Wang Zhimin, director of Beijing’s liaison office in Hong Kong, said the city has so far failed to safeguard China’s national sovereignty and security because it has not enacted the national security law.
Wang made the remarks at the city’s first National Security Education Day symposium on Sunday, the first of its kind to be held in Hong Kong.
The National Security Education Day is observed every April 15, based on the passage of the national security law by the National People’s Congress Standing Committee in 2015.
Speaking before an audience that included Chief Executive Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor and other senior government officials, Wang said the fact that Hong Kong is the only place in the world without national security legislation makes it an outstanding risk point for China, the Hong Kong Economic Journal reports.
While the “one country, two systems” principle has been implemented in Hong Kong since the handover in 1997, Wang stressed that there is only the responsibility of “one country” and not “two systems” when it comes to national security issues.
Safeguarding national security is tantamount to safeguarding the Hong Kong people’s fundamental welfare, progress of national rejuvenation and the “one country, two systems” principle, Wang said, adding that he hopes the symposium can become a regular annual event.
The pan-democratic camp said it was clear that Wang was trying to put pressure on the Hong Kong government to legislate Article 23 of the Basic Law, which requires Hong Kong to implement laws against treason, secession and subversion, and wondered whether the chief executive is capable of withstanding the pressure.
Jasper Tsang Yok-sing, one of the founders of the think tank Hong Kong Policy Research Institute that hosted the symposium, said he does not think such pressure exists.
Tsang, a former Legislative Council president, said it would astonish him if the incumbent government is still not able to legislate Article 23 before its term ends in 2022, which is the halfway mark for the “50 years with no change for Hong Kong” promise made by Beijing.
Tsang called on the government to take a more aggressive approach to deal with the legislation instead of passively waiting for “the right moment” to come.
Lam told the symposium that national security is the top priority of any society to keep prospering and the public to live and work in peace, instead of being regarded as something related only to military defense and not Hong Kong’s responsibility.
She pledged to erase such a misconception and mobilize all sectors of society to do a good job in safeguarding national security.
Secretary for Security John Lee Ka-chiu said he believes the SAR government will create a favorable environment for its legislation rather than shun the controversial but unavoidable responsibility.
Qiao Xiaoyang, former chairman of the NPC law committee, is expected to come to Hong Kong this Friday to attend a Basic Law seminar for senior government officials and a symposium on the same topic the following day.
– Contact us at [email protected]