People cross a street decorated with the national flags and Hong Kong Special Administrative Region flags in Tsim Sha Tsui East, Hong Kong, on June 29, 2021. The flags were put up in celebration of the 24th anniversary of Hong Kong's return to the motherland. (EDMOND TANG / CHINA DAILY)
Hong Kong political leaders on Friday said the special administrative region needs to strengthen its national security protection and elect capable patriots to govern the city.
They made the remarks after attending a high-level seminar on the National Security Law for Hong Kong.
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During the online event, jointly held in Beijing, Hong Kong and Macao, Xia Baolong, vice-chairman of the National Committee of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference and the director of the Hong Kong and Macao Affairs Office of the State Council, delivered a speech on the effects of the National Security Law for Hong Kong in the year since its promulgation, and outlined the central government's expectations for the city's future work to safeguard national security.
Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor vowed to redouble efforts to strengthen the implementation of the National Security Law and improve related legal systems
During the seminar, Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor vowed to redouble efforts to strengthen the implementation of the National Security Law and improve related legal systems.
Lam said that the SAR will strictly carry out the prosecution and law enforcement of national security cases, actively prepare for the local legislation of Article 23 of the Basic Law of Hong Kong, strengthen regulations of schools and media to tackle national security risks, and boost education about the National Security Law.
To ensure a patriot-led administration, the government will also strictly vet candidates of the three upcoming elections, which will involve the city's chief executive, legislators, and Election Committee members, Lam added.
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Hong Kong cannot ignore any risks to national security and be the national security weak link – a lesson that the Hong Kong community learned from the social unrest in 2019, she said.
Organized by the Chinese Association of Hong Kong and Macao Studies, the seminar was attended by over 300 guests. They included senior officials from the central government and the two SARs, including Lam, Macao SAR Chief Executive Ho Iat-seng, and Luo Huining, the central government's top liaison official in Hong Kong. It also drew many experts from the political, legal and educational sectors.
Xia Baolong, vice-chairman of the National Committee of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference and director of the Hong Kong and Macao Affairs Office of the State Council, delivers a speech at a high-level symposium marking the first anniversary of the enactment of the Law on Safeguarding National Security in the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region, in Hong Kong, July 16, 2021. (PHOTO / HONG KONG AND MACAO AFFAIRS OFFICE OF THE STATE COUNCIL)
Guidance for patriots
Lau Siu-kai, vice-chairman of the Chinese Association of Hong Kong and Macao Studies, said Xia's speech stressed that it is expected that those in the SAR governing team should be capable not only of safeguarding national sovereignty and development interests, but also be able to fight anti-China troublemakers and interfering foreign forces.
The words in Xia's speech showed the central government's unwavering commitment to "one country, two systems" in Hong Kong, Lau said. With Hong Kong ruled by capable patriots and with malevolent forces out of the picture, the city will be well-positioned to become more prosperous by its further integration into the national development, he said.
Lawmaker Starry Lee Wai-king, chairwoman of the Democratic Alliance for the Betterment and Progress of Hong Kong, said Xia's expectations of Hong Kong administrators are "timely and proper", and offer guidance to the society's future operation.
Lee said her party will work hard to live up to Xia's expectations and motivate Hong Kong society to safeguard national security.
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Maria Tam Wai-chu, deputy director of the Committee for the Basic Law of the National People's Congress Standing Committee, highlighted the importance of "patriots administrating Hong Kong" when commenting on Xia's speech, saying that the love for the nation and the city should be a natural sentiment rooted in residents' hearts.
Tam said that the patriotic officials should be capable to solve deep-seated social problems and bear pressure resulting from the international competition, as Hong Kong residents expect positive changes in the city.
Tang Fei, principal of Hong Kong's Heung To Secondary School (Tseung Kwan O), called on educators to actively promote patriotism and national security education, investing more resources to related subjects such as Chinese history, and citizenship and social development.
He also called for more attention to help youngsters expand their scope and development path via setting sights on the nation's opportunities.
What they say
Anti-China disruptors must never be allowed to make their way into the Hong Kong SAR governance structure. This is an iron rule that also applies to the Macao SAR. Any possible loopholes in this regard should be plugged with strict scrutiny throughout the electoral process.
Xia Baolong, vice-chairman of the National Committee of the CPPCC, director of the Hong Kong and Macao Affairs Office of the State Council
The Hong Kong Special Administrative Region cannot ignore any risks of national security and be the weak link of national security – a lesson that the Hong Kong community learned from the social unrest in 2019.
Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor, chief executive of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region
With the firm and full implementation of "patriots administering Hong Kong", anti-China disruptors in Hong Kong will not be able to exert influence on the city, and Hong Kong will have a bright future through integrating into the national development.
Lau Siu-kai, vice-chairman of the Chinese Association of Hong Kong and Macao Studies
The implementation of the National Security Law for Hong Kong has provided an important reference for Macao to better its legal system in safeguarding national security.
Wong Sio-chak, secretary for security, Macao SAR
The effects of the implementation of the National Security Law are stark in the sense that it has fired a warning shot to all those attempting, in whatever means, acts that constitute offenses under the security law: Be prepared to face the legal consequences.
Raymond Li Kin-ho, a Hong Kong solicitor and chairman of Y Legalites