|National Security Legislation: Safety Protection Net for the long–term Stability and Prosperity of Hong Kong|
On 28 May 2020, National People's Congress of China adopted the decision on the establishment and improvement of the legal system and enforcement mechanism of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region for the maintenance of national security. This is one of the most significant measures taken by the Chinese Central government on Hong Kong affairs since its’ return to the motherland. It is a historic event and a milestone in the course of implementation of "one country, two systems" and Hong Kong Basic Law.
The decision was adopted against the backdrop of violence erupted in Hong Kong when the SAR government introduced Fugitive Offenders Amendment Bill in 2019. Some people with ulterior motives in Hong Kong, backed by external forces, instigated a series of serious violent incidents, trampling on the bottom line of any civilized society, challenging China’s national sovereignty, seriously violating the principle of "one country, two systems" and Hong Kong Basic Law. As a result, Hong Kong, a city which has long been well known for its openness and rule of law was plunged into chaos. Stopping violence and ending chaos has become a strong consensus in Hong Kong.
What is even more intolerable is that the US regards Hong Kong as a bridgehead to disrupt China’s development and split China. The US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo once said, what is at stake about Hong Kong is that it is a bastion of “freedom” that can be used to influence China.
Therefore, the national security legislation for Hong Kong is of great significance to safeguard China’s national sovereignty, unity, territorial integrity and the foundation of "one country, two systems". If Hong Kong's national security law is not enacted, it cannot be said that the Basic Law has been fully implemented. This year marks the 30th anniversary of the promulgation of the Basic Law of Hong Kong, there is no better time for the central government to step up efforts to close the loopholes in Hong Kong's national security.
The people from all walks of life in Hong Kong, including leaders from business, industry, professional circles, education, cultural and performing arts community, social welfare and youth groups, have welcomed and supported the move, believing that it will help restore social order, ensure the legitimate rights and interests of its’ citizens, safeguard the investment environment and long-term prosperity and stability of Hong Kong. Well-known foreign companies like HSBC, Jardine Matheson, Swire Group and Standard Chartered have voiced their support for the legislation as well.
Tan Yaozong, a member of the NPC Standing Committee, along with 12 other conveners, launched the United Front of Supporting National Security Legislation in Hong Kong on May 24. The United Front set up street stations all over Hong Kong and called on the public to participate in the signature action of " Supporting National Security Legislation ". As many as around three million Hong Kong residents signed for support of the legislation in 8 days.
According to a survey by the Hong Kong General Chamber of Commerce, 61 percent of the respondents said the law will have either a positive or no impact at all on their businesses over the long term.
Since the adoption of the decision, there are many countries in the world that have publicly expressed their firm support for this legislation, believing that this is a just move to safeguard China’s national sovereignty, security and development interests, and will help maintain stability and prosperity in Hong Kong.
Yet the politicians from the US, UK, Canada, Australia, out of total disregard of facts, made groundless accusations against the decision, and both US and UK announced measures which are gravely interfering with China's internal affairs and undermining their bilateral relations with China and will be detrimental to both sides.
U.S. Senator Rubio, an anti-China pioneer, teamed up with a group of MPs from Australia, Canada and elsewhere and announced a new international coalition of legislators called Inter-Parliamentary Alliance on China. They hope through this alliance, they will exert bigger pressure on China.
Under the instigation of external anti-China forces, a very small number of anti-China elements and rioters have spread malicious slanders against the decision, sown panic among Hong Kong citizens, and carried out violent activities such as blocking roads, setting fire, smashing shops, attacking innocent citizens and police. The police arrested more than 180 rioters recently. These facts have further proved the urgency and importance of the National Security Legislation in Hong Kong.
Hong Kong affairs are purely China's internal affairs that allow no foreign interference. With the rock-solid determination and massive support from Hong Kong society, as well as the firm support from the entire Chinese nation, the National People's Congress of China is bound to successfully complete the national security legislation of Hong Kong. Any plots to undermine or obstruct the NPC's Hong Kong-related legislation are doomed to fail.
Hong Kong's long-term prosperity and stability are in the common interests of all countries in the world, including South Africa. In 2019, the bilateral trade between South Africa and Hong Kong stood at R23 billion. Hong Kong's national security legislation will surely lay a more solid foundation for South Africa’s cooperation with Hong Kong in various fields, in particular, in the fields of economy and trade.