HK's national security legislation: 'just protecting ourselves'
The Point with Liu Xin
China is set to make Hong Kong national security legislation. Its national legislature adopted the decision to establish and improve the legal system and enforcement mechanisms for the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region to safeguard national security on Thursday.
After calling China's proposed national security legislation in Hong Kong a "death knell" for the city, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announced on Wednesday that the State Department no longer considers Hong Kong to have significant autonomy under Chinese rule, a move that could put U.S.-HK trade in question.
Maria Tam Wai-chu, deputy director of the Basic Legislation Committee under China's National People's Congress Standing Committee defends the national security legislation, suggesting that "It's not unknown that Mr. Pompeo has a biased view about China and about whatever China will do." Pompeo is making these comments as if Hong Kong were in his pocket, and Hong Kong must look after its own interests, and so does China, she goes on to say.
Tam has decades of experience in Hong Kong politics, serving as a member of the four different levels of representative councils, including the Executive Council and the Legislative Council. Refuting criticisms on the HKSAR government, Tam says the government takes care of its people, and treasures freedom and human rights. "We've been successful until this what we believe to be color revolution arose." She added.
In March 2016, after Mong Kok clashes happened on February 8, Maria Tam Wai-chu suggested that Hong Kong must enact legislation under Article 23 of the Basic Law as soon as possible. Article 23 requires Hong Kong to implement laws against treason, secession, and subversion. Tam believed that it would provide the HKSAR government with more law enforcement and judicial power to deal with potentially more dangerous incidents than Mong Kok clashes.
She told Liu Xin that Hong Kong's economy and social harmony could have been safeguarded if we had the Article 23 legislation to protect national security from day one of Hong Kong's return to Chinese jurisdiction.
After the violent protest last year, she says, it's very clear that we are facing imminent danger of terrorism and national security. And that is why the NPC sees fit at this plenary session to authorize the standing committee to enact that legislation. She's confident that the legislation will observe the basic human rights requirements and the international convention.
Tam admits that in the process of enacting the legislation, the HKSAR government still has a lot of persuasion, explanation, and assurance to do. However, she says, "as long as we keep to the basic legislation and not endanger our national security, we will still have a capitalist system in Hong Kong which will go way beyond 2047 that the city's "high degree of autonomy" is allowed.
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