Central govt office starts operating, ‘foreign forces frightened’

By Yang Sheng and Chen Qingqing Source: Global Times Published: 2020/7/8 22:03:41

National security law -enforcement provides ‘certainty, stability’ to HK


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)

The Office for Safeguarding National Security of the Central People's Government in the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) was inaugurated in the territory on Wednesday and started operation after the inauguration, with more detailed regulations for law-enforcement to be announced soon. This is a milestone moment that could greatly ensure the stability and certainty of the financial hub in the future, officials and experts said. 

Business environment in the HKSAR will only be improved instead of becoming worse. Forces, which are frightened and nervous due to bitter result brought about by the national security law enactment and implementation, are trying to demonize the office but they actually have no meaningful economic influence to wield in the city, said officials and observers.

The temporary office for the newly established law-enforcement agency is located at Metropark Hotel Causeway Bay on Hong Kong Island, according to Hong Kong media. During the inauguration ceremony, the central government's liaison office director in the HKSAR Luo Huining hailed the office as an "envoy for safeguarding Hong Kong" and a "gatekeeper of national security." 

Zheng Yanxiong, a former member of the Standing Committee of the Communist Party of China's Guangdong Provincial Committee, who was appointed to lead the office, along with Li Jiangzhou and Sun Qingye, the two deputy heads of the new office, made a public appearance for the first time since their appointments were announced, according to live-streamed footage. 

Li is from the Ministry of Public Security who is mainly responsible for domestic security operations and specializes in collecting intelligence, while Sun is from the Ministry of State Security (MSS) and has extensive experience safeguarding China's overseas national interests, according to several sources familiar with the matter.

A ship carrying the slogan of "celebrating the passage of the Law of the People's Republic of China on Safeguarding National Security in the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR)" sails at the Victoria Harbor in Hong Kong, south China, July 1, 2020. (Xinhua/Wang Shen)

Milestone moment

HKSAR chief executive Carrie Lam, former CEs Leung Chun-ying, Tung Chee-hwa, and Commissioner of Police Tang Ping-keung, as well as many senior representatives of the central government's institutions in the city, senior officials and politicians from the city also attended the ceremony. 

Observers said this kind of high-standard ceremony shows that the establishment of the office and the national security legislation has met the shared expectations among the political and business elites, as well as the majority of the residents that have been seriously impacted by the instability and chaos that the city has experienced since last year.

Financial Secretary of the HKSAR government Paul Chan Mo-po, who is also a member of the Committee for Safeguarding National Security of the HKSAR and an attendee of the ceremony, told the Global Times on Wednesday that "this is a milestone moment for Hong Kong since the city returned to the motherland."

"After the national security law for Hong Kong was enacted, loopholes in legal mechanisms for safeguarding national security have been fixed. We're very excited and touched by the inauguration of the office," Chan said. 

It also means that Hong Kong society is going back to normal after yearlong social turmoil. The inauguration of the office is very important for the city as a major international financial hub and business center, the official noted.

Now that the central government's office for safeguarding national security in Hong Kong is inaugurated, implementation rules of Article 53 and Article 55 of the national security law for Hong Kong are expected to be unveiled soon, according to experts.  

Setting up this office in Hong Kong is a major step for the central government to fulfill its fundamental responsibilities for safeguarding national security, which is a matter for the top authorities, Luo Huining, who is also national security advisor to the HKSAR committee for safeguarding national security, said during the inauguration ceremony. 

The office will strictly perform its duties and accept supervision in accordance with the law, and will not infringe on the legitimate rights and interests of any individual or organization, Luo said. 

While the relevant staff of the office are getting ready for future work in Hong Kong, the implementation rules of Article 53 and Article 55 will be stipulated to clarify law enforcement procedures and standards, Tian Feilong, a Hong Kong affairs expert and associate professor at Beihang University in Beijing, told the Global Times on Wednesday. 

The office will only exercise jurisdiction when a case is complex due to interference of foreign forces, in a serious situation when the HKSAR government is unable to effectively enforce the law, or there is a major and imminent threat, according to Article 55 of the national security law. 

"There will be more detailed elaboration on that to make Hong Kong and the international community understand that this office handles cases in accordance to the law while fully protecting human rights," Tian said.

A flag-raising ceremony is held by the government of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region to celebrate the 23rd anniversary of Hong Kong's return to the motherland at the Golden Bauhinia Square in Hong Kong, south China, July 1, 2020. (Xinhua/Li Gang)

They should be frightened 

According to the national security law, the office and the Office of the Commissioner of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in the HKSAR shall, together with the HKSAR government, take "necessary measures to strengthen the management of and services for organs of foreign countries and international organizations in the region," as well as foreign non-governmental organizations and news agencies."

The office can also exercise jurisdiction over cases if "the case is complex due to the involvement of a foreign country or external elements ," according to the law.

An international intelligence and security expert who asked not to be named said "Once the detailed regulations for law-enforcement were announced, governments of Western countries, Western media and the proxies they used to cause unrest in Hong Kong will use a lot of threadbare excuses to criticize China again, because they cannot play their old games to interfere in China's domestic affairs in Hong Kong and harm China's national security anymore."

"Foreign forces have been using their NGOs, shell companies and media outlets to build connection with anti-government and separatist forces in Hong Kong for a very long time. They provide funds, intelligence, training, online and offline propaganda to these local trouble-makers, and if there are any consequences, they can run away or seek refuge since they are foreigners, and some of them even have diplomatic immunity, but their proxies, those local separatists and anti-government forces, could be arrested," he said.

"But in the future, they should be careful when play this old game. The reason why they are being unreasonably critical on the law is because they are nervous and frightened. They should be frightened," the expert noted.

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