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Global Times

HK natl security commission empowers chief exec. to play a more important constitutional role: analysts

Global Times

Source:Global Times Published: 2020/6/20 20:07:26

The Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) will set up a commission for safeguarding national security, assuming the main responsibilities of maintaining national security in HKSAR and accepting the supervision of the central government, according to detailed provisions of the draft law on national security for Hong Kong released on Saturday.

China's top legislature has reviewed the draft law on national security for Hong Kong at the three-day meeting of the 19th session of the 13th National People's Congress (NPC) Standing Committee which concluded on Saturday, paving the way for the next stage of the legislative process of the draft law.

Based on the detailed provisions released Saturday, it showed the central government has entrusted the Hong Kong regional government at the maximum level, and the draft law has conveyed the core values of the "one country, two systems."

For instance, the HKSAR national security commission is chaired by the chief executive of the HKSAR government, with members including the Chief Secretary for Administration, the Financial Secretary, the Secretary for Justice, the Secretary for Security and the Commissioner of Police. A secretariat would be established under the commission, led by the secretary-general nominated by the chief executive of the HKSAR government. The nomination would be reported to the central government.

Kennedy Wong Ying-ho, convener of Safeguard HK, Support the Surrender of Fugitive Offenders Legislation, said that there were no legal problems in setting up a commission as the HKSAR government already has a number of sub-committees, but it would possibly need budgetary approval from the relevant legislative council committees.

Wong noted that the Macao Special Administrative Region already has a national security commission, which serves as a model for Hong Kong.

According to the Basic Law, the chief executive of the HKSAR is responsible for both the central government and the HKSAR. Similarly, the draft requires the chief executive to be accountable for both the central government and Hong Kong in matters of national security.

The commission is in charge of analyzing the situation of maintaining national security in the HKSAR, plan relevant work, formulate relevant policy on safeguarding national security for the HKSAR, and promote the building of the national security maintenance system and enforcement mechanism in the city. It also aims to coordinate the key work and major actions of the HKSAR to maintain national security, according to the detailed provisions.

The central government would also appoint an advisor to guide on matters related to the commission's performance of duties.

Meanwhile, law enforcement authorities in Hong Kong will assume major responsibilities in national security cases. The Hong Kong Police Force will establish a special unit to safeguard national security and will be equipped with law enforcement forces and the Department of Justice will set up a special national security crime prosecution department which would be responsible for the prosecution of crimes against national security and other related legal affairs.

Many countries have similar institutional settings that require coordinated capabilities to dispatch resources and to mobilize different departments in safeguarding national security, Lau Siu-kai, vice-president of the Chinese Association of Hong Kong and Macao Studies, told the Global Times on Saturday.

"Before, it was a scattered focus. Now, it's more like a shared goal in coordinating all levels of society to work together to safeguard national security from social to finance to cultural aspects," he said.

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