On 30 June 2020, Chinese lawmakers voted to adopt the Law of the People’s Republic of China on Safeguarding the National Security in Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) at the 20th session of the 13th Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress (NPC), China’s top legislature. On July 1, when Hong Kong celebrated the 23rd anniversary of its return to the motherland China, the Law of the People’s Republic of China on Safeguarding the National Security in Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (hereinafter referred to as the legislation) entered into force upon promulgation.

Hong Kong residents and people from all walks of life including political, business and academic communities in HK have expressed their support for the legislation. Nearly 3 million Hong Kong citizens signed a petition online or at street stands to show their support, for the legislation will remain the basic guideline for the governance of Hong Kong. It fully embodies the “one country, two systems” principle, and is made to respect a high degree of autonomy. It provides a solid institutional guarantee for Hong Kong residents to enjoy their rights and freedoms under the law, effectively upholding the constitutional order in the HKSAR as prescribed by the Constitution and the Basic Law, and ensuring Hong Kong’s enduring prosperity and stability. The legislation also takes into account HK’s immediate interests, long-term interests and fundamental interests, ensuring the steady and sustained implementation of “one country, two systems”, thus creating a more stable and harmonious social environment for Hong Kong. The legislation marks the continuation of “one country, two systems” and Hong Kong’s high degree of autonomy. The people of Hong Kong administer Hong Kong with a high degree of autonomy under the law. This commitment was reaffirmed in Article I of the legislation. The goal is to provide maximum safeguards for Hong Kong to harness the strengths of the ‘Two Systems’ on the basis of upholding ‘One Country’. Neither the enacted legislation affects the rights and freedoms enjoyed by Hong Kong residents under the law, nor will it affect HKSAR’s independent judicial power, including that of final adjudication. There will be no change to the policy of “one country, two systems”, the capitalist system, the high degree of autonomy, or the legal system of the HKSAR.

The legislation received explicit support from many Hong Kong-based foreign-invested corporations, including HSBC, Standard Chartered, and etc. They are all convinced that the legislation will contribute to the lasting stability of Hong Kong, and serve as the very foundation and prerequisite for all development. Recently, the Hang Seng Index (HSI) has kept rising. In the massive tide of economic globalisation, Hong Kong’s position as the world’s leading financial centre has been increasingly prominent. Law-abiding transnational businesses all want to see Hong Kong back to stability and order. Only by taking zero tolerance toward violence and riots, can Hong Kong’s law and order be protected and the rule of law upheld. Supporting and conniving at violence and riots represents a flagrant infringement of democracy, freedom and the rule of law. Since the turbulence over the proposed legislative amendments last June, the “Hong Kong independence” groups and violent terrorist acts have dealt a heavy blow to Hong Kong’s rule of law, economy and livelihood. The city’s business environment and international image have also been severely damaged. The legislation will help Hong Kong sustain a favourable business environment, consolidate and elevate its status as a financial, trade and shipping centre, and bolster the confidence of foreign investors in Hong Kong.

The legislation is designed to deter and sanction a small minority in Hong Kong who are involved in offences seriously jeopardising national security. It aims to protect the great majority of law-abiding Hong Kong residents, and safeguard their safety and legal rights and freedoms. Having said that, rights must be exercised within the framework of the rule of law, and no demand should be expressed by illegal means, let alone resorting to violence. The rule of law is the core value of Hong Kong and the cornerstone for its long-term stability and prosperity. Ensuring observance of laws and prosecution of lawbreakers is a manifestation of the spirit of the rule of law. The legislation sets clear limits on and requires that all law enforcement efforts be conducted in strict accordance with legal provisions and statutory mandates and procedures, without prejudice to the legal rights and interests of any individual or organisation. It also provides that the Office for Safeguarding National Security of the Central People’s Government in the HKSAR shall perform its mandate in strict compliance with the law and be subject to supervision in accordance with the law. The staff of the Office shall abide by the laws of the HKSAR as well as national laws.

The legislation reflects the solidarity will and shared aspiration to preserve national security by 1.4 billion Chinese people including Hong Kong compatriots. Any external forces are not allowed to misinterpret the mainstream public opinions of backing the legislation in Hong Kong society, and to undermine our resolution of safeguarding national security. Any attempt to thwart implementation of the legislation is nothing more than overreaching, interfering and daydreaming.

China and Pakistan are all-weather strategic and cooperative partners and have always supported each other in issues concerning each other’s core interests. Ever since the promulgation of the legislation, Pakistan has voiced support for it, asserting that its adoption and promulgation will maintain China’s national security and Hong Kong’s prosperity and stability. Pakistan’s Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi spoke with Chinese State Councillor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi on July 3, over the phone. He claimed that Hong Kong (affair) is China’s internal affair, and reiterated its longstanding position that adheres to the ‘One-China’ principle. Pakistan firmly opposes any foreign interference in China’s domestic issues, and Pakistan stands firmly with China on issues concerning China’s core interests. Mushahid Hussain Syed, Chairman of the Pakistani Senate’s Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs, told Xinhua in a recent interview that the legislation will lead to stability which in turn will pave the way for progress and prosperity of Hong Kong. China highly appreciates the staunch support by Pakistan and firmly believes that Hong Kong, Pearl of the Orient, will continue to shine ever more brightly under the aegis of the legislation.