National security law in Hong Kong takes effect; life sentence is possible for violators

The Law of National Security in the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) took effect at 11:00 pm local time on Tuesday.

The promulgation of the law was signed by HKSAR Chief Executive Carrie Lam and published in the Gazette, according to a statement of the HKSAR government.

The law was passed at the 20th session of the Standing Committee of the 13th National People’s Congress (NPC). The NPC Standing Committee consulted the HKSAR Basic Law Committee and the HKSAR government and listed the law in Annex III to the HKSAR Basic Law.

The law was formulated according to the Constitution, the Basic Law and an NPC decision on establishing and improving the legal system and enforcement mechanisms for the HKSAR to safeguard national security.

The national security law seeks to prevent, curb and punish crimes seriously endangering national security, namely secession, subversion, terrorist activities, and collusion with a foreign country or external elements to endanger national security, an HKSAR government spokesman said.

The spokesman said the law only targets an extremely small group of offenders while the life and property as well as various legitimate basic rights and freedoms enjoyed by the overwhelming majority of Hong Kong residents will be protected.

There is nothing for Hong Kong residents to worry about in exercising these legitimate rights, the spokesman said.

In order to effectively discharge their duties, the police and the Department of Justice of the HKSAR government have earlier made preparations for the establishment of dedicated units, the spokesman said, adding that the police will establish a dedicated National Security Department on July 1 to handle the relevant work.

The Committee for Safeguarding National Security of the HKSAR chaired by the Chief Executive will be set up as soon as possible to take up the major responsibility of safeguarding national security in the HKSAR, the spokesman said.

CCP’s “Foreign Ministry”: National security law crucial for HK

The implementation of the national security law for Hong Kong is a fundamental solution to stop violence and restore order in the region, the CCP’s “Foreign Ministry” said on Tuesday.

A Foreign Ministry spokesperson made the remarks in an online statement after CCP’s top legislative body on Tuesday unanimously passed the national security law for Hong Kong.

The Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress also decided to add the law into Annex III of the HKSAR Basic Law. President Xi Jinping signed a presidential order to promulgate the law.

The implementation of the law will further complete Hong Kong’s legal system, stabilize the city’s social order and create a better business environment, which will benefit Hong Kong citizens and international investors, according to the statement.

The Chinese government stays committed to implement the “one country, two systems” principle, and firmly opposes external forces to meddle in Hong Kong affairs, the spokesperson said.

China’s determination and commitment to safeguard the security of national sovereignty and maintain the prosperity and stability of Hong Kong will not be undermined by any force or circumstance, the spokesperson said.

Any attempt to use Hong Kong to damage China’s sovereignty, security and development interests is bound to fail, the spokesperson added.

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Jun. 30, 2020