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People's Daily Online

National security legislation "a step in the right direction": senior HKSAR gov't official

People's Daily Online

(Xinhua) 10:02, June 12, 2020

HONG KONG, June 11 (Xinhua) -- The national security legislation is a step in the right direction, and will add momentum for Hong Kong's long-term development, Chief Secretary for Administration of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) government Matthew Cheung has said.

"It's not taking away anything that we enjoy. It's adding something that has been missing and should have been cherished in the last year or so - stability, security and safety," Cheung said on Wednesday in an interview with Xinhua.

Stability, security and safety are the guarantees for the development and prosperity of any place, Cheung said. "Hong Kong is no exception. Without these three guarantees underpinning the economy, there is no core development in the long term."

Cheung said the legislation will create a win-win situation as it will plug a loophole in national security for the nation and at the same time bring Hong Kong back on track.

"Stability comes before prosperity. Without stability, there will only be empty talk about prosperity," he stressed.

When the baseline of national security is tight, "one country, two systems", which has proven to be successful in the last 23 years and is the only way forward for Hong Kong, will continue to progress steadily in the years ahead, Cheung said.

In that case, Hong Kong, which enjoys the best of both the Eastern and Western worlds, will have greater room to leverage its advantages and continue to thrive as an international financial center and metropolis, he added.

This, in the eyes of Cheung, will also benefit international investors and foreign businesses here.

The international trade community here understand the need for the national security legislation because they have witnessed and actually become victims to the social unrest since last year, he noted.

"Investors come simply because it's a stable place with certainty guaranteed. It is a simple logic of doing business," He said.

The National people's Congress (NPC) has made it clear that the national security legislation for the HKSAR aims at safeguarding Hong Kong's long-term prosperity and stability and guaranteeing the legitimate rights and interests of Hong Kong residents.

It has also been clarified that the legislation only targets a tiny number of people involved in serious crimes endangering national security, including splitting the country, subverting state power, organizing and carrying out terrorist activities, as well as interfering in Hong Kong affairs by foreign and external forces.

The central authorities have given assurance "from the very outset," Cheung said, rebutting misinformation that Hong Kong's high degree of autonomy and Hong Kong residents' legitimate rights and freedoms will be compromised after the national security laws are enacted.

On the part of the HKSAR government, the secretary said the whole team have been pro-actively trying to put across in the community the message that this legislation is urgently needed and to elaborate on its importance and objective.

"Our job now is to explain, clear the air, debunk any myths, and put the record straight."

Cheung said he believes the legislation will take into account the differences between legal systems in the mainland and Hong Kong and make sure the laws enacted are enforceable in Hong Kong.

Expressing strong objection to foreign interference and threat of sanctions, Cheung urged the relevant countries to "think twice and be rational".

"Any sanction is a two-edged sword that may hurt Hong Kong but may hurt themselves doubly more," he said, adding the United States, for example, has a lot of investment in Hong Kong and enjoys a huge trade surplus from Hong Kong.

"The pendulum has been in their favor for a long time," but the situation may change due to the sanctions, he warned.

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