Central govt and HK officials warn against possible national security risks, street violence resurgence
Published: Apr 15, 2023 05:33 PM Updated: Apr 15, 2023 05:27 PM
Hong Kong File Photo: VCG

Hong Kong File Photo: VCG

As China celebrates the National Security Education Day on Saturday, officials of China's central government and the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) warned against national security risks and the possibility of the return of street violence.

The social turmoil in 2019 in Hong Kong is a permanent scar that cannot be erased, said Xia Baolong, vice chairman of the National Committee of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference and head of the Hong Kong and Macao Affairs Office of the State Council.

Xia made the remarks when addressing the opening ceremony of the themed activities in the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre on Saturday, which was also participated by HKSAR Chief Executive John Lee and Zheng Yanxiong, director of the Liaison Office of the Central People's Government in Hong Kong. All of the officials above highlighted the significant lessons learnt from the 2019 turmoil.

"I believe that citizens can vividly remember the crimes of arson and damages done by black-clad thugs three years ago. Every time I recall those days, I still feel heartbroken," Lee addressed the event. He said that during that time, Hong Kong did not have a national security law, and the Legislative Council was also under attack by anti-China forces who deliberately targeted the One Country, Two Systems and obstructed the government's governance by all means.

Since the implementation of the national security law for Hong Kong, the city has basically returned to stability, but we still cannot underestimate the risks brought by activities that damage national security, Lee noted, hoping to complete legislation of Article 23 of the Basic Law soon.

The legislation of Article 23 will serve to regulate false information and crowdfunding activities, improve the regulation of financial security, and mostly importantly ensure that the city's justice system and the courts are not interfered with, Lee noted.

National security does not conflict with the right to express pursuit of interest, and protest is not the only channel, Xia noted, stressing the importance of seeking common ground while reserving differences and communicating rationally.

"A confrontational society has no future. I hope that every day Hong Kong can hold conventions and exhibitions, engage in innovation and technology, improve the economy, hold horse-raising activities, dance and speculate in the stock market to 'get some money,'" Xia told the opening ceremony.

Addressing the opening ceremony, Zheng said it is now a great time for Hong Kong to play its special role as a super-connector of the world with the backing of the motherland and no longer to get the wrong direction, confuse itself or be deceived by others.

After returning to the motherland, Hong Kong entered a new era in history but headwinds have been felt from domestic and foreign hostile forces who cannot tolerate the rapid development, prosperity and stability of Hong Kong and try every means to slander, attack, and destroy the city, Xia noted.

Xia also reminded the SAR government to shoulder their responsibility and keep an eye on resurgence of street violence and confrontation and delusion activities from overseas.

Commenting on Xia's speech, Tian Feilong, a legal expert at Beihang University in Beijing, told the Global Times on Saturday that Xia's keynote speech served as guidance for Hong Kong society to deepen its understanding of national security and system recognition.

Xia highlighted in his speech the potential threat posed by domestic and international hostile forces, though the city is now in a stage from governance to greater prosperity. Hostile forces are not reconciled to their failure and are unwilling to accept the political reality of patriots ruling Hong Kong.

The risk of illegal external intervention and sanctions still exists, and new risks, inflammatory words and confrontation will emerge, therefore, maintaining national security and social stability still constitutes an important issue and responsibility, Xia noted.

This year marks the third National Security Education Day since the implementation of national security law for Hong Kong. Hong Kong rolled out a slew of activities to celebrate the day.

On Saturday morning, the Security Bureau held a flag-raising ceremony at the Hong Kong Police College, participated by its disciplined services and its youth teams, together with other youth uniformed groups.

At the event, Chief Secretary Eric Chan said that since the national security law has been implemented, Hong Kong's legal system and its enforcement mechanism for safeguarding national security have been effectively implemented and national security has been guaranteed. Now Hong Kong is at a new stage of moving from chaos to governance, and then from governance to greater prosperity.

Young people are the future, hope and pillar of the country and Hong Kong, also the backbone of national security. The participance of youth disciplined teams at the event showcases patriotism and love, national security awareness and sense of responsibility among the younger generation of Hong Kong, Chan said.

A number of training academies of the disciplined services will hold open days on Saturday to deepen the public's understanding of maintaining national security, especially young people, Chan noted.

The Home and Youth Affairs Bureau and the Home Affairs Department and its 18 District offices will also organize national security themed activities on Saturday. Meanwhile, the Hong Kong SAR government will distribute 60,000 national security picture books to primary schools across the city.

When national security is secured, it means the One China, Two Systems is secured, so does the prosperity of Hong Kong, democracy and freedom of Hong Kong and human rights and interests of Hong Kong residents and interests of all domestic and international investors, Xia noted.