Published: 17:59, April 13, 2024
Safeguarding national security law 'makes HK an impregnable fortress’
By Shadow Li in Hong Kong
Hong Kong Chief Executive John Lee Ka-chiu speaks at the National Security Education Day cum Hong Kong Police Force 180th Anniversary Police College Open Day at the Hong Kong Police College in the city, April 13, 2024. (PHOTO / HKSAR GOVT)

Enacting the Safeguarding National Security Ordinance in Hong Kong has made the special administrative region an “impregnable fortress” in protecting national sovereignty, safety and development interests, and is a major achievement in fulfilling the city’s constitutional duty.

The remarks were made by Zheng Yanxiong, director of the Liaison Office of the Central People’s Government in the HKSAR, at an open day on Saturday at the police college in Wong Chuk Hang, Hong Kong Island, as part of activities to mark the nation’s ninth National Security Education Day which falls on April 15. The event also coincides with the Hong Kong Police Force’s 180th anniversary.

The enactment of the ordinance last month has also put in action “a holistic approach to national security” – a concept brought forward by President Xi Jinping in 2014 – as Hong Kong’s rule of law enters a new chapter of effectiveness and functionality, he said.

In the past decade, the concept has systematically rebuilt the understanding of national security and made significant progress in promoting safeguarding national security, and the SAR’s transformation from chaos to order and prosperity is an important part of this, Zheng said.

Zheng Yanxiong said it’s more important to focus on enforcing the law, which is the key to ensuring the effectiveness and authority of the legislation

Hong Kong promulgated its local national security law on March 23 this year, as required under Article 23 of the Basic Law, to prohibit five types of crimes that endanger national security, including espionage, theft of State secrets and treason. The new ordinance is in addition to the National Security Law for Hong Kong that was enacted in 2020 to protect national security.

Zheng said it’s more important to focus on enforcing the law, which is the key to ensuring the effectiveness and authority of the legislation.

Describing Hong Kong police as the “guardian of the city and heroes of the country and the people”, he said the police force is a professional world-acclaimed disciplined force, and urged it to stay true to its aspiration to combat crimes, safeguard national security, uphold the sustained and steady implementation of “one country, two systems” and contribute to building Hong Kong into a city of rule of law and charm.

The liaison office chief also called on residents to uphold national security and jointly safeguard the SAR and promote the city’s development.

Speaking at the same ceremony, Chief Executive John Lee Ka-chiu said only when the nation is secured, can Hong Kong be out of harm’s way and our home can be safe.

Hong Kong Chief Executive John Lee Ka-chiu (sixth left, on the dais), Zheng Yanxiong (fifth left, on the dais), director of the Liaison Office of the Central People’s Government in the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region, join other officials and guests to launch a campaign for the National Security Education Day, during the Hong Kong Police College Open Day, on April 13, 2024, in Wong Chuk Hang, Hong Kong. (EDMOND TANG / CHINA DAILY)

He said everyone has a duty to safeguard national security and the annual National Security Education Day is a reminder and good chance to raise the public’s awareness of national security, which is also part of the mainstream values Hong Kong is trying to promote. Such values, centering on patriotism and love for Hong Kong, must be compatible with the “one country, two systems” principle.  

This year’s National Security Education Day has a special meaning as it marks the 10th anniversary of “a holistic approach to national security” and the first such event after the city had completed its local legislation of Article 23 of the Basic Law, Lee said.

By enacting the Safeguarding National Security Ordinance, Hong Kong has fulfilled its constitutional duty under the Basic Law – 26 years after the city’s return to the motherland. This has strengthened Hong Kong’s institutional safeguards in protecting national security and allowing the city to concentrate on economic development, improving livelihood, and maintaining stability and prosperity, he said.

Lee praised the police force for its services to Hong Kong since its establishment in 1844, overcoming daunting tasks one after another, including major disasters, social unrest, and the COVID-19 pandemic.

A counter-terrorism demonstration is underway, during the Hong Kong Police College Open Day, on April 13, 2024, in Wong Chuk Hang, Hong Kong. (EDMOND TANG / CHINA DAILY)

Commissioner of Police Raymond Siu Chak-yee pledged that the force will continue to steadfastly safeguard national security

He credited much of Hong Kong’s success as one of the safest cities worldwide to the police force and thanked the force for its contributions to the city’s stability and prosperity.

Commissioner of Police Raymond Siu Chak-yee pledged that the force will continue to steadfastly safeguard national security.

He said that apart from the police force’s endeavors, Hong Kong is able to maintain a stable and safe order, thanks to the efforts by various stakeholders in the city, and the force will continue to perform its duty to protect Hong Kong as it advances from order to prosperity.

More than 2,500 residents attended various activities at the police open day, including hawked games, to learn about the force’s operations and gather information on national security. Other activities included performances by a police band and the police dog unit, as well as anti-terrorism drills involving helicopters, drones and armed vehicles.

Other disciplined forces also held an open day to mark National Security Education Day on Saturday, while others plan to host similar events on Sunday. The Hong Kong Customs and Excise Department and the Fire Services Department will host an open day at their training institutions on Sunday.

Hong Kong will stage a National Security Education Day opening ceremony and seminar, themed “The 10th Anniversary of a Holistic Approach to National Security”, at the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre on Monday.