-- Chief Executive of the HKSAR Carrie Lam said the inauguration of the office was a historic moment and marked another milestone in establishing and improving the legal system and enforcement mechanisms for safeguarding national security in the HKSAR.

-- Luo Huining, deputy director of the Hong Kong and Macao Affairs Office of the State Council, described the national security office as "the envoy of Hong Kong's security" and "the gatekeeper of national security."

-- Zheng Yanxiong, director of the newly established national security office, pledged that the office will undertake its mandate and be subject to supervision in accordance with the law, and will not infringe upon the lawful rights and interests of any individual or organization.

-- The new office will handle national security cases when the HKSAR has difficulties in exercising jurisdiction due to the involvement of foreign or external forces or is unable to effectively enforce law due to the severity of a situation occurring, or when there is a major and imminent threat to national security.

HONG KONG, July 8 (Xinhua) -- The Office for Safeguarding National Security of the Central People's Government in the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) was inaugurated here on Wednesday, marking a major step forward to restoring law and order in the global financial hub.

A plaque bearing the name of the new office was unveiled at a ceremony early on Wednesday, drawing rousing applause of the around 80 attendees representing various sectors of Hong Kong.

Addressing the ceremony, Chief Executive of the HKSAR Carrie Lam said the inauguration of the office was a historic moment and marked another milestone in establishing and improving the legal system and enforcement mechanisms for safeguarding national security in the HKSAR.

Echoing Lam, Luo Huining, deputy director of the Hong Kong and Macao Affairs Office of the State Council, described the national security office as "the envoy of Hong Kong's security" and "the gatekeeper of national security" in his speech.

Safeguarding national security is essentially within the purview of the central authorities, which have both the power and the responsibility to take all measures necessary, said Luo, who also serves as director of the Liaison Office of the Central People's Government in the HKSAR.

The Office for Safeguarding National Security of the Central People's Government in the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region is inaugurated in Hong Kong, south China, July 8, 2020. (Xinhua/Lui Siu Wai)

Zheng Yanxiong, director of the newly established national security office, made his debut in Hong Kong at the ceremony and pledged that the office will undertake its mandate in strict compliance with the law and be subject to supervision in accordance with the law.

The office will not infringe upon the lawful rights and interests of any individual or organization, Zheng said.

Welcoming support from all sectors in Hong Kong for the office, Zheng called for joint efforts to safeguard national sovereignty, security and development interests, promote the steady and sustained implementation of "one country, two systems," and ensure the prosperity and stability of Hong Kong.

Hong Kong was gripped by prolonged social disturbances last year as intensified violent incidents and riots trampled on order and the rule of law, threatened people's safety, and endangered national security. Ill-intentioned instigators behind the chaos colluded with external forces to mess up Hong Kong, and the homegrown terrorism also emerged.

Given the dangerous situation, the Law of the People's Republic of China on Safeguarding National Security in the HKSAR was adopted by China's top legislature and promulgated in the HKSAR on June 30. The law stipulates the establishment of the national security office.

Tung Chee-hwa and Leung Chun-ying, both vice chairmen of the National Committee of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference, Carrie Lam, chief executive of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR), Luo Huining, deputy director of the Hong Kong and Macao Affairs Office of the State Council, and Zheng Yanxiong, director of the newly established national security office, attend an opening ceremony of the Office for Safeguarding National Security of the Central People's Government in the HKSAR in Hong Kong, south China, July 8, 2020. (Xinhua/Li Gang)

The office will analyze and assess developments related to safeguarding national security in the HKSAR, provide opinions and make proposals on major strategies and important policies, and oversee, guide, coordinate with and support the HKSAR in assuming the duties for safeguarding national security, according to the national security law.

It will also collect and analyze intelligence and information about national security and handle cases on offenses endangering national security.

The law stipulates that the new office will handle national security cases when the HKSAR has difficulties in exercising jurisdiction due to the involvement of foreign or external forces or is unable to effectively enforce law due to the severity of a situation occurring, as well as when there is a major and imminent threat to national security.

A Chinese national flag is raised during the opening ceremony of the Office for Safeguarding National Security of the Central People's Government in the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) in Hong Kong, south China, July 8, 2020. (Xinhua/Li Gang)

Former Secretary for Justice of the HKSAR government Elsie Leung said the provision in the national security law is reasonable and she believes that the office will only exercise jurisdiction under specific circumstances.

Most of the cases concerning national security will still be handled by the HKSAR government and related authorities and there will only be a few cases that need to be addressed by the national security office, Lau Siu-kai, vice-chairman of the Chinese Association of Hong Kong and Macao Studies, said, adding that the legitimate rights and interests of Hong Kong residents will not be impaired.

Following the enactment of the national security law, the Committee for Safeguarding National Security of the HKSAR, chaired by Carrie Lam, has been established. The HKSAR government has also announced the establishment of a specialized prosecution division responsible for the prosecution of national security offenses under the Department of Justice and the appointment of the head of the department for safeguarding national security of the Hong Kong Police Force.

As required by the national security law, the chief executive, after consulting the committee and the Chief Justice of the Court of Final Appeal, has also designated six serving magistrates from the judiciary to handle cases concerning offenses endangering national security.

Lam said the national security committee of the HKSAR will set up a mechanism of coordination with the national security office as soon as possible and other relevant authorities of the HKSAR government will also build coordination mechanisms with the office to enhance information sharing and operations cooperation.

With the concerted efforts of the national security office and related national security authorities in the HKSAR, acts and activities endangering national security will be effectively prevented, curbed and punished so that the practice of "one country, two systems" policy in Hong Kong will not be distorted and will continue to brim with dynamism, Luo said. ■

Comment 0

    最多留言