Local laws should be amended to align with overriding National Security Law for HK: top official
Published: Jan 13, 2023 10:54 PM
An aerial view of Hong Kong Photo: VCG

An aerial view of Hong Kong Photo: VCG

Xia Baolong, director of the Hong Kong and Macao Affairs Office of the State Council, on Friday addressed the importance of completely and accurately implementing the National Security Law (NSL) for Hong Kong and noted that the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) government should amend local laws to align them with the NSL. 

The Standing Committee of the National People's Congress (NPC) has given overriding status to the NSL for Hong Kong, and its application should take priority, Xia said at a seminar organized by the Chinese Association of Hong Kong and Macao Studies on ensuring the accurate implementation of the Hong Kong national security law held in Beijing on Friday.

The HKSAR should take the initiative to revise and improve its local laws so that they are in line with the NSL for Hong Kong, safeguarding national security and Hong Kong's prosperity and stability in accordance with the law, said Xia.

The top legislature in December gave an interpretation of the National Security Law for Hong Kong after the case of infamous secessionist media tycoon Jimmy Lai caused widespread concern that the participation of overseas barristers may affect the fairness of national security cases.

In an exclusive interview with the Global Times, Junius Ho Kwan-yiu, a Hong Kong Legislative Council member and a solicitor, said that the HKSAR is expected to complete the process of amending its legal practitioner ordinance as soon as June, and to include the spirit of the top legislature's interpretation of provisions in the NSL for Hong Kong into local laws.

The Chinese Foreign Ministry on Friday strongly opposed the so-called "six-monthly report on Hong Kong" released by the British government.

The implementation of the NSL for Hong Kong and the improved electoral system effectively safeguard national security and social stability in the region, and international investors widely recognize that HKSAR's business environment is safer, more stable and predictable, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Wang Wenbin pointed out.

Xia's remarks have special significance, and fully demonstrate the importance of the NSL for Hong Kong to the steady and long-term implementation of One Country, Two Systems in the region, after the NPC Standing Committee in December adopted the interpretation of Article 14 and Article 47 of the Law of the People's Republic of China on Safeguarding National Security in the HKSAR, Louis Chen, a member of the Election Committee and general secretary of the Hong Kong Legal Exchange Foundation, told the Global Times on Friday.

"The NSL has the overriding status over the [local laws in HKSAR]. Safeguarding China's sovereignty, security and development interests is the highest principle of 'one country, two systems' in HKSAR," Chen said.

The promulgation and enforcement of the NSL for Hong Kong is an important milestone in the development of the practice of "one country, two systems" since Hong Kong's return to the motherland, Xia pointed out. 

Since the implementation of the law, the mechanism for safeguarding the NSL in Hong Kong has been continuously improved, and national security has been effectively safeguarded. Facts have proved that the implementation of the law is entirely in line with the reality of Hong Kong, which has ensured Hong Kong's prosperity and stability, according to Xia.

Wu Yingpeng, a lawyer and barrister-at-law in Hong Kong, told the Global Times on Friday that the NSL for Hong Kong is superior in force to any local laws in HKSAR. "HKSAR's legal system is an important part of China's legal mechanism. We should correctly understand the authoritative status of the NSL from the national constitutional level, especially the overriding role of the NSL over HKSAR's local laws."

When the local legislation is inconsistent with the NSL for Hong Kong, the court shall apply the provisions of the national security law with priority, Wu said.