2nd June 2020 – (Hong Kong) The National People’s Congress passed the decision to formulate the “Hong Kong version of the National Security Law.” Luo Huining, director of the Liaison Office of the Central People’s Government in the HKSAR said that he received more than 2.92 million signatures in support of the legislation, proving that the legislation is popular and imperative. In response, US President Trump said at a press conference earlier that China has changed “one country, two systems” into “one country, one system,” announcing that it will revoke special treatment for Hong Kong and sanction officials who weaken Hong Kong’s autonomy.
Chief Executive Carrie Lam met with reporters this morning (2nd), and responded to issues such as legislation and sanctions on National Security Law. Carrie Lam pointed out that on 28th May, the National People’s Congress voted to approve the National Security Law for Hong Kong and authorised the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress to formulate laws. Since the legislative work is a two-step process, the decision of the National People’s Congress to authorise the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress is the first step. At present, there are still no legal provisions, and it is understood that the public has certain concerns. She pointed out that in the past few days, foreign government politicians have made many untrue statements and unreasonable accusations. The government has issued news announcements, social network posts, and interviews for the purpose of rebuttal.
In essence, she expressed five view points: 1. One is to firmly safeguard national security which is the basis for the manifestation of sovereignty for each country. Hong Kong is not completely free of laws restricting acts that jeopardise national security, but its law is obviously very inadequate. 2. Secondly is to better, the whole purpose is to better the system of “One Country, Two Systems”. There is also a national security law in China, which should apply nationwide, but under one country, two systems through Article 23 of the Basic Law authorising self-enactment of legislation, but for various reasons, the Hong Kong’s legislation has not been implemented so far and it can be seen that it is difficult to pass local legislation for a period of time. 3. The third principle is to govern Hong Kong in strict accordance with the law. There should be no worry that there will be illegal acts by certain people in Hong Kong. Everyone knows clearly the social unrest in Hong Kong has persisted since last year with the support of foreign forces to overthrow of the regime, many citizens are living in fear and this no longer concerns the rule of law, but ‘the rule of fear’ takes over, including the fear of being harassed. The central government cares about all citizens and it is impossible to turn a blind eye to this worsening situation. Fourthly is to resist external interference in Hong Kong affairs. Finally, which is the most important point in her view and hence she has quoted it extensively in one of my press releases or statements, is to uphold the legal rights and freedoms of Hong Kong people.
Carrie Lam pointed out that the central government has received a lot of pressure on this matter, such as foreign criticism but the central government is willing to show its responsibility. She criticised the high-profile responses of some foreign governments who showed double standards. She pointed out to the American authorities, rather than using the term ” I urge” them to do this and that, she would respect the jurisdiction of every administration, her task and her stance is to point out to the American government and indeed to other governments, should that occasion arise, that they will be hurting their own interests in Hong Kong.
She attached great importance to her national security. Carrie Lam also referred to the recent anti-police riots in the United States, and the tough measures adopted by its local government. Regarding foreign sanctions and other actions, Carrie Lam pointed out that these actions are detrimental to others. First of all, Hong Kong is the largest economy in the United States to earn a trade surplus for more than a decade. 1,300 American companies in Hong Kong provide the same preferential policies for entering the mainland as CEPA. Hong Kong has been granting visa-free access to American passport holders even if the Hong Kong government does not receive reciprocal treatment.Therefore, she called on other governments to respect each other when dealing with bilateral relations with Hong Kong, especially when the global economy is weak.
She also quoted a statement issued by HKMAO (the Hong Kong and Macao Affairs Office) on 29th May which they said that the enactment will not change the high degree of autonomy and will have no impact on Hong Kong SAR’s judicial independence, including that of final adjudication. She finds these principles and clarifications very reassuring, but of course one has to wait for the draft legislation before the public will be truly convinced that the law has complied with each and every one of those principles.
National security is not just about explosives and rifles. National security includes financial security, includes public health security. When it comes to matters like public security, people will accept, Hong Kong people willingly abide by some of the restrictions in order to protect themselves, their families and society at large.
Regarding the news that there will be salary adjustment of civil servants including salary freeze, Carrie Lam explained that the annual salary adjustment is not mechanically carried out according to indicators. A basket of factors needs to be considered, including the current weak economic situation. Morale issues and the consumer price index also need to be taken into account. Carrie Lam pointed out that the final decision cannot be disclosed at this stage, but it must be announced to the 180,000 civil servant colleagues that the final decision made by the government should be understood in view of the current economic scenario, reflecting the spirit of hardship and solidarity.
President Trump indicated that he would sanction Chinese and Hong Kong officials, and there were comments that the director-level officials should renounce foreign nationality. Carrie Lam believes that it is not necessary to put this on the agenda at this time, but emphasises that civil servants should be politically neutral and need to support the National Security Law.
As far as COVID-19, the government is very worried about this outbreak in community, not because of the number of nine confirmed patients, but also because this particular cluster reflects some characteristics which the government might not have seen before. Living in the same building but not affected by the drainage system or the building’s structures is something that puzzled Carrie Lam and also she believes the experts are very worried. They have to do a lot more investigation to trace the causes of these infections and to receive as quickly as possible the specimens back so that the government will have a better idea of the extent and the spread of the infections in the local community.