Central government authorities support and welcome passage of Article 23 legislation in Hong Kong

2024-03-20 09:07:05Global Times Editor : Li Yan ECNS App Download

Following the passing of the Article 23 legislation at the Legislative Council (LegCo) of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) on Tuesday, some central government authorities on Hong Kong affairs voiced their support and warm congratulations on the passage of the law with a unanimous vote, a milestone in the One Country, Two Systems practice.

Protecting national security means safeguarding One Country, Two Systems, which also means ensuring the prosperity and stability of Hong Kong, safeguarding the interests of foreign investors, preserving the democratic freedoms of Hong Kong, and protecting the human rights and fundamental well-being of all residents in Hong Kong, the Hong Kong and Macao Affairs Office of the State Council said in a statement on Tuesday.

The formulation and implementation of Hong Kong's national security ordinance will undoubtedly further solidify the secure foundation for the city's development, promoting a faster transition from governance to prosperity, the office said.

Hong Kong lawmakers unanimously passed the highly anticipated Article 23 legislation on Tuesday following marathon sessions during which all lawmakers expressed strong support for the law. The legislation, entitled as Safeguarding National Security Ordinance, will be gazetted on Saturday and will take effect from then.

The ordinance is organically linked with the already implemented National Security Law (NSL) for Hong Kong, filling in the gaps in the HKSAR's system and mechanisms for maintaining national security, together forming a solid barrier for the protection of national security in the region, the office said.

The ordinance targets a very small number of individuals who commit crimes endangering national security, while protecting the human rights and freedoms of the vast majority, as its content is very clear, with precise definitions of the elements of crimes, and clear distinctions between what constitutes a crime and what does not, the office noted.

It also stipulates the principles of legality of crimes and punishments, presumption of innocence, and the rights of the accused, defendants, and other participants in legal proceedings to defend themselves and other procedural rights, as well as the principle that laws are not retroactive.

The ordinance also sets out specific exemptions and defenses for certain crimes. Law enforcement agencies must exercise their powers in accordance with legal conditions, follow strict procedures, and be subject to judicial oversight. These provisions fully protect the various rights and freedoms legally entitled to the public, the office said.

The Legislative Affairs Commission of the National People's Congress Standing Committee also said on Tuesday the passage of the Article 23 legislation is a significant action taken by the HKSAR to fulfill its constitutional responsibilities for maintaining national security.

It is a tangible outcome of fully implementing the duties defined by the national security law, and it is worthy of full recognition.

The commission said the legislative process of the law went through extensive and in-depth public consultation across Hong Kong society and serious and comprehensive deliberation by the LegCo.

After amendments and improvements, the draft ordinance received unanimous support and was passed by the LegCo, reflecting the common will of the government bodies of the HKSAR, all sectors of society, and the people of Hong Kong to firmly uphold national sovereignty, security, and development interests, and to steadfastly maintain the constitutional order and the rule of law as determined by the Constitution and the Basic Law of Hong Kong, the commission said, noting that the law enjoys broad social support.

Security is the prerequisite for development, and the rule of law is the cornerstone of prosperity. The smooth passage of the Article 23 legislation will benefit the overall institutional effectiveness of the HKSAR's legal system, the Commissioner's Office of China's Foreign Ministry in the HKSAR said on Tuesday.

It will further help to develop a safe, convenient, and efficient business environment, enhance the confidence of local and overseas investors, and ensure high-quality development with high-level security, ensuring long-term governance, safety, and prosperous stability in Hong Kong, the commissioner's office said.

Hong Kong will continue to be a fertile ground for global businesses and talents to invest and thrive, a haven for pursuing and building dreams, the authority noted.

The commissioner's office also pointed out that those with ulterior motives who smear the Article 23 legislation, slander, and attempt to undermine One Country, Two Systems cannot sway the clear-sighted citizens of Hong Kong, cannot deceive the discerning individuals within the international community, and cannot stop the historical trend of Hong Kong's progress from governance to prosperity.

The law passed by the LegCo on Tuesday is a law that aligns with public opinion, ensures security, and protects development. It is also a law that the vast majority of patriotic residents of Hong Kong have been looking forward to for over 26 years, the central government's liaison office in Hong Kong said.

During the public consultation phase, over 98.6 percent of the feedback supported the legislation, the liaison office said.

Recalling the social turmoil in 2019, with rampant "Hong Kong independence" advocacy, widespread violence, and "mutual destruction" tactics leading to economic downturn and social unrest, how could one speak of developing the economy or ensuring people's livelihoods? The liaison office asked.

The NSL for Hong Kong has laid a solid foundation for Hong Kong's transition from chaos to governance and from governance to prosperity, but the national security challenges Hong Kong faces remain complex and severe, the office said.

The systems and mechanisms to complement the implementation of the NSL for Hong Kong need further strengthening. Local legislation under Article 23 of the Basic Law is imperative, it said.

The legislative process of the ordinance is rigorous and standardized, with scientific and reasonable content. The elements of crimes are clearly defined, and the penalties are appropriately severe or lenient, balancing the maintenance of national security with the protection of rights, freedoms, and economic development, in line with international law and common international practices, the Office for Safeguarding National Security of the central government in Hong Kong said on Tuesday.

The ordinance complements and is interconnected with the NSL for Hong Kong, effectively plugging legal loopholes in the city's national security legislation and constructing a solid barrier for the protection of national security, the office said.

Several business chambers in Hong Kong also welcomed the passage of the law. The Hong Kong General Chamber of Commerce said the passage of the law by the LegCo on Tuesday provides a guarantee for Hong Kong's long-term development and stability.

The chamber is pleased to see that the government is actively responding to the concerns of different stakeholders in society, incorporating many suggestions collected during the consultation period into the ordinance draft.

It said it also hopes the government will continue to improve public awareness of the ordinance and strengthen educational efforts to clarify any misunderstandings or concerns.

Related news


Most popular in 24h

MoreTop news


Back to top About Us | Jobs | Contact Us | Privacy Policy
Copyright ©1999-2024 All rights reserved.
Reproduction in whole or in part without permission is prohibited.
[网上传播视听节目许可证(0106168)] [京ICP证040655号]
[京公网安备 11010202009201号] [京ICP备05004340号-1]