Chinese Ambassador Sun Gongyi Writes a Bylined Article for the Mainstream Media in Mauritius
2020/06/05
 

On June 4, Chinese Ambassador Sun Gongyi wrote a bylined article named "National Security Legislation: Hongkong Must Not Be a Weak Link of China's National Security" for "L'Express"---one of the mainstream media in Mauritius, clarifying that national security legislation is a necessary action for China to exercise its legal rights in its own territory. The Chinese government's determination to fully and accurately implement the "one country, two systems" principle is unwavering, and its determination to oppose any external forces' interference in Hong Kong affairs is unswerving. The full text is as follows:

On the 28th of May 2020, the third session of the 13th National People's Congress (NPC) approved the "Decision on Establishing and Improving the Legal System and Enforcement Mechanisms for the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region to Safeguard National Security". This is an absolutely normal legislation enforced by a sovereign country regarding its own national security. However, politicians and old colonialists in certain countries jumped inexplicably to intervene and made irresponsible remarks, which are incredible and unacceptable.

It is the responsibility of the NPC to make such legislative decisions based on the relevant provisions of the Constitution and the Basic Law.  This decision has a solid legal basis and the highest legal effect. 

National Security is the basic prerequisite for the survival and development of a country, and it is a matter of core interest. In any country, no matter if it is a unitary or a federal one, only the State national legislation has the legislative power on issues regarding national security. This is the basic theory and principle of national sovereignty and a common practice shared by all countries around the globe. After regaining sovereignty over Hong Kong in 1997, China set the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (Hong Kong SRA), implemented the "One Country Two Systems" principle and established the Hong Kong SRA's Basic Law. Article 23 of the Basic Law gives the Hong Kong SRA's government authority to legislate on its own in order to prohibit seven kinds of acts that can endanger national security. This is a special arrangement made pursuant to "One Country Two Systems" principle. It does not change the fact that only the Central Authority has legislative power over issues regarding national security. The NPC and its Standing Committee have authority and responsibility to fulfill their constitutional duty of safeguarding national security based on the actual situation and needs of the Hong Kong SRA. Such constitutional responsibility includes legislation on national security with regard to Hong Kong SRA. It also implies to continue to build relevant legal framework and enforcement mechanisms. According to Article 31 of the Constitution, "The systems to be instituted in special administrative regions shall be prescribed by law enacted by the National People's Congress in the light of the specific conditions." The decision of the NPC is a way to prescribe the system implemented in the HKSAR by law. Once adopted, this decision will have the supreme authority and legal effect.

The decision made by the NPC is timely, reasonable and necessary. The NPC is compelled to make such decision by the turn of events with its legislative power and responsibility.

Maintaining national security is an essential part of the "one country, two systems" principle. Without national security, there will be neither long-lasting peace and stability for China, nor long-term prosperity and stability for Hong Kong. The "one country, two systems" principle will also lose its foundation. Since Hong Kong's return to China, the Chinese government has firmly implemented the "One country, two systems" principle and the "Hong Kong people governing Hong Kong" policy. It has granted a high degree of autonomy to Hong Kong. This practice has achieved unprecedented success but has also faced new situations, new problems and new challenges.

Some illegal organizations and rioters in Hong Kong have been colluding with external forces for a long time to carry out acts of secession, subversion, infiltration and sabotage against China mainland's government. These activities have intensified lately, especially following last year's events over the amendment bill. Pro-independence elements and radical localists have run rampant. With the support and funding of foreign intelligence agencies and external anti-China forces, acts of violence and terrorism in Hong Kong have escalated, causing Hong Kong society to fall into chaos. External forces have got their hands deeper in Hong Kong affairs. The situation seriously threatens China's sovereignty, unity and territorial integrity. Government power and public security in Hong Kong SAR have been endangered and the bottom line of the "one country, two systems" principle has been seriously challenged. The basic rights of the Hong Kong residents (such as right of subsistence and right of development) as well as the economic interests of  the foreign investors have been infringed. It has exposed a notable legal gap and lack of work regarding safeguarding national security and ensuring citizens' peaceful life in the Hong Kong SRA.

For Hong Kong SAR, safeguarding national security is a compulsory question to be answered in order to maintain the  "one country, two systems" principle, not an optional one. Without national security, there will be no long-term stability and prosperity for Hong Kong. As National security in the Hong Kong SAR faces a real threat and gets seriously undermined, and it becomes clearer that the SAR government can hardly complete the required legislation by itself, the NPC has no choice but to come forward and act decisively at the State level to establish and improve a legal framework and enforcement mechanism for safeguarding national security in Hong Kong. Under the current circumstances, this must be done and done quickly to provide a fundamental guarantee for the long-term and smooth implementation of "one country, two systems".

The NPC decision is aimed at a narrow category of acts that seriously put national security at risk. It does not affect the high degree of autonomy of Hong Kong or the rights and freedoms of the Hong Kong residents. 

It is made precisely for Hong Kong residents to better enjoy and exercise their statutory rights and freedoms. The NPC decision stipulates what kind of actions gravely endangering national security, which includes secession of the country, subversion of State power, organizing and committing acts of terrorism, and foreign interference in the Hong Kong SAR affairs. It aims to deter and punish the few "Hong Kong pro-independence" elements and perpetrators of violence seeking to endanger national security. It will also protect the vast majority of Hong Kong citizens who abide by the law.

Since Hong Kong's return to China, its residents have enjoyed more extensive rights and freedoms than at any time during the colonial period, this is a universally recognized fact. Yet, rights and freedoms are not unlimited and people must respect laws when exercising them.

Maintaining Hong Kong's stability and prosperity is now the most common will of Hong Kong residents and their common interest. Since Hong Kong has won a major fight against COVID-19, the society is now desperately hoping that the city will be united again and will make a fresh start. This is the people will, and Hong Kong's strength to move forward. Without a harmonious and stable environment, how can people live in peace and enjoy their work? How can we protect the legal rights and freedoms of the overwhelming majority of the Hong Kong residents? Recently, many business leaders in Hong Kong publicly expressed their support to the NPC's decision, as they believe it will help to restore order in the investment and business environment as well as in the people's life. The priorities now are to keep jobs, to protect people's livelihoods, to boost economy, and to consolidate Hong Kong's position as an international financial center. The number of Hong Kong residents who sign the petition supporting the national security legislation has reached over 3 million as of the 2nd of June 2020, and this number keeps growing.     

The Chinese government remains firmly determined to implement accurately the "one country, two systems" principle. It is also firmly committed to oppose any foreign interferences in Hong Kong affairs.

Facts have proven and will continue to prove that the "one country, two systems" principle is a workable solution supported by people. Two principles guide the Chinese government's implementation of the "one country, two systems" principle. First, the policy will stay unchanged and be maintained unswervingly. Second, the policy will be entirety applied, without being deformed or distorted. Safeguarding national security serves not only the fundamental interests of Hong Kong's society but also helps to protect the lawful rights and interests of foreign institutions and personnel in Hong Kong.

No country in the world would ignore behaviors that endanger its national security. Many western countries including the US and the UK enacted countless laws to safeguard national security. Especially after the 9/11 attacks, the US enacted the "Patriot Act" and the "CLOUD Act"; numbers of cases have already been formed in judicial practice. We firmly oppose certain countries' "double standards" on the matter of safeguarding national security: on the one hand, they spare no efforts to create their own National security net, and on the other hand, they try by all means to drill holes on China's national security net.

Hong Kong is a special administration region of China, and is under the overall jurisdiction of the Chinese central government. The so called "Governor of Hong Kong" representing evil colonialism has long become history. The national security legislation in Hong Kong is purely the concern of China's internal affairs, and China does not allow any external interference. The Chinese government must not and will not allow Hong Kong to be a weak link of China's national security.

 

 

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