During a legal forum hosted by the Hong Kong Department of Justice on Monday, some central government officials overseeing Hong Kong affairs said it was gratifying to see positive changes in law enforcement in the city since the adoption of the National Security Act for Hong Kong. The local legislature must finalize its “decolonization”, they added.
Deng Zhonghua, a deputy director of the Hong Kong and Macao Affairs Bureau affiliated with the State Council, praised the passage of the National Security Law. Over the past year, it has helped central government agencies and local authorities coordinate smoothly, with the establishment of supportive legal mechanisms, reports local news site hk01.com.
Deng Zhonghua said he was “happy” to see that there was now a correct understanding of the law, as well as an adherence to the principle of “removal of privileges”. The Department of Justice also has the right to request a trial without a jury, while the executive authority of the police has been extended. These are new arrangements for national security matters, due to their specific and complex nature.
The first person to be brought to justice for violating the Hong Kong National Security Act will therefore have a trial without a jury, Reuters reported on May 20, citing the decision of the city’s District Court. This is a historic decision. The suspect, Tong Ying-kit, raced at police officers on a motorcycle during a protest on July 1, 2020, carrying a large banner that read “Liberate Hong Kong, Revolution of Our Time.”
In February, the Hong Kong High Court also rejected the bail release of local media mogul and secessionist Jimmy Lai. This decision has been described as “symbolic” by some legal experts and is of major importance in terms of deterrence. It shows that the city’s common law system adapts its bail conditions to the National Security Act for Hong Kong.
Zhang Yong, a deputy director of the Legislative Affairs Commission of the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress (NPC), urged the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (SAR) government to finalize Article 23 of the Basic Law regarding its constitutional responsibility to safeguard national security.
Currently, the four major categories of crime under the National Security Law cannot cover all aspects of the many activities threatening national security stipulated by the criminal law, he said, noting that the finalization of the legislation of Article 23 is a “clear AFN requirement”.
Zhang Yong also pointed out that the local legislature should implement a process of “decolonization”, which aims to meet the requirement of safeguarding national security.
“During the movement against the Extradition Act, we saw that the rule of law in Hong Kong had deteriorated. The National Security Act has helped close loopholes in the local legal system, ”Hong Kong Legal Exchange Foundation secretary general Louis Chen said on Monday.
“The common law system is flexible and progressive and the legal foundation of Hong Kong society is conferred by the Constitution and the Basic Law,” he explained. In order to ensure that the common law system is capable of safeguarding the security, sovereignty and development interests of the nation, Hong Kong’s legal system needs revolutionary reform to be “decolonized”, a- he added.
“Even though stability has been restored in Hong Kong, the anti-China rioters have not completely abandoned their illusion,” said Chen Dong, a deputy director of the central government’s Liaison Office in Hong Kong. According to him, several radical figures have tried to carry out “lone wolf terrorist attacks” or to glorify violence.
Speaking on the 2019 social unrest, Zheng Yanxiong, director of the Hong Kong National Security Safeguarding Bureau affiliated with the central government, said there was no choice but to defend the fundamental national interests by fighting riots.
“There should be no compromise, no conciliation. […] The United States and other Western countries are trying to instigate a color revolution in Hong Kong through subversion and riots, which we strongly oppose. The central government’s main line on Hong Kong affairs is not to make any strategic mistakes, ”he said.