National Security Law protects ‘one country, two systems’
Published: Jun 30, 2020 09:18 PM

A Hong Kong association gathers at Chater Garden, Central Hong Kong, in support of the national security legislation in the city. Dozens of participants marched to the US Consulate General in Hong Kong waving the Five-Starred Red Flag and shouting slogans supporting the legislation and protesting the US' interference in China's internal affairs. Photo: cnsphoto

The National Security Law for Hong Kong was passed today. As a journalist, I would like to make three brief interpretations.

First, the National Security Law for Hong Kong safeguards national security and Hong Kong's peace and tranquility. It is the guardianship law of "one country, two systems". It deals with a very small number of extremist forces that have colluded with foreign forces to destabilize Hong Kong. It targets four crimes that have nothing to do with freedom of speech, assembly or association. It would be a bulwark against Hong Kong becoming Asia's most volatile city. Within this barrier, the elements that make up Hong Kong's vitality - democracy, freedom, pluralism and openness -- will not be suppressed, but will be released more fully. The future of Hong Kong should be to shine as a unique city different from the Chinese mainland cities and continue to play the role of an international financial center.

Second, the National Security Law for Hong Kong is not retroactive and this legislative principle is universal. It means that July 1 is a watershed. No matter what some Hong Kong people have done in the past or whether they have jeopardized national security, they will be safe if they act wisely and change their ways. As you have seen, in recent days, some of the leading figures who had obviously jeopardized national security in Hong Kong have announced their quitting from politics or made a change of attitude. Several groups advocating "Hong Kong secession" were quickly disbanded within a few hours after the passage of the National Security Law today. These developments generally have room for positive interpretation, but they still need to be observed.

Third, the National Security Law is like a tiger with sharp teeth and its maximum penalty is life imprisonment. If someone still doesn't understand the situation after July 1 and continue to do evil, the National Security Law is sure to be waiting for him not far away. In particular, the chief perpetrator will face severe punishment.

The author is editor-in-chief of the Global Times. opinion@globaltimes.com.cn

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