True facts about nine fallacies regarding national security legislation in Hong Kong
Since the National People’s Congress (NPC), China’s top legislature, decided to draft national security laws for China’s Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR), various parties have been paying close attention to the issue.
While some have expressed concerns over the possible consequences of the national security legislation, others have made wanton and irresponsible remarks about China’s efforts, attempting to distort facts, make up fallacies, and confuse right and wrong.
It’s necessary to put an end to these fallacies with facts.
Fallacy 1: Forming national security laws for Hong Kong is not in line with international practice.
Facts: Safeguarding national security through legislation is an international practice. Every country is prepared to take every effective measure to safeguard its national security. No country will take a soft line when it comes to fighting crimes that endanger national security.
Fallacy 2: National security laws will make everyone in Hong Kong feel insecure.
Facts: The scope of application of the national security legislation in Hong Kong will be strictly limited. The laws will only target four categories of acts which cause the most harm and have the most significant impact on national security, namely secession, subversion of state power, organizing and committing acts of terrorism, and foreign and external interference in the affairs of the HKSAR, and will not influence the majority of residents in Hong Kong.
Fallacy 3: National security legislation in Hong Kong will undermine the basic rights and freedoms of Hong Kong residents.
Facts: The relevant laws will only target a very small number of people whose actions and activities gravely jeopardize national security and will not impact the rights and freedoms of Hong Kong residents.
Efforts to effectively prevent, stop, and punish crimes endangering national security will better guarantee the rule of law and social stability in Hong Kong, thus more effectively safeguarding the life and property, rights, and freedoms of Hong Kong residents.
Fallacy 4: Hong Kong people’s opinions will not be taken into consideration during the legislative process for the national security laws.
Facts: On June 3, Chinese Vice Premier Han Zheng met with Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam and other senior officials from the HKSAR government in Beijing to hear their opinions on the national security legislation for Hong Kong.
The Hong Kong Coalition launched by former chief executives of Hong Kong, Tung Chee-hwa and Leung Chun-ying, held a symposium in Hong Kong on June 10, during which 40 of the coalition’s founders expressed their opinions on the national security legislation for Hong Kong.
People from various sectors in Hong Kong can also make their voices heard via various channels, including email, letters, or the official website of the NPC.
Fallacy 5: Ambiguity of powers and duties of law enforcement agencies will lead to wider scope of targets.
Facts: The relevant agencies will only deal with affairs concerning national security. Corresponding duties and authority will be explicitly stipulated in the legislation in accordance with modern principles and spirit of rule of law.
The national security laws for Hong Kong will not expand the scope of targets or trump up charges.
National security agencies in the Chinese mainland handle cases strictly according to law and rigorous procedures. Why would the same thing not apply in Hong Kong?
Fallacy 6: National security legislation for Hong Kong will impact foreign investors’ confidence in Hong Kong.
Facts: Since the disturbances in Hong Kong triggered by the proposed amendments to the city’s extradition laws last June, political groups advocating “Hong Kong’s independence”, radical separatists, and the opposition in Hong Kong have had a grave impact on the rule of law, economy, and people’s livelihoods in Hong Kong, as well as the city’s business environment and international image.
National security legislation was designed precisely to put an end to the social unrest and restore stability in Hong Kong, which will only help it maintain a sound business environment, consolidate and upgrade its position as an international financial, trade, and shipping center, and enhance foreign investors’ confidence.
Since the passage of the NPC’s draft decision on establishing and improving the legal system and enforcement mechanisms for Hong Kong to safeguard national security, many foreign-invested groups in Hong Kong, such as The Hongkong and Shanghai Banking Corporation, Standard Chartered Bank, and Jardine Matheson, have voiced their support for the move, saying that the legislation is helpful for long-term stability in Hong Kong and is the foundation and prerequisite for the city’s development.
Fallacy 7: National security legislation will undermine Hong Kong’s status as an international financial center.
Facts: China’s central government will certainly give stronger support to the city after the introduction of the national security legislation for Hong Kong. The country will spare no effort in supporting Hong Kong in its efforts to consolidate its status as a global financial center.
As long as China’s economy continues to maintain sound development momentum, the central government will continue attaching great importance to Hong Kong’s special position and its role in promoting exchanges between China and the rest of the world, and will continue backing Hong Kong in the difficult global economic environment.
Fallacy 8: U.S. sanctions will change Hong Kong’s status as a separate customs territory.
Facts: Hong Kong’s special economic status is protected by the HKSAR Basic Law and is respected and recognized by various countries.
The city’s status as a separate customs territory is legally based on relevant regulations of the World Trade Organization.
Since Hong Kong’s return to China, the Chinese mainland and Hong Kong have constantly deepened mutually beneficial economic and trade cooperation, during which Hong Kong maintained and further consolidated its status as a free port and a separate customs territory.
These facts have fully demonstrated that Hong Kong’s high degree of autonomy works well and will not change because of a certain country’s unilateral sanctions.
Fallacy 9: The proposed national security legislation cannot be integrated into Hong Kong’s existing legal system.
Facts: The national security legislation for Hong Kong will neither erode nor replace the current legal system in Hong Kong. It will only be designed to complement the city’s existing legal system as required by the current situation.
In addition, the legislation will take into full consideration the integration of relevant laws into the city’s existing laws. Efforts will be made to ensure that the legislation embodies the principle of “one country” while respecting the differences between the “two systems”, and will be in conformity with the modern principles and spirit of rule of law.