HKSAR Chief Executive John Lee Ka-chiu said on March 23. Many people in Hong Kong now share the sentiment.

Promising future

Chan was beaten by rioters in May 2020 when he tried to stop them from vandalizing a storefront.

I have never felt so reassured ... I wanted to dispel misunderstandings by explaining laws to more people.

Chan Tze-chin, a lawyer practicing in Hong Kong

Just as he was disappointed by Hong Kong's state of chaos at the time, the national security law in Hong Kong took effect in June that year, which put his life back to normal and inspired him to set up a social media channel for short videos about Hong Kong's legal environment.

"I wanted to dispel misunderstandings by explaining laws to more people," he said. Chan felt rewarded by the increasing number of viewer comments saying they are heartened by Hong Kong's improvement and are more confident in the future.

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With the ordinance in effect, Chan hopes to contribute more to its publicity. "I will give lectures and attend international forums to tell stories and introduce to people the real Hong Kong."

Most of all, people should know that Hong Kong now has a stronger guarantee for security and a more stable society, which will help bring in investment, Chan said, adding that Hong Kong can concentrate on economic development.

Chief Executive John Lee Ka-chiu (seventh right) joins in the applause with government officials and lawmakers at the Legislative Council after the passage of the Safeguarding National Security Ordinance on March 19, 2024. (ANDY CHONG / CHINA DAILY)

Sow seed of patriotism

"It felt like welcoming a newborn," said Lee Chik, a primary school teacher and father of three, of how he has anticipated the ordinance.

Lee once stood up against rioters singing the national anthem together with his children. "The national anthem is my only weapon at hand to defend us," he said.

Completing Article 23 legislation is truly a historic moment for Hong Kong ... I understand, through personal experience in public services, that safety and stability matters greatly to every Hong Kong resident.

Angel Chong, a member of Sai Kung District Council

Lee has been exploring better ways to nurture patriotic sentiments among primary school students. He recalled watching the movie My Country, My Parents in class. Over half of the students ended up crying over the fathers who died on the battlefield defending the motherland, and many students learned to stand upright and sing the national anthem loudly in flag-raising ceremonies after watching the movie.

"I knew right away patriotism had settled in their minds," Lee said.

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For his first-grader daughter, Article 23 legislation may be too difficult to understand, Lee said, adding that through songs and stories, he cultivates love for the motherland within his daughter.

Passionate youth

"Completing Article 23 legislation is truly a historic moment for Hong Kong," said Angel Chong, 23, a member of Sai Kung District Council. "I understand, through personal experience in public services, that safety and stability matters greatly to every Hong Kong resident."

When the safeguarding national security bill was being deliberated, Chong noticed voices of confusion or even defamation toward it, and decided to appear in a video series to expound on it in English.

People wave both the Chinese national and Hong Kong SAR's regional flags during a flag-raising ceremony held at Hon Wah College, in Siu Sai Wan, to celebrate the 26th anniversary of Hong Kong's return to the motherland, on July 1, 2023. (CALVIN NG / CHINA DAILY)

Now she is planning activities in schools to help students know more about the ordinance and strengthen their sense of responsibility on safeguarding national security.

Chong's passion in public service can be traced back to her years studying in Peking University, where she was an active participant of seminars on Hong Kong's social causes. Over the years, she has sought to create a stronger bond among various social groups as she went through a long line of primary-level posts.

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Chong believes that Hong Kong can focus on developing its economy and improving people's lives with security ensured. "I'm more motivated to serve the public to create a better future," she said.