By Yang Xin, acting ambassador of China to Thailand.
On the eve of the 23rd anniversary of Hong Kong’s return to the motherland, the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress of China unanimously passed the law of the People’s Republic of China on Safeguarding National Security in the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) and promulgated it for implementation.
This is to establish and improve Hong Kong’s legal system and enforcement mechanisms for safeguarding national security at the state level, so as to plug the legal loopholes in time.
A few Western politicians flagrantly interfere in China’s internal affairs, and some media deliberately misinterpret the legislative work in an attempt to mislead Thai friends. Some people doubt whether the law marks the end of “one country, two systems”, whether it will restrict the civil liberties of all residents in Hong Kong, and whether it may affect the economic and trade cooperation between Hong Kong and Thailand?
In order to give Thai friends an objective, fair and comprehensive understanding of Hong Kong’s national security legislation, I would like to take this opportunity to make the following introduction.
Firstly, the national security legislation for Hong Kong will start a new journey of “one country, two systems”. In the early 1980s, in order to realize the peaceful reunification of the country, Chinese state leader Deng Xiaoping creatively put forward the scientific conception of “one country, two systems”, which was first used to solve the Hong Kong issue.
“One country, two systems” means that under the premise of one China, the main body of the state adheres to the socialist system, and the regions of Hong Kong, Macao and Taiwan keep the original capitalist system unchanged for a long time. “One country” is the premise of “two systems”. Only when “one country” is safe, “two systems” can be guaranteed.
Since last June, Hong Kong’s anti-China forces have openly advocated “Hong Kong Independence”, recklessly harmed citizens, damaged public properties, seriously endangered social stability, severely threatened China’s national unity, security and territorial integrity, and challenged “one country, two systems” principle.
The purpose of the national security legislation in the HKSAR is to safeguard the authority of “one country”, and ultimately to uphold and improve rather than change “one country, two systems”.
This legislation is a milestone event in the practice of “one country, two systems”, which provides a strong institutional guarantee for the stability of “one country, two systems”.
Secondly, a sound legal system will better protect the legitimate rights and freedoms of Hong Kong citizens and foreign residents in Hong Kong.
The national security legislation for Hong Kong clearly stipulates the rule of law principles such as respect and protect human rights, and fully protects the rights and freedom of speech, press, publication, association, assembly, procession and demonstration enjoyed by Hong Kong residents in accordance with the legislation.
It aims to crack down on four types of crimes, namely, splitting the country, subverting State power, organizing terrorist attacks, and interfering with Hong Kong’s internal affairs in league with foreign forces to endanger national security.
Some troublemakers claim that the Hong Kong police will use legislation to arrest so-called “Democrats” recklessly, and the Western Anti-China forces spare no effort to maliciously defame this legislation.
I’m afraid that it’s all a guilty conscience. Because the national security legislation in the HKSAR is a sharp sword to punish anti-China forces for their vicious activities and completely block their way of interfering in China’s internal affairs.
For sure, a sound legal system will only target a very narrow category of criminal acts and activities that endanger national security and protect the vast majority of the people.
Lastly, a prosperous and stable Hong Kong will be more conducive to Hong Kong-Thailand Economic and trade cooperation.
Since the implementation of the national security legislation in the HKSAR, Hong Kong’s financial market has maintained steady growth, which fully reflects the high recognition of the legislation by investors both at home and abroad, as well as their firm confidence for the future development of Hong Kong.
As an international financial, shipping and Trade Center, Hong Kong maintains close contacts with Thailand, and tens of thousands of Thai citizens live and work in Hong Kong.
In 2019, ASEAN is Hong Kong’s second largest trading partner in goods, and Thailand is Hong Kong’s tenth largest trading partner. Hong Kong and Thailand have great potential for cooperation in information and communication, consumer products and transportation.
The legislation only deals with acts and activities with the intention of seriously endangering national security and will not affect the operation of the financial market and the legitimate financial institutions and market participants.
If the business environment is stable, transparent and predictable, it will continue to attract investors.
The national security legislation is an important part of the improvement of Hong Kong’s legal system. It will help Hong Kong to restore a safe and orderly business environment, which is crucial for the sustainable development of Hong Kong as an international financial center.
With the steady progress of the construction of Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area, Hong Kong’s attractiveness to global investors will not decline because individual foreign countries threaten to cancel Hong Kong’s special treatments.
I believe Thai friends can remove suspicion, see the truth clear, understand and support the national security legislation in the HKSAR. A prosperous, stable and dynamic Hong Kong welcomes more Thai friends with open arms!
About the author
Yang Xin is the charge d’affaires of the Embassy of the People’s Republic of China in Bangkok. He is also currently serving as the acting Ambassador of the People’s Republic of China to Thailand.