CCP’s “top legislature” reviewed a draft law on safeguarding national security in the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region.
The draft law was submitted for the first deliberation to the NPC Standing Committee, China’s top legislature, at its session from Thursday to Saturday after the NPC approved the legislature’s decision in its annual session in May.
The draft contains 66 articles in six chapters, which are general principles; the HKSAR’s duties and institutions for safeguarding national security; crimes and penalties; jurisdiction over national security cases, and application of law and procedures; institutions of the Central People’s Government in the HKSAR for safeguarding national security; and supplementary provisions.
The draft stipulates that the HKSAR shall establish a national security maintenance committee to analyze the security situation, formulate relevant plans and policies, improve the legal system and enforcement mechanisms, and coordinate key national security tasks.
The committee, which should be headed by the chief executive of the HKSAR, shall accept supervision from the central government and set a national security advisor appointed by the central government who will provide advice on matters related to duty performance.
The draft also says the Hong Kong Police Force shall establish a national security department and the region’s Department of Justice shall establish a special department for national security crime prosecution.
The draft also stipulates that the central people’s government shall station a national security agency in the HKSAR. The agency’s duties include analyzing the local national security situation, giving opinions and suggestions on major strategies and policies, supervising, guiding, coordinating and supporting the regional government in implementing its duties, as well as collecting national security intelligence information and handling relevant criminal cases.
It also clarifies that the agency must not infringe on the legitimate rights of any individual or organization and its personnel shall abide by national laws and regional laws, adding that the maintenance of national security shall respect human rights and protect the Hong Kong people’s legitimate rights, including freedom of speech, assembly and demonstration.
The agency shall also build a coordination mechanism with the HKSAR’s national security committee to supervise and guide the region’s national security work, the draft adds.
The draft clarifies four types of crimes that endanger national security, which are secession, subversion against the state power, terrorist activity, as well as collusion with foreign forces that endanger national security.
It also regulates the HKSAR to exercise jurisdiction over criminal cases except in certain circumstances and says the HKSAR shall complete as early as possible its own national security legislation as stipulated by the Basic Law, and strengthen supervision and management of national security matters in schools and social organizations to prevent terrorist attacks.
China Daily editorial: Hong Kong moves step closer to closing legal loopholes
That there is a legislative gap in the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region that needs closing is evident from the outcry that has greeted the State-level move to establish and improve the legal framework and enforcement mechanisms in the SAR to better safeguard national security.
Despite it being illustrative of the “one country, two systems” principle and a reinforcer of that framework, it is those forces inside and outside Hong Kong which are hostile to Beijing that persist in smearing the legislation as a threat to local residents’ freedoms.
These forces, which have been colluding with each other to make trouble in the SAR, claim that the legislation that China’s top legislature conducted the first review of from Thursday to Saturday is “unconstitutional” and will extend the reach of China’s “invasive state security apparatus” into what was “formerly a bastion of liberty”.
They do so on the basis that the draft law is being introduced by the national legislature rather than the SAR’s, despite this being in accordance with the Constitution of the People’s Republic of China and Hong Kong’s Basic Law. And they do so despite the ringing endorsement the move has received from a wide swath of Hong Kong society, including multinational corporations.
The draft law makes explicit stipulations on what constitutes four categories of criminal acts and their corresponding criminal responsibilities. They include acts of secession, subversion of state power, terrorist activities, and collusion with foreign or external forces to endanger national security, all of which are threats to any state.
Yet, laying bare their intentions, none of the opponents of the legislation has uttered a word against such acts in relation to what has been happening in Hong Kong. The justification for their sanctimony is their habit of meddling in the internal affairs of other countries on the pretext of upholding human rights.
The support many countries expressed for the national security legislation in the 43rd conference of the United National Human Rights Council in Geneva from Tuesday to Friday was in stark contrast to the opposition voiced by the United States and its retinue and laid bare the attempt of these countries to use Hong Kong as pawn in their games against China.
The fact that Hong Kong remains a weak link in national security and an easy target for hostile foreign or external forces to disrupt public order and jeopardize social and economic interests makes it clearly imperative for the central government to take the decisive move to plug the legal loopholes.
Only through establishing and improving at the national level the legal system and enforcement mechanisms for Hong Kong to safeguard national security can the small number of illegal and criminal acts of endangering national security be effectively prevented, stopped and punished in the city and thus create a stable and peaceful social environment for addressing its underlying problems in the economy and people’s livelihood.
Only by doing so, can China’s national security and the long-term prosperity and stability of the HKSAR be better safeguarded.
Source: China Daily