Forum speakers lay down the law

All judiciary staff, administrative officers and law-enforcement officers have a responsibility to safeguard national security, the head of Beijing’s national security office in Hong Kong underlined.

Zheng Yanxiong, director of the Office for Safeguarding National Security here, said the responsibility is not related to political neutrality, it does not conflict with the judicial system, and it is in line with the public interest.

“There is no excuse for anyone to take no action or act in an unruly way,” he told a forum hosted by the Department of Justice at the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre on the topic of the national security law implemented last June 30.

He also said unrest here had damaged the country’s fundamental interests.

“It is neither a pro-democracy movement nor protesters calling for autonomy but a subversive movement,” Zheng said.

The movement in Hong Kong, he said, must therefore be suppressed with a hard-line approach.

Zhang called violence committed by protesters “anti-social crimes” that must be combated by “struggles” – mainland terminology for targeting enemies of the Chinese Communist Party.

He said the United States and other western countries were trying to start a revolution in Hong Kong and for Hong Kong to secede, so bad behavior must be stopped.

Also at the forum, Chen Dong, deputy director of the central government liaison office, criticized people for supporting or glorifying the stabbing of a police officer last week.

Chen went on to say order had been restored to society and street violence had died down, but “some anti-China troublemakers in Hong Kong have not yet given up completely.”

Some radicals “even planned lone-wolf terrorist attacks,” he said, referring to the 50-year-old Leung Kin-fai, who stabbed a police officer in Causeway Bay on July 1 and then wounded himself fatally.

Chen also slammed “people with ulterior motives” who “blatantly support and beautify” violent behavior. And he pointed to groups and individuals involved in the legal profession.

Zhang Yong, deputy chairman of the legislative affairs commission of the National People’s Congress, said efforts in the SAR to ensure security should not end with the national security law.

“The legislation of Basic Law Article 23 will form a complete legal system safeguarding national security,” Zhang said.

The security law only regulated four kinds of behavior that endanger national security, which was “obviously insufficient” to cover all behavior that endangered national security in Hong Kong, he said.

“To effectively link the national security law with local laws and systems,” he said, legislation for Article 23 “should be done as soon as possible.

“It is a clear requirement by the National People’s Congress and the responsibility of the SAR government.”

On the implementation of the security law, Yang Wanming, vice president of the supreme people’s court, said cooperation and constant exchanges between judiciaries in the mainland and Hong Kong are needed as there should not be a “big discrepancy in terms of legal understanding.”

Yang also said the fact Beijing allowed the SAR judiciary to deal with most national security cases showed a high degree of autonomy, respect and trust.

Liu Guangyuan, commissioner of the foreign ministry in Hong Kong, said the national security law has a higher standard in respecting and protecting human rights compared to those in other countries.

And the implementation of the security law ended the era when the SAR had nothing in place to safeguard national security.

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