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National security legislation endorsed by HK residents

By He Shusi in Hong Kong | China Daily | Updated: 2020-05-24 09:32
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Endorsements poured in for the proposed national security legislation for the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region, as the city's senior officials, business leaders and educators voiced support for it on Saturday.

They stressed that the legislation is crucial to the long-term success of the "one country, two systems" principle, since it will effectively put an end to the chaos and violence Hong Kong has suffered since the latter part of 2019, and will better instill in the city's younger generation the sense of safeguarding national security.

A draft decision on establishing and improving the HKSAR's legal system and enforcement mechanisms to better safeguard national security was proposed for deliberation at the third session of the 13th National People's Congress, which began in Beijing on Friday.

The decision follows repeated street violence in Hong Kong since June 2019 that often challenged national dignity and sovereignty. On multiple occasions, radicals defaced the national emblem, trashed the national flag and cried out "Hong Kong independence" slogans.

On the other hand, Hong Kong's police watchdog, the Independent Police Complaints Council, said in its report in May that "from recent seizures of assault rifles, handguns and ammunition, and materials for bomb-making, it seems that our community is being dragged into an era of terrorism."

In a letter to the SAR's more than 170,000 civil servants on Saturday, Secretary for the Civil Service Patrick Nip Tak-kuen stressed the importance of the legislation as the current legal loophole prevents the city from punishing conduct that endangers national security.

"I hope and believe that the team of civil servants, as the backbone of the SAR government, will demonstrate its due responsibility to perform duties of safeguarding national security according to law," Nip said.

In a local radio program on Saturday, Secretary for Labour and Welfare Law Chi-kwong also endorsed the legislation, saying that with the advent of activities to split the country, the central government must safeguard the nation's integrity.

Secretary for Education Kevin Yeung Yun-hung, who also took part in the radio program, said that when the national security legislation is enacted in the HKSAR, it will become a part of Hong Kong people's life. Students must understand the national security law when growing up in the city, he stressed.

The city's business, education and labor sectors also approved of the legislation.

The Hong Kong Federation of Education Workers said in a statement on Friday that the concept of secession has permeated campuses in Hong Kong in recent years. There is an urgent need to establish a legal system and enforcement mechanism in Hong Kong to safeguard national security, according to the statement.

Bernard Charnwut Chan, president of Asia Financial Holdings and Asia Insurance, and a Hong Kong deputy to the NPC, said that a national security law would not affect the normal work, life and corporate activities of residents, but rather provide a greater guarantee.

The Hong Kong Federation of Trade Unions said in a news release that legislation can help ensure a stable environment for the millions in the city's working class to live and work in peace.

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