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Global Times

China unconcerned by US threat over HK security legislation: experts

Global Times

By Chen Qingqing Source:Global Times Published: 2020/5/22 11:49:53

A government work report submitted to the national legislature for deliberation on Friday stressed that China must comprehensively and accurately implement the "one country, two systems" policy, which gives a high degree of autonomy to Hong Kong and Macao special administrative regions (SARs) while establishing and improving the legal system and enforcement mechanism to safeguard national security in the SARs as well as implementing the constitutional obligations of SAR governments.

The country will support social advancement and the development of Hong Kong and Macao by continuing to improve residents' livelihoods and helping the SARs to better integrate into the national development plans while ensuring the long-term stability of the regions, Chinese Premier Li Keqiang said during the opening of the third session of the 13th National People's Congress (NPC) on Friday morning.

The remarks were made after the NPC revealed a new agenda and arrangements for the national security law to be implemented in the HKSAR, a move that is widely considered necessary and obligatory in fixing the loopholes within the legislative system of the HKSAR, at a time when intervention and stigmatization from external forces and local separatists continue to erode the foundation of the city, which shows that the central government will safeguard China's core interests at all costs, experts say.

The NPC session is scheduled to deliberate the bill put forward by the NPC Standing Committee on reviewing a draft decision of the NPC on establishing and improving the legal system and enforcement mechanisms for the HKSAR to safeguard national security.

Some US senators are reportedly introducing a bipartisan bill that would sanction Chinese officials and entities who enforce the new national security laws, vowing to penalize banks that do business with the entities, the Wall Street Journal reported on Thursday, after the bill was unveiled.

"We weren't afraid of the months-long riots last year, why would we be afraid of verbal threats of some US politicians?" a veteran observer of foreign affairs surnamed Huang told the Global Times, noting that Chinese people take sovereignty as the highest priority.

Wang Chen, vice chairman of the NPC Standing Committee, presented the national security law for Hong Kong to the NPC on Friday.

He also noted that China firmly opposes any form of interference by foreign forces or countries in Hong Kong affairs, and if necessary, will take countermeasures against such interference.

The NPC authorized its Standing Committee to formulate relevant laws to effectively prevent, stop, and punish all activities related to secessionism, subversion, harboring terrorists, or allowing foreign forces to interfere with the internal affairs of Hong Kong SAR, Wang told the NPC session.

The new national security legislation entitles the central government to establish agencies in Hong Kong to safeguard national security duties, while the chief executive of Hong Kong SAR government is to report to the central government at regular intervals. The reports are to include performance of duties in maintaining national security, conducting national security promotion education, and prohibiting acts that endanger national security according to law, details of the draft show.

The draft decision empowers the NPC Standing Committee to add relevant laws to Annex III of the Basic Law governing the SAR.

To propose of such a law for Hong Kong is to not only tackle the chaos in Hong Kong, but also respond to some security threats that have emerged in the SAR, Lau Siu-kai, vice president of the Chinese Association of Hong Kong and Macao Studies, told the Global Times on Thursday.

While the riots continue in Hong Kong and the US increases efforts to contain the Chinese mainland, Washington's intention of using Hong Kong as a pawn has become increasingly palpable, Lau said.

When asked about the new national security law in Hong Kong, US President Donald Trump said the US would react strongly if China follows through with plans to impose the new legislation, according to media reports.

The Chinese government is using Hong Kong to send a clear message to the US on issues related to China's national sovereignty and security, and will never yield, said experts and NPC deputies, adding that the legislation also sends a strong signal to other separatist forces abroad, Lau said.

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