Published: May 22, 2020 10:56:35 pm
China has sought the support and understanding of India and other countries for its controversial decision to impose a new national security law on Hong Kong, saying the new legislation is aimed at containing the “secessionist” forces in the former British colony who have posed a “grave threat” to the country’s national security and sovereignty.
In an apparent move to blunt any international backlash, China has sent demarches to India and several other countries explaining the reason for the new draft legislation with a reminder that “upholding national security” in Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) is “purely China’s internal affair and no foreign country may interfere in this matter.”
China on Friday introduced the draft of a controversial national security law in Hong Kong in its parliament to tighten Beijing’s control over the former British colony, in what could be the biggest blow to the territory’s autonomy and personal freedoms since 1997 when it came under Chinese rule.
Hong Kong is a Special Administrative Region (SAR) of China. It has observed a “one country, two systems” policy since Britain returned sovereignty to China on July 1, 1997, which has allowed it certain freedoms the rest of China does not have.
Your country maintains close economic and trade cooperation as well as people-to-people exchanges with Hong Kong.
Hong Kong’s prosperity and long-term stability is in line with the common interests of the whole international community, including your country, as well as protection of your country’s legitimate interests in Hong Kong. We hope that your government will understand and support China’s relevant practices,” it said.
The demarche said since the return of Hong Kong to China 23 years ago, “the Hong Kong SAR has not acted out its constitutional duty for national security in line with China’s Constitution and the Basic Law”.
There is a clear loophole in Hong Kong’s legal system and an absence of a mechanism of enforcement. The opposition in Hong Kong have long colluded with external forces to carry out acts of secession, subversion, infiltration and destruction against the Chinese mainland,” it said.
The turbulence over the amendment bill in Hong Kong last June has greatly undermined the SAR’s rule of law and stability and battered its economy and people’s livelihoods,” it said, referring to the agitation by millions of local residents since last year, demanding more autonomy and less interference from China.
“These activities have not only caused enormous damage to the security of the SAR authorities and public order, mounted a serious challenge to the principle of “one country, two systems”, but also posed a grave threat to China’s national security, sovereignty, unity and territorial integrity,” it said.
Hong Kong has become a “notable source of risk” to China’s national security, it said. The Central Government of China shoulders the primary and ultimate responsibility for upholding national security, it said, adding that Beijing “cannot just sit by and do nothing to the above-mentioned activities”.
To establish and improve the legal system and enforcement mechanism for upholding national security in the Hong Kong SAR is something that must be done— and done without delay,” it said.
The NPC is the highest organ of State power in China, it said, adding that “the Constitution and the Basic Law gives it power and responsibility to deliberate on legislation for upholding national security in the Hong Kong SAR”.
“Hong Kong independence elements, separatists and those organising and joining terrorist activities only form a tiny minority in Hong Kong. It is these people that must be punished in accordance with law,” it said.
By doing so, we can protect the vast majority of the Hong Kong people who abide by law. This meets the fundamental interests of Hong Kong society,” it said.
“Hong Kong is a Special Administrative Region of China. The legislation for upholding national security in the Hong Kong SAR is purely China’s internal affair. No foreign country may interfere in this matter,” it said.
The bill which is set to be approved by the NPC, regarded as the rubber-stamp parliament for its routine approval of proposals by the ruling Communist Party of China (CPC), comes in the backdrop of relentless agitation by the local Hong Kong people demanding political and administrative autonomy agreed by China when it took possession of the former British colony in 1997.
While the seven-month-long agitation last year in which millions took part subsided during the coronavirus crisis from January to April, protestors returned to streets this month, with the pro-autonomy and pro-freedom legislators grappling with the security officials in local legislature protesting against the curbs.
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