National flags and Hong Kong Special Administrative Region flags adorn a street in Tsim Sha Tsui to celebrate the 25th anniversary of Hong Kong's return to the motherland on June 17, 2022. (CALVIN NG / CHINA DAILY)
Central government departments overseeing Hong Kong affairs on Monday stressed the importance of ensuring the comprehensive and accurate implementation of the National Security Law for Hong Kong as they pledged their support for Chief Executive John Lee Ka-chiu’s decision to seek interpretation from the nation’s top legislature on the law.
A spokesperson for the Hong Kong and Macao Affairs Office of the State Council said Chief Executive John Lee’s decision fully embodies his sense of responsibility as the leader of the HKSAR. The spokesperson noted that what Jimmy Lai and his cohorts did during the 2019 social unrest posed a threat to Hong Kong’s legal system and undermined national sovereignty and security
In separate statements, they pointed out that the Hong Kong top court’s judgment, which allowed British barrister Timothy Owen to represent Jimmy Lai Chee-ying in Lai’s national security trial, contradicts the legislative intent of the national security law and opens the door to foreign intervention.
A spokesperson for the Hong Kong and Macao Affairs Office of the State Council said Lee’s decision fully embodies his sense of responsibility as the leader of the HKSAR. The spokesperson noted that what Lai and his cohorts did during the 2019 social unrest posed a threat to Hong Kong’s legal system and undermined national sovereignty and security.
The various Hong Kong courts’ rulings to permit Owen to handle Lai’s national security case have contradicted the SAR Judiciary’s duty to safeguard national security under the national security law, and have also breached the original intent and legal logic of the law, said the spokesperson.
Some judges simply applied the principles and procedures of hearing general cases and so-called “international standards” to restrain the implementation of the national security law, and have shown a disregard for the authority and overriding nature of the law. Such moves present challenges concerning the fairness of trials in such cases and to the accurate implementation of the NSL. They also pose a grave risk to the HKSAR’s mission to safeguard national security, said the office.
This 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. (WANG SHEN / XINHUA)
A spokesperson for the Liaison Office of the Central People’s Government in the HKSAR said that by allowing foreign barristers who are not qualified to practice generally in HK to engage in national security cases concerning alleged collusion with foreign forces opens the door to foreign intervention
Also pledging support for Lee’s decision, a spokesperson for the Liaison Office of the Central People’s Government in the HKSAR said that by allowing foreign barristers who are not qualified to practice generally in Hong Kong to engage in national security cases concerning alleged collusion with foreign forces opens the door to foreign intervention and impairs the reputation of local law practitioners and Hong Kong’s rule of law.
The city’s Judiciary also has the statutory responsibility to effectively prevent, stop and punish acts endangering national security, the spokesperson added. The office firmly believes that with the central government’s guidance and the leadership of the SAR’s administration, legislative and judicial branches can implement the “one country, two systems” principle and the NSL for Hong Kong in a comprehensive and accurate manner.
The Office for Safeguarding National Security of the Central People’s Government of the People’s Republic of China in the HKSAR vowed to resolutely guard against national security risks in accordance with the National Security Law for Hong Kong.
Effectively safeguarding national security is not only the responsibility of the judicial and law enforcement agencies of the SAR, but also serves as the basis for Hong Kong people’s confidence in the city, the office stressed.
The office is determined and capable of fulfilling its obligations to national security protection, and to work with other related organizations to propel the steady and sustained implementation of “one country, two systems”.
Xi Tianqi contributed to the story.
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