Tung Chee-hwa, vice chairman of the National Committee of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference, said online Monday that the national security legislation for the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) only targets heavy crimes and illegal activities, therefore people of Hong Kong can rest reassured.
Tung pointed out that there are rumors and false claims about how Hong Kong will lose all "democracy and freedom" and its "status as an international financial center," and even about the death of "one country, two systems" once a national security law is enacted in Hong Kong. These claims are baseless and unfounded rumors intending to invoke panic and fear, he said.
Tung reiterated that the important principles of establishing and improving the legal system and enforcement mechanisms for the HKSAR are clearly stated, including upholding "one country, two systems" and safeguarding the legal rights of Hong Kong residents.
Tung emphasized that over the past 20-plus years since Hong Kong's return to the motherland, Hong Kong's way of life and its capitalist system have remained unchanged, with more freedoms than at any time in history. Public polls have shown that "one country, two systems" is widely supported by people of different social backgrounds and political views, he said.
The national security legislation has undergone meticulous review and careful consideration, and it will not affect the freedoms of speech, press, and other freedoms guaranteed by the Basic Law, said Tung.
Tung said the national security legislation for Hong Kong is necessary in three aspects.
Firstly, the national security legislation is to safeguard national security. Tung said since the turmoil arising from the proposed amendments to the fugitive offenders ordinance began last year, some in Hong Kong have openly called for "independence" and "self-determination," colluded with foreign forces, and begged for foreign interference in the affairs of Hong Kong.
What's more worrying is how some anti-China forces in the West have distorted the truth and openly supported anti-China radicals in Hong Kong, he said.
Those people have only one real purpose: to contain China's peaceful rise, said Tung.
"We can no longer tolerate how foreign forces have conspired with radicals in Hong Kong to put at risk China's sovereignty, its authority and the legitimacy of the Hong Kong Basic Law. Hong Kong has a constitutional duty to safeguard national security," Tung said.
Secondly, the national security legislation is to ensure the stability of Hong Kong. Tung said for more than 20 years since Hong Kong's return to the motherland, the legislation for Article 23 of the Basic Law has remained incomplete, making Hong Kong a weak link in national security and an easy target for hostile foreign opportunists to disrupt public order and jeopardize social and economic interests.
In particular, the endless demonstrations and protests have led to a chaotic disruption in social order, a decline in consumption, a depressed market, and a recession, he said.
Against this backdrop, politicians of the opposition continue to condone and prescribe illegal behavior, and even threaten to filibuster any government proposals and motions for public funding if their demands are not met, Tung said.
"Are we willing to see a non-functioning legislature, a government that cannot govern effectively, a disorderly society, and a disintegrating Hong Kong that many people have once worked so hard to build up brick by brick?" he asked.
Thirdly, the national security legislation is to ensure Hong Kong's peaceful way of life. Tung pointed out that in the past year, endless violent and illegal activities in the social unrest have made people live in fear, anxiety and frustration.
For instance, on weekends, people have had to monitor traffic conditions and find out if roads are blocked or on fire, he said, adding that in public, people have had to speak carefully not to reveal their political stance.
"I believe Hong Kong people are fed up," he said.
At present, Hong Kong needs to come together with all the hearts and minds, instead of invoking fear, said Tung. The national security legislation for Hong Kong can effectively prevent, stop and penalize disruptive activities and help restore social order in Hong Kong, he added.
"Only under a peaceful, stable and socially harmonious society can we live and work productively and be free to pursue our dreams in life!" said Tung.
Tung pointed out that ensuring national security is not only a constitutional duty of the HKSAR government but also a civic duty of the Hong Kong community to commit to the responsibility, support the initiative and publicize its importance.
Tung called for support for the proposal of national security legislation in Hong Kong, promote national security through education, and have full confidence in "one country, two systems."
"China values and cherishes Hong Kong. Now is time for us to demonstrate our will to uphold 'one country, two systems," protect our national sovereignty, and contribute to Hong Kong's long-term stability and prosperity. I'm sure people who love Hong Kong will live up to the expectation!" Tung said.