Hong Kong Chief Executive John Lee Ka-chiu enters the Legislative Council chamber for the first Interactive and Consultative Question and Answer Session with the Chief Executive program on May 18, 2023. (ANDY CHONG/ CHINA DAILY)
HONG KONG – Chief Executive John Lee Ka-chiu on Thursday strongly condemned politicians in Western countries for their repeated attempts to undermine the rule of law in the city by pressuring Hong Kong judges who are committed to performing their duties.
He made the remarks at the first “interactive and consultative question-and-answer session” held in the Legislative Council. The sessions have been launched to boost communication between the chief executive and lawmakers and to enhance the values of “patriots administering Hong Kong”.
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Those who seek to betray the country and run against the interests of Hong Kong should not be allowed to enter the governing team, said Lee
Speaking to a roomful of lawmakers, the Hong Kong leader highlighted the repeated attempts by Western countries to smear Hong Kong over different issues, and said that such actions demonstrate that foreign powers have not ceased their interference in the city’s affairs.
Hence, those who seek to betray the country and run against the interests of Hong Kong should not be allowed to enter the governing team, he said.
Stressing that the need to enhance district administration is imperative, he said the district councils have been used as platforms to advocate separatism and violence in the past, adding that such acts should not be permitted.
The CE also emphasized that the SAR government has a constitutional obligation to enact legislation on Article 23 of the Basic Law, which will strengthen the legal regime for safeguarding national security.
Asked how to balance security and freedom by a lawmaker, he stated that the Basic Law fully protects all the liberties of residents, and “not a single word has been changed” since its promulgation.
The Hong Kong courts rely on facts and evidence and apply the law fairly in reaching their judgments, he continued.
The National Security Law for Hong Kong prohibits only four offenses, which is relatively restrained compared to the national security laws of other jurisdictions, said Lee.
Regarding concerns about the removal of books that may include sensitive content from public libraries, he said that the books in libraries are those recommended by the government to residents, and the government will not recommend illegal books or books written with “bad intentions”.
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He stressed that it is the government’s responsibility to ensure that the values promoted in recommended books are appropriate for society. Residents may still access these books through other means, Lee said.
Chief Executive John Lee Ka-chiu attends the first Legislative Council Interactive and Consultative Question and Answer Session with the Chief Executive, May 18, 2023. (ANDY CHONG/ CHINA DAILY)
'Patriots administering HK' values
After inaugurating the new “interactive and consultative question-and-answer session”, the CE said he has given much thought to the principle of "patriots administering Hong Kong” and how it should be implemented to the fullest.
To fully utilize the power of "patriots administering Hong Kong”, the SAR government and the legislature need to be more united in strengthening consensus, aligning their goals, and adopting a higher vision of major national and international affairs, said Lee
“The fundamental line for ‘patriots administering Hong Kong’ is preventing agents of foreign forces to enter the legislature and sabotage the implementation of ‘one country, two systems’,” he said.
To fully utilize the power of "patriots administering Hong Kong”, the SAR government and the legislature need to be more united in strengthening consensus, aligning their goals, and adopting a higher vision of major national and international affairs, said Lee.
The Q&A session is the Lee administration’s move to build consensus with the legislative branch following the antechamber exchanges held between government officials and lawmakers on various topics since July last year.
The first question-and-answer session is set to center on the 20th National Congress of the Communist Party of China and the spirit of the nation’s two sessions, the CE said, adding that the report to the 20th CPC National Congress gave him a lot of insights into governing the city.
The report to the 20th CPC National Congress sets the key principle for the full implementation of ‘one country, two systems’ in the new era, and provides clear direction to SAR government in administering Hong Kong, Lee said.
The Q&A session will be divided into two parts: “security and stability” and “development and happiness”, based on the relevant chapters of the report, Lee added.