|With national security laws, Hong Kong will embrace brighter future|
A decision to draft a law on safeguarding national security in the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) of the People’s Republic of China, which was approved by the National People’s Congress (NPC), China’s top legislature, has drawn much attention worldwide recently.
On the one hand, the draft law was highly welcomed by the HKSAR government as well as the local business circle, and nearly 3 million Hong Kong citizens expressed their support for the legislation decision in signature campaigns within just eight days of the announcement.
On the other hand, some foreign forces headed by the US and UK have been very high-profile in making their opposition heard.
However, it is not difficult to understand the reasons why noises were hyped up by these external forces if we get to have a general understanding of Hong Kong’s past and present.
Hong Kong is an inalienable part of China and has been under the effective jurisdiction of the Chinese dynasties for thousands of years. But since it was ceded to the UK, the then most powerful colonial country, after China was defeated in the First Opium War launched by the UK in 1842, Hong Kong had been a semi-colony of the UK for 156 years until its final return to China in 1997.
During the 156 colonial years, none of 28 Hong Kong governors was elected by Hong Kong residents; no freedom of demonstration in the streets was granted to Hong Kong residents either and the Britain Treason Act was even applied to Hong Kong under colonial rule.
After its return to China, under the principle “one country two systems”, Hong Kong enjoys continuous development and prosperity. It began to show unprecedented vitality and competitiveness and maintains a major global financial centre connecting China’s mainland and the world.
Hong Kong’s progress since its return shows that “one country” is the foundation of “two systems” as well as a precondition for its prosperity. Attempts to shake this foundation would only leave Hong Kong in chaos.
However, some countries, such as the US or Britain, seem to be still immersed in the illusion that Hong Kong is always a semi-colony or an independent enclave, a test field for cultivating anti-China forces, and a front line for output of Cold War ideology.
Under their blatant support and incitement, “Hong Kong independence” and radical separatist activities have become increasingly rampant, and their violent and terrorist activities have escalated in recent years, seriously challenging the red line of the “one country, two systems” principle, severely undermining the safety, prosperity and legitimate rights and interests of Hong Kong citizens.
The ulterior intentions behind external forces’ anxious smears and interference are more than clear, that they are simply worried that they will not be able to utilise Hong Kong in reckless and unchecked ways as before to engage in activities that jeopardise China’s national security.
As to why some US politicians have been reacting so strongly, the reason is also plain and simple. Despite the fact that the US is actually one of the countries that has issued the most laws related to national security, US Secretary of State Pompeo once said that what is at stake about Hong Kong is that it is a bastion of freedom that can be used to influence China.
In their eyes, the Hong Kong issue is no different from other China-related issues like Xinjiang, Xizang (Tibet), Taiwan and even Covid-19. They are not issues about human rights, ethnicity, religion or transparency at all, but excuses to undermine China’s sovereignty and security, harm China’s prosperity and stability and contain China’s development.
National security legislation is in the power of the central government in all sovereign countries, and China is no exception; while the more external interference is posed, the more necessary and imperative it is for the national security legislation in Hong Kong, and the more determined for China in advancing related laws for Hong Kong.
It is filling in a national security legislative gap in the HKSAR that the NPC’s decision is aimed at. The legal basis for implementing “one country and two systems”, including for the Hong Kong-related national security legislation, is China’s Constitution and Basic Laws, not the Sino-British Joint Declaration, which is a document concerning Hong Kong’s return to China and relevant arrangements during the transition period, and its UK-related provisions have already been fulfilled with Hong Kong’s return to China.
According to a survey by the Hong Kong General Chamber of Commerce, 61% of the respondents said the law would have either a positive impact, or no impact at all, on their business over the long term.
National security legislation will effectively put an end to the social unrest and restore stability in Hong Kong and will only target a very small number of people whose actions and activities gravely jeopardise national security, and will by no means impact the rights and freedoms of Hong Kong residents.
The era of colonialism and imperialism has been abandoned by history. Zero-sum thinking and a Cold War mindset will lead nowhere but to confrontation and chaos.
With the shield of national security legislation and China’s strong determination to safeguard national security for all the people of the mainland as well as Hong Kong, Hong Kong will surely consolidate its role as a global financial centre and embrace a brighter future of long-lasting prosperity and stability.