Officials on Wednesday stressed the significance of enhancing the national security education in China's Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) with more measures on the horizon to raise people's awareness on the occasion of the fifth National Security Education Day.
Rather than something far away from daily life, national security actually concerns everyone and covers a wide range of areas from economy to culture and cyberspace, Director of the Liaison Office of the Central People's Government in HKSAR Luo Huining said.
For instance, the ongoing battle against the COVID-19 outbreak is significant to national security and related to every family in Hong Kong, Luo said in a video speech published on a new website designed to promote the national security education.
Put online on Wednesday morning, the website, nsedhk.com, vividly tells the significance of national security with text introduction, online galleries, video speeches and a Q&A game. An essay competition also started on the website, in which contestants write about their understanding of national security and peace in Hong Kong amid the pandemic.
The website, officially named National Security Education Day 2020, was launched by the Hong Kong Policy Research Institute, with the HKSAR government and the liaison office as support organizers.
The launch of the website is the latest move of the HKSAR government to bolster the national security education, nearly 23 years after Hong Kong's return to the motherland, as appeals have been on the rise for more efforts to accomplish the necessary and urgent task.
Hong Kong residents' consciousness of the state is still inadequate and the HKSAR, as an open, free and internationalized place with a high degree of autonomy, is the country's weak point in national security, Leung Chun-ying, vice chairman of the National Committee of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC) , said.
The weakness became noticeable during the months-long social unrest since mid-2019.
During the dark time generally spanning from last June to the beginning of this year, protests triggered by political disputes repeatedly turned into shocking street violence from vandalism to arson and even murder in Hong Kong where blatant lawbreaking activities were common.
Hong Kong, one of the safest places in the world with a crime rate falling 12 years in a row since 2007, was plunged into an abyss of chaos.
Violent crimes seriously challenged the rule of law and damaged the personal safety of residents, including "near-terrorism" acts from making bombs to assaulting police officers, which, if not effectively contained, will likely pose a threat to national security, HKSAR Chief Executive Carrie Lam said.
The conspiracy between external forces and local politicians was found behind the unrest, posing an even greater threat to the "one country, two systems" principle and national security. Hong Kong's opposition figures have become a pawn used by some Western countries in their rivalries with China, Leung said explicitly.
Tung Chee-hwa, also vice chairman of the CPPCC National Committee, said the unrest since last year and the COVID-19 outbreak underline the significance and urgency of carrying out national security education in Hong Kong.
Officials have pointed out that safeguarding national security is not only the constitutional responsibility of Hong Kong, an inseparable part of China, but in line with the interests of Hong Kong residents.
The motherland is the biggest source of strength for Hong Kong to resist storms and overcome challenges, and to safeguard national security is to protect Hong Kong's fundamental interests, Luo said.
Riding on the steady development of the mainland, Hong Kong has developed into a global financial, transportation and commercial hub over the past decades, attracting numerous foreign businesses and investors. In particular, Hong Kong has taken shape as the largest offshore business center for the Chinese currency renminbi and as a world-class fundraising market for global companies.
Efforts should be made to establish and improve legal systems and enforcement mechanisms in safeguarding national security in Hong Kong, Luo said, stressing zero tolerance of any acts that threaten the rule of law, the cornerstone of Hong Kong's prosperity.
Noting the significance of education in promoting public awareness of national security, Lam called for joint efforts by the HKSAR government, schools and various organizations to encourage Hong Kong residents to better understand the importance of national security.
Lam also mentioned national security in public health and finance. "In the face of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the HKSAR government will not slacken its effort and will continue to work together with the public to fight the outbreak."
April 15 is designated as the day for raising awareness of national security among the public after the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress passed the National Security Law in 2015.