CHINA / SOCIETY
Positive changes in HK's legal system as it undergoes de-colonization process: officials
Published: Jul 05, 2021 08:04 PM
Media staff wait outside the High Court in Hong Kong, south China, Nov. 15, 2016. File photo: Xinhua

Media staff wait outside the High Court in Hong Kong, south China, Nov. 15, 2016. File photo: Xinhua



At a legal forum held by Hong Kong Department of Justice on Monday, senior officials of the central government overseeing Hong Kong affairs said it's cheerful to see positive changes in law enforcement in the city since the national security law for Hong Kong took effect. The local legislature needs to complete "de-colonization," the officials added.

Deng Zhonghua, a deputy director of the Hong Kong and Macao Affairs Office of the State Council, praised the enactment of the national security law. Over the past year it has helped the central government's agencies and local authorities coordinate with each other smoothly with supporting legal mechanism being established, according to local news site hk01.com. 

Deng said he was happy to see that there was now a correct understanding of the law, adhering to the principle of "no bailouts granted." The justice department has the right to ask a trial without the jury while the law enforcement authority of the police has been expanded. These are all new arrangements for the national security-related cases due to their special and complex nature. 

The first person charged under the national security law for Hong Kong will face a trial without the jury, Reuters reported on May 20, citing the city's High Court ruling, saying it's a landmark decision. The suspect - Tong Ying-kit - carried a sign reading "Liberate Hong Kong, revolution of our times," and drove his motorbike into officers during a protest on July 1, 2020. 

The city's top court also denied a bail for local media tycoon and secessionist Jimmy Lai in February. The decision was hailed by some legal experts as "symbolic" and that it having significance deterrence showing that the common law system of the city was adapting its bail condition to the national security law for Hong Kong. 

Zhang Yong, a deputy head of the Legislative Affairs Commission of the National People's Congress (NPC) Standing Committee, urged the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region government to finalize Article 23 of the Basic Law concerning its constitutional responsibility of safeguarding the national security. 

The current major four categories of crime under the national security law can't cover every aspect of the many activities endangering national security stipulated by the Criminal Law, Zhang was quoted as saying in a report by hk01.com, noting that to finish the legislation of Article 23 is a clear requirement by the NPC. 

It also signaled that the local legislature has to undergo the process of "de-colonization," which aims to fulfill the demand of safeguarding the national security, Zhang told the forum. 

"During the anti-extradition law movement, we saw that the rule of law in Hong Kong was damaged. The national security law has helped fix loopholes in local legal system," Louis Chen, general secretary of Hong Kong Legal Exchange Foundation, told the Global Times on Monday. 

The common law system is flexible and progressive, and the legal foundation of the Hong Kong society is granted by the Constitution and the Basic Law, Chen said, noting that in order to make sure the common law system can safeguard the national security, sovereignty and the interests of the development, the legal system of Hong Kong needs a revolutionary reform to de-colonize. 

Though the stability has been restored in Hong Kong, anti-China rioters have not completely given up their illusion, Chen Dong, a deputy director of the central government's liaison office in Hong Kong, told the forum, as several radical figures tried to engage in "lone-wolf like terror attack" or glorify the violence. 

When talking about the social turmoil in 2019, Zheng Yanxiong, head of the central government's Office for Safeguarding National Security in Hong Kong, said there was no other choice but to defend the core national interests by fighting against riots. There should be no compromise and conciliation, Zheng said. 

"The US and other Western countries tried to instigate the color revolution in Hong Kong by subversion and black-clad riots, which we firmly opposed. The central government's bottom-line on Hong Kong affairs is not to make any strategic mistakes," Zheng was quoted as saying in the media report. 


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