New head of HK Bar Association slammed for challenging National Security Law
Published: Jan 29, 2021 10:00 PM

Hong Kong citizens gather to support the National Security Law for Hong Kong. Photo: cnsphoto

The central government's liaison office in Hong Kong has criticized Paul Harris, the new chairman of the city's Bar Association, who suggested the government should amend the National Security Law and who allegedly shielded the city's rioters in 2019. 

According to Hong Kong media, Harris expressed concerns about the rule of law in Hong Kong recently, saying it was a "hard time" and noting the national security legislation is inconsistent with some articles under the Basic Law. Harris, a veteran human rights barrister, was elected as the new chairman of the association last week, succeeding Philip Dykes.

"His remarks completely deviate from professional ethics and conscience, and completely lose the spirit and principle of the rule of law. His remarks fully expose personal arrogance and ignorance, and will further drag the Bar Association down into the abyss, which has aroused the anger of all sectors of Hong Kong society, including the legal profession," the office said in a statement released on Friday. 

On Monday, People's Daily also blasted Harris for his remarks, saying "don't let political prejudice ruin Hong Kong's rule of law." 

"Hong Kong is a special administrative region of China, with the National People's Congress (NPC) as the highest organ of state power. The NPC and its Standing Committee have the power to enact national laws and incorporate them into Annex III of the Basic Law, which apply to the HKSAR. As a senior barrister, it is impossible for Harris not to understand such legal knowledge. In any sovereign country, national security belongs to the central authority," read the statement. 

The office noted that months after the national security legislation was passed for Hong Kong, violence has ceased to rage, public order has returned to normal, and national security and social stability have been guaranteed. Facts have proved that the National Security Law is the anchor for safeguarding the overall interests of Hong Kong and the fundamental well-being of the people.

"Harris is challenging the constitutional order of the HKSAR as set out in the Basic Law, and challenging national sovereignty and the bottom line of 'one country, two systems.'"

The office said that over the past three years, the Bar Association has gone further and further in its politicization of major constitutional and legal issues concerning the HKSAR, and has lost its sense of fairness and reason. During the riots in 2019, the Bar Association not only turned a blind eye to extreme acts and violent crimes, but reversed the truth, pointing the finger at the HKSAR government and police and becoming a political tool to incite violence.

"This has not only shocked and disappointed the general public of Hong Kong, but will surely drag the Bar Association into the abyss with disastrous consequences," the statement said.

The constitutional order established by the Constitution and the Basic Law must be firmly upheld, and the National Security Law for Hong Kong must be resolutely implemented, read the statement.

"History has proved many times that anyone who goes against the tide will inevitably end up in a dead end," it said.

Global Times