HK chief executive to visit Beijing, prepare for national security legislation

By Yang Sheng and Wang Qi Source:Global Times Published: 2020/6/2 20:48:40

Chief Executive of China's Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) Carrie Lam attends a press conference in Hong Kong, south China, April 14, 2020. Photo: Xinhua

The chief executive of Hong Kong and senior officials who are in charge of law enforcement, public security and justice will visit Beijing on Wednesday, and analysts in the Chinese mainland said that coming only five days after the NPC passed a decision on national security legislation for the city, this move shows that China wants to push the legislation as soon as possible.

The central government and the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) will be prepared for any challenge, they said.

HKSAR Chief Executive Carrie Lam will pay a one-day visit to Beijing on Wednesday, as the central government needs to hear advice and suggestions from the HKSAR government about the proposed national security law, said the HKSAR government on Tuesday. 

Hong Kong Commissioner of Police Tang Ping-keung, the Secretary for Security John Lee and the Secretary for Justice Teresa Cheng will join the visit with Lam. 

Li Xiaobing, a Hong Kong affairs expert and legal expert at Nankai University in Tianjin, said that this is a necessary move as the national security legislation for Hong Kong should be finalized as soon as possible.

These officials related to law enforcement, public security and justice must provide their suggestions and advice to help the central government make the law executable under Hong Kong's common law legal system, as this law will directly affect and change their work.

Apart from the HKSAR officials, the central government might also want to communicate with legal professionals. However, legal professional organizations like the Hong Kong Bar Association always maintain a sentiment of resistance against the central government and the national legislature, and they use their legal professional knowledge to create obstacles for mainland's governance in the HKSAR, Li said.

"If they would like to make constructive suggestions, they would be welcome, but according to empirical evidence, they are very unlikely to do so as they have complicated connections with foreign forces," Li noted.

Analysts said that advice and opinions from business circles and the financial sector could also be important, because Hong Kong, as an international trading and financial center, has frequent and broad communications and exchanges with other countries and regions.

The presence of foreign companies and institutions in Hong Kong is very normal, so the legislation should minimize its impact on these normal legal economic activities. 

The government of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region announced on Tuesday that the "gathering restriction order" on food and beverage premises, which prohibits gatherings of more than eight people in public places, will be extended to June 18. Various measures have been taken to avoid the spread of COVID-19 in the community in response to the epidemic. Photo: cnsphoto

 Some countries' high-profile criticism of the national security law in the HKSAR shows "double standards," as they pay attention to their own national security but are biased against Hong Kong, Lam said at a press conference on Tuesday, the US' recent dealing with its domestic riots has been tough.

Safeguarding national security is the basis of every country's sovereignty. Hong Kong has laws to stem infringement of national security, but these are insufficient. The risk of violating national security in Hong Kong is increasing and "we all know what happened last year," Lam said.

The announcement also disclosed that Lam will travel to Shenzhen, South China's Guangdong Province, in the evening on the same day, before returning to Hong Kong on the morning of Thursday. During her absence, the Chief Secretary for Administration, Matthew Cheung Kin-chung, will be the acting chief executive.

Yin Hongbiao, an expert on Hong Kong affairs at Peking University, told the Global Times on Tuesday that the meeting with central government senior leaders could also cover the most urgent situation: Opposition groups and anti-government forces are planning a series of protests and illegal assemblies from this week to at least July 1.

"How to deal with these resistance forces backed by the US and other foreign forces, how to punish and arrest rioters in the upcoming incidents and the people behind the illegal activities and riots, and how to help Hong Kong handle the increasing pressure on the economy this year ... These are also very urgent questions that need to be discussed," Yin said.

If Lam and her team, as well as the head of the Hong Kong police, received firm support from the central government, their countermeasures and law enforcement against the upcoming and potential illegal activities and resistance against the national security legislation would be tougher, more determined and resolute, Yin noted.  

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