File photo taken on June 29, 2020 shows a billboard promoting the Law of the People's Republic of China on Safeguarding National Security in Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) in the Central district in Hong Kong. (Photo/Xinhua)
The implementation of the National Security Law for Hong Kong marked a major turning point for Hong Kong as it has enabled the city to perform its constitutional duties in safeguarding national sovereignty, security and development interests, said Chief Executive Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor on Wednesday.
The remarks of Hong Kong's top leader came as the city marked the first anniversary of the National Security Law for Hong Kong, which came into effect on June 30, 2020.
Noting the positive outcomes that the law has brought to the city in the past year, Lam, speaking to local media, pointed out that the law better protected not only the basic rights and freedoms of residents, but also, in a milestone move, "one country, two systems".
Several officials shared similar sentiments.
Chief Secretary John Lee Ka-chiu said the enactment of the law filled the legal void in safeguarding national security in the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region since its return.
Lee expressed gratitude for the central government to take decisive action by adopting the national security law for Hong Kong when the city was facing an unprecedented crisis.
He said it is a shared responsibility for Hong Kong residents to safeguard national security and the SAR government will continue to engage the public and raise public awareness on national security and the rule of law.
Secretary for Justice Teresa Cheng Yeuk-wah said the National Security Law for Hong Kong plugged loopholes in safeguarding national security, which also helps to enhance residents' sense of responsibility to act in accordance with the law and not endanger national security.
Cheng said since the law was implemented, Hong Kong has returned to a safe, rational and tolerant society where residents can publicly express different opinions without worrying about personal safety.
Financial Secretary Paul Chan Mo-po said the law creates a safe and stable environment for the city to give full play to its economic strengths, adding that with international investors having more confidence in Hong Kong's business environment, Hong Kong can better benefit from the nation's overall development.