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National security law 'timely', spokesperson says

By Zhang Yangfei | chinadaily.com.cn | Updated: 2020-05-22 15:50
[Photo/IC]

National legislators reviewing the draft decision on establishing and improving the legal system and enforcement mechanism for Hong Kong at a state level is "very timely, necessary and important", a spokesperson for the Hong Kong and Macao Affairs Office of the State Council said on Friday.

The decision will help lay a solid institutional foundation for the "one country, two systems" principle, considering the severe situation faced by the Hong Kong government in maintaining national security in recent years, the spokesperson said in a statement.

The National People's Congress will deliberate the decision during the annual session that started on Friday. If passed, it will authorize the Standing Committee of the NPC to formulate relevant laws.

The spokesperson said the new law only targets those activities that attempt to split the country, subvert the state's power, organize terrorist attacks and activities of foreign and external forces to interfere in the affairs of the HKSAR.

It will not affect the rights and freedoms enjoyed by Hong Kong residents, including freedom of demonstration and assembly, as well as freedom of speech, the spokesperson said, adding it will also enable Hong Kong residents to better exercise their rights in a safe environment.

The spokesperson emphasized the "one country, two systems" principle, the capitalist economic system implemented in Hong Kong, the high degree of autonomy and the local legal system will not change, and the interest of foreign investors in Hong Kong will continue to be protected.

Since the unrest triggered by the extradition bill in June last year, separatist forces have clamored for "Hong Kong independence" with the support of foreign and "Taiwan independence" forces and committed violent crimes of a terroristic nature, the spokesperson said, adding these acts have seriously challenged the bottom line of the "one country, two systems" policy and endangered national sovereignty, unity and territorial integrity.

As an administrative region under the central government, Hong Kong has the constitutional responsibility to prevent and punish any acts that endanger national security.

Article 23 of the Basic Law of the HKSAR stipulates the HKSAR shall enact laws on its own to prohibit any act of treason, secession, sedition, subversion against the Central People's Government or theft of state secrets, to prohibit foreign political organizations or bodies from conducting political activities in the HKSAR and to prohibit political organizations or bodies of the HKSAR from establishing ties with foreign political organizations or bodies.

However, relevant laws are yet to materialize since Hong Kong returned to the motherland, revealing many loopholes in work related to institutional settings and power allocation and making the region under a state of "non-defense" that is rare in the world, the spokesperson said.

In light of the severe circumstances and the Hong Kong government's failure to advance its legislation, the NPC, as the highest organ of state power, has the right granted by the Constitution to make provisions on establishing and improving Hong Kong's legal system and authorize the Standing Committee of NPC to draft the law, the spokesperson said, adding it is an "inevitable, justified and natural choice".

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