Experts say national security law returns “freedom from fear” to Hong Kong residents – 247 City News
Tue. Jul 27th, 2021

247 City News

World’s Most Authentic News Portal

Experts say national security law returns “freedom from fear” to Hong Kong residents

4 min read

Experts said since the implementation of the national security law, while the society has returned to peace, Hong Kong residents have also regained all the rights and freedoms taken away by the social disturbances, and their human rights have been further protected and improved.

“The sharp contrast before and after the implementation of the national security law fully shows that it is the ‘guardian’ of human rights and freedoms,” one expert said.

HONG KONG, Dec. 11 (Xinhua) — Despite the COVID-19 epidemic, most Hong Kong residents rest assured with their work and life, knowing that their beloved city has gradually got back on track, which is the best way to observe this year’s Human Rights Day.

The Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress adopted the Law of the People’s Republic of China on Safeguarding National Security in the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region in June, effectively ending the chaos and violence that had disrupted the social order of Hong Kong for months.

Experts said since the implementation of the national security law, while the society has returned to peace, Hong Kong residents have also regained all the rights and freedoms taken away by the social disturbances, and their human rights have been further protected and improved.

The national security law specifies the principle of “respecting and protecting human rights,” which protects the lawful rights and freedoms of Hong Kong residents in accordance with the law while safeguarding national security.

Maria Tam Wai-chu, deputy director of the HKSAR Basic Law Committee under the National People’s Congress Standing Committee, said she did not see any rights and freedoms of the vast majority of law-abiding Hong Kong residents were compromised.

Some laws and human rights principles familiar to Hong Kong residents are also reflected in the national security law.

Han Dayuan, a member of the HKSAR Basic Law Committee under the National People’s Congress Standing Committee, said, “Security and freedom are not opposites. It is hard to imagine a country or a society without a security foundation can still protect the freedom of its people. The guarantee of national security is essentially the guarantee of the rights and freedoms of every individual.”

The national security law provides a good balance between safeguarding national security and guaranteeing freedom, Ronny Tong, a member of the Executive Council of the HKSAR, said.

The national security law targets four categories of crimes, namely secession, subversion, terrorist activities, and collusion with a foreign country or external elements to endanger national security. It punishes a very small number of criminals and protects the vast majority of ordinary people.

According to the Hong Kong police, as of Dec. 7, a total of 40 people had been arrested on suspicion of committing acts and activities endangering national security.

Wu Yingpeng, a junior counsel in Hong Kong, said even for those very small number of people, their human rights are protected by law, such as having to be tried in court before being convicted, and having legal rights such as the right to counsel during proceedings and the presumption of innocence.

A ship carrying the slogan of “celebrating the passage of the Law of the People’s Republic of China on Safeguarding National Security in the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR)” sails at the Victoria Harbour in Hong Kong, south China, July 1, 2020.

From the practical results, the national security law has protected the personal and property safety of the general public, ensured the effective operation of government institutions, restored social order, and improved the overall human rights level of the society, Wu said.

More than 1,400 demonstrations, marches and gatherings had taken place in Hong Kong since June last year, many of which have turned into serious violations of law and violent incidents.

Rioters attacked police stations and police officers, beat innocent people with different opinions, torched subways and public facilities, paralyzed airport, blocked traffic, destroyed shops and malls, and “occupied” university campuses, posing a long-term and serious threat to public safety and public order in Hong Kong. More worryingly, homegrown terrorism has shown signs of rising in Hong Kong.

“At that time, people in Hong Kong were in a panic. Not to mention freedom of speech, residents’ rights to work, go to school, shop and travel were not guaranteed, and even their freedom from fear was lost,” said Lo Man-tuen, executive director of Hong Kong Association for Promotion of Peaceful Reunification of China.

In the past nearly six months, it is obvious that calm has returned to streets, public transportation is smooth again, students are at ease at schools, personal privacy is properly protected, residents are free to go shopping and speak freely. Operators of shops and enterprises are no longer worried about rioters causing trouble and vandalism. Business environment has been restored and investors feel safe to invest and operate in Hong Kong.

“The sharp contrast before and after the implementation of the national security law fully shows that it is the ‘guardian’ of human rights and freedoms,” Lo said.

During the colonial rule before the return of Hong Kong in 1997, the rights and freedoms of Hong Kong residents had long been curtailed. It is an indisputable fact that the democracy, human rights and freedoms enjoyed by Hong Kong compatriots have been established and guaranteed only after Hong Kong’s return to the motherland.

“Some Western countries have strict national security laws of their own, but criticize the national security law in Hong Kong. The real reason is that they try to contain China’s development by playing the ‘Hong Kong card.’ It’s utterly a double standard,” Lo said.

 

Source: XINHUANET

Copyright © All rights reserved. | All content is copyrighted © 2019-2020 by 247 City News. This material should not be published, broadcast, rewritten, redistributed or derived from. Unless otherwise prior consent, Technical feedback? [email protected]