National security legislation for HK is ‘highly necessary’: NPC spokesman

2020-05-22 03:46     Comment:0

BEIJING – It is “highly necessary” for the National People’s Congress (NPC) to improve the legal system and enforcement mechanisms of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) in order to safeguard national security, Zhang Yesui, spokesman for the third session of the 13th NPC, said in Beijing yesterday.

Addressing a press conference in the capital on the eve of the opening meeting of the third session, Zhang said that deliberation of a draft resolution on national security legislation for Hong Kong has been included in the agenda of the session, which beings today.

Zhang said that safeguarding national security “serves the fundamental interests” of all Chinese including Hong Kong compatriots.

“The HKSAR is an inseparable part of the People’s Republic of China, and the NPC is the highest organ of state power,” Zhang noted.

Zhang also said that in light of “the new circumstances and need, the NPC is exercising the power enshrined in the Constitution to establish and improve at the state level the legal system and enforcement mechanisms for the HKSAR to safeguard national security, and to uphold and improve the institutional framework of “One Country, Two Systems”.

According to Zhang, the NPC Standing Committee will put forward proposals relating to the “setting up of comprehensive legal and enforcement mechanisms, in order to uphold national security” at the upcoming session.

By putting the matter to the NPC in a resolution, Beijing would be introducing its own national security legislation for Hong Kong and doing away with the need for Hong Kong to enact new laws via Basic Law Article 23.

Analysts said last night the move appeared to signal that the central government has either lost patience with Hong Kong which has failed to bring in such legislation over the 23 years since its return from British to Chinese rule, or it believes this might not be possible for some time considering that anti-government candidates in September’s Legislative Council (LegCo) election might do well.

Observers said the bill was expected to be put to a vote next week.

Hong Kong NPC deputy Maggie Chan Man-ki said earlier this week she planned to propose the idea of bypassing LegCo by making use of Hong Kong Basic Law Article 18 which allows the NPC Standing Committee to insert national laws into Annex 3 of the Basic Law.

Laws included in the annex could then be applied in Hong Kong via promulgation or local legislation, legal experts have pointed out.

According to Hong Kong media reports, the legislation would outlaw secession and foreign interference in Hong Kong

Last month, Central People’s Government Liaison Office in Hong Kong Director Luo Huining said Hong Kong needed to bring in new national security legislation “as soon as possible”, to combat radical violence, foreign interference and pro-independence forces. He said the ongoing anti-government protest movement had dealt a major blow to the rule of law, and had been orchestrated by pro-independence and radical violent forces and seriously threatened national security.

– Xinhua, RTHK, MPD

Zhang Yesui, spokesman for the third session of the 13th National People’s Congress (NPC), speaks during a press conference via video link in Beijing yesterday. – Xinhua 

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