Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor (third right) leads in officiating at the opening ceremony of the National Security Education Day at the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre on Thursday. (EDMOND TANG/CHINA DAILY)
SAR leader emphasizes fundamental importance of administration by patriots
Ensuring Hong Kong is administered by patriots is key to safeguarding political security, which is an essential element of national security, local political leaders stressed during this year's National Security Education Day, the first in the city since the implementation of the National Security Law.
Speaking at the opening ceremony of the education day on Thursday, Chief Executive Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor said political security and national security are inseparable. In order to safeguard national security, administrative power must be firmly kept in the hands of patriots.
To protect political security, the Standing Committee of the 13th National People's Congress－the nation's top legislature－initiated the revamp of Hong Kong's electoral system in March and amended Annex I and Annex II of the Basic Law to advance the reform. A bill put forward by the Hong Kong government to revise local electoral laws passed its first reading on Wednesday.
Meanwhile, the city's leader also vowed to put more efforts into raising local residents' awareness of national security and ensuring that public officials perform their duties well in terms of protecting national security, in a bid to comprehensively perform the city's constitutional duty in safeguarding national security.
In a speech at the ceremony, Luo Huining, the central government's top liaison official in the Hong Kong SAR, stressed that to protect national security, it is imperative to revamp the city's electoral system to ensure the city is administered by patriots.
"When it comes to matters of principle such as national sovereignty and security as well as the fundamental well-being of Hong Kong residents, true patriots should step up to the plate to meet the challenge in the administration of Hong Kong," said Luo, who is also the national security adviser to the Hong Kong SAR.
The liaison chief also said that the central authorities will lend full support to the Hong Kong SAR in cracking down on criminal activities endangering national security and to individuals and institutions that have been subjected to threats and sanctions for safeguarding national security.
"Any act endangering national security as well as Hong Kong's prosperity and stability will be dealt with swiftly and effectively. Any attempt by foreign countries and external forces to flagrantly interfere in the affairs of Hong Kong, and to exploit Hong Kong as a pawn, will be met with impactful countermeasures," he said.
Zheng Yanxiong, director of the Office for Safeguarding National Security of the Central People's Government in the Hong Kong SAR, said at the event that the city has to implement the principle of "patriots administering Hong Kong" to ensure the sustained and sound implementation of "one country, two systems".
Given that, he said the city's electoral reform is an important part of the package of decisions to guarantee the implementation of the principle and can ensure the city's political stability.
A range of activities took place across Hong Kong in schools and communities to raise awareness of national security. After participating in a national flag-raising ceremony at a primary school, Secretary for Education Kevin Yeung Yun-hung said the city's Education Bureau would give all-around support to schools in conducting national security education.
The academies of five of the Hong Kong Disciplined Services－which include the city's police, fire, correctional services, customs and immigration departments－were also open to the public on Thursday, with exhibitions and performances related to their work on safeguarding national security.
For the first time, members of the Hong Kong Police College publicly performed marching in the style of China's armed forces.
After watching anti-terrorism exercises by the Special Duties Unit, a 19-year-old student surnamed Lai told reporters that he is more determined to join the Hong Kong Police Force in order to contribute to the safeguarding of national security.