Zhi Zhenfeng and Fan Xiaxin
After its return to the motherland in 1997, the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region has maintained its development momentum and has been playing a complementary role to the Chinese mainland's economy due to the successful implementation of the "one country, two systems" policy.
However, four years ago, the SAR faced serious security risks due to the loopholes in its security policy. Anti-China forces, both within and outside the SAR, are unhappy to see the city's rapid development and prosperity. Since they cannot accept Hong Kong residents living in peace and pursuing prosperity, and the city being governed by the rule of law, they will do anything to defame, attack and damage Hong Kong's governance system.
Hostile foreign forces blatantly interfered in the Hong Kong affairs and even tried to instigate a "color revolution" to separate Hong Kong from the motherland. The aim of those who went on the rampage in the city, damaging property and attacking innocent people, ostensibly in protest against an extradition law was to destabilize the city. Their acts were nothing but subversion.
The British colonial rulers treated Hong Kong people as "second-class citizens", denying them many democratic and human rights. Since Hong Kong's return to the motherland, its people became the real masters of the city and their basic rights and freedom were guaranteed. But hostile foreign forces and their proxies tried to check the development of democracy and human rights in Hong Kong, and use the city as a "pawn" in their game to contain China's rise. Their interference in the Hong Kong affairs created chaos, threatening China's national security and the development of democracy and human rights in Hong Kong.
With a view to restoring peace and order in the city, the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress passed the National Security Law for Hong Kong on June 30, 2020, and implemented it in the SAR in accordance with the Basic Law of Hong Kong. The main function of the law is to protect democracy and human rights in the SAR.
The implementation of the National Security Law ended the chaos and restored order in the city, helping Hong Kong to resume normal economic activity and pursue development and prosperity, thus building the ground for the development of democracy and human rights. The law reshaped the political ecology and improved governance in Hong Kong, while helping it maintain its status as a global financial, shipping and trade hub, and fostering a rapidly-growing innovation and technology sector.
The law also helped the central authorities to reform Hong Kong's electoral system in order to make it more representative and consolidate the SAR government's governance. The new electoral system balances overall jurisdiction by the central government and a high degree of autonomy in the SAR. It has helped exclude hostile forces from the local government while improving the representation of Hong Kong society in the Legislative Council and the administration.
To put the governance in the right hands is to safeguard Hong Kong's stability and prosperity, as well as the interests of more than 7 million Hong Kong residents.
The National Security Law for Hong Kong has restored stability and safety to Hong Kong. According to official data, the number of robbery and burglary cases was the lowest in 2022 since records began in 1969. Cases of serious assaults, arson, snatching and pick-pocketing, too, have dropped to record lows since 1997.
Hong Kong residents support the law because it safeguards national security, has helped stabilize the city's stock, real estate and foreign exchange markets, and created new opportunities for its economic and social development.
Without security and stability, there is no freedom, no democracy and no development. And it is to safeguard security, promote development, protect human rights, develop democracy and improve people's well-being that the SAR needs the National Security Law.
The security law shows no tolerance for activities that undermine national sovereignty and security, challenging the authority of the central government or the Basic Law, or using Hong Kong to infiltrate or sabotage the mainland.
Hong Kong residents know that development is a prerequisite for improving their livelihoods and well-being, so they cannot stand by without trying to stop those out to disrupt the city's development by creating chaos and committing mayhem. Hong Kong residents should also make efforts to prevent foreign powers from interfering in the country's internal affairs. Even now, when things seem calm on the surface, there are undercurrents of conspiracies in Hong Kong society, because the root of the troubles has not been removed, and the foundation of the new order still needs to be reinforced.
Hong Kong residents will enjoy higher-quality democracy and human rights with the Hong Kong SAR government administering Hong Kong without the interference of outside forces, and the law enforcement department and judiciary shouldering the responsibility of safeguarding national security and rule of law.
Zhi Zhenfeng is a researcher with the Institute of Law of the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences. Fan Xiaxin is a postgraduate at the same institute.
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