Three years with National Security Law allows Hongkongers to form five major consensuses: Global Times editorial
Published: Jul 01, 2023 12:53 AM
Illustration: Liu Rui/GT

Illustration: Liu Rui/GT

Friday marked the third anniversary of the implementation of the National Security Law (NSL) for Hong Kong. The day brought mixed feelings to the city's residents. Over the past three years, the overall effect of the implementation of the NSL has been evident to all. This is especially so when one compares today's Hong Kong and the state of the city when black-clad rioters rampaged in violence during the disturbance over proposed legislative amendments in Hong Kong, making people feel as if they are living in a different world.

No one can deny that it is the NSL that has brought about this dramatic change. Without it, it would have been impossible for Hong Kong to enter a new stage in which it has restored order and is set to thrive. The facts prove that this law has stabilized the situation in Hong Kong and guards the city's prosperity and stability. Only after paying an incomparably painful price did Hong Kong gradually form the following strong consensuses.

First, there is no freedom without security. "Freedom" in Hong Kong as a free port has been given a richer meaning. But was there any freedom when ordinary Hong Kong citizens didn't even dare go out on the streets during the disturbances in 2019? Was there any freedom when even speaking Putonghua in public could lead to a beating? Those elements who attempted to create chaos in Hong Kong obstructed traffic, set fires, and threw petrol bombs, directly endangering the general public's basic safety and freedom. The first thing that the NSL restores is the security of Hong Kong, which in turn also protects its true freedom.

Second, there is no development without order. Hong Kong has long been the world's freest, most open and fair economy, with membership of more than 260 international agreements and more than 30 international intergovernmental organizations. This unique advantage was nearly destroyed by the disturbance over proposed legislative amendments in Hong Kong.

Data shows that the violence at that time caused more than 3,000 injuries, resulting in the suspension of the entire metro system for the first time since its opening in 1979. The rioters pried up enough bricks to fill 48 basketball courts and tore down railings that can reach the total height of 125 Two International Finance Centre. How can Hong Kong develop and prosper when normal business activities are impossible? The NSL has restored order, and Hong Kong's business environment has rapidly improved. As a result, the city's economy and people's livelihood are showing new vitality day by day.

Third, there is no democracy without the rule of law. When the rule of law is undermined, "democracy" becomes a cover and tool for those with ulterior motives. The Hong Kong Legislative Council was targeted by rioters, resulting in prolonged paralysis. Numerous laws directly affecting people's livelihoods remained unreviewed, impacting the well-being of millions of taxpayers, migrant workers, and disabled individuals. Is this democracy? What kind of democracy is it? The enactment and implementation of the NSL ended the chaos and safeguarded the rule of law and democracy.

Fourth, there is no love of Hong Kong without loving the country. How absurd is it that one cannot express patriotism on China's own soil? Rioters attempted to create antagonism between loving the country and loving Hong Kong, launching attacks against patriots, instilling a climate of terror, and causing harm to Hong Kong. With the enactment and implementation of the NSL, patriots have been entrusted with governing Hong Kong. The five-starred red flags are raised, the national anthem is sung in Hong Kong's primary and secondary schools, and a sense of righteousness prevails in society. The concept of "national security ensuring individual households' well-being" has deeply resonated among the people.

Fifth, there is no peace in Hong Kong without cracking down on rioters. Hong Kong cannot have peace as long as the elements attempting to create chaos in the city persist. People still remember how rampant the rioters were before the implementation of the NSL. Backed and incited by external forces, they openly betrayed their country and Hong Kong. Their actions constitute blatant crimes and would be intolerable in any modern country governed by the rule of law. After the implementation of the National Security Law, some rioters were arrested and sentenced, and some fled the country. The rioting groups have also disintegrated one after another. Faced with the NSL, they have proven to be as fragile as "grasshoppers at the end of autumn - nearing their end."

Unwilling to accept failure, some anti-China politicians in the West continue to slander and denigrate the NSL, exposing their own strong malice toward Hong Kong. The city's current situation did not come easily, and the local people have first-hand experience of this. During President Xi Jinping's visit to Hong Kong last year, he said, "Through trials and tribulations, now we keenly feel that Hong Kong will not tolerate chaos and cannot afford to have any, and we also deeply feel that the development of Hong Kong allows no delay. We must get rid of whatever interference there may be to concentrate our attention on the development of the region." This not only echoes the voice of Hong Kong citizens, but also points out the direction for the city's future.

"Harmony in a family makes everything successful." The stark contrast before and after the implementation of the NSL allows people to truly appreciate the weight of this old saying. Saturday also marks the 26th anniversary of Hong Kong's return to the motherland, and the city is filled with a warm and festive atmosphere. This is the true essence of Hong Kong, and we believe that with the protection of the NSL, every step forward for Hong Kong will be more resolute, confident, and full of vigor.