Why Article 23 legislation will help Hong Kong better attract investment, boost growth
Published: Mar 13, 2024 06:18 PM
A snapshot of Hong Kong Photo: VCG

A snapshot of Hong Kong Photo: VCG

To accomplish Basic Law Article 23 legislation as soon as possible is the top priority of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR). Experiences from Western countries and neighboring regions showed that the implementation of legislation to maintain national security can help attract more investment and boost business activity and economic growth.

With the implementation of legislation of Article 23 of the Basic Law of the HKSAR in the future, the confidence of investors and entrepreneurs will be further enhanced, which helps attract more investment to Hong Kong and promote economic development, more effectively safeguarding the long-term prosperity and stability of Hong Kong.

The US has established a comprehensive national security system. In recent years, Washington has enacted and implemented multiple national security-related laws, strengthening the protection of key technologies and infrastructure, particularly in areas such as communications, semiconductors, and artificial intelligence. 

Benefiting from the protection of core technologies, the US has maintained a long-term advantage in technological competition, attracting a large amount of technology innovation funds, driving the development of related industries and economic growth. 

In China's Macao Special Administrative Region, since the implementation of the Law on Safeguarding National Security in 2009, it has achieved remarkable economic achievements. Macao's GDP per capita increased from about $40,000 in 2009 to about $90,000 in 2023, achieving significant growth. In the ranking of the wealthiest regions around the world in 2023 published by the American financial magazine Global Finance, Macao ranked fifth globally.

The examples mentioned above demonstrate that the establishment of legislation related to safeguarding national security can create a more stable and reliable legal environment for the country and region, protect key sectors and resources, attract more foreign investment and innovative activities, thereby stimulating economic development to a certain extent, and enhancing the competitiveness of the country and region.

National security is not a choice, but a responsibility. If Hong Kong were to complete the legislation of Article 23 of the Basic Law sooner, it could eliminate uncertainties in the field of national security sooner, focus all efforts on economic development sooner, and work together to ensure the long-term prosperity, stability, and well-being of Hong Kong residents.

The draft of the Basic Law Article 23 legislation: Safeguarding National Security bill recently announced by the HKSAR Government not only fully respects and safeguards human rights, but also adopts higher human rights protection standards than some Western countries. In terms of sentencing, unlike countries such as the US that have the death penalty as the highest punishment, life imprisonment is set as the most severe penalty in the draft of the Basic Law Article 23 legislation. 

The national security law draft draws on the legislative experience of other countries, especially common law countries, aligns with international practices and rules, and also incorporates existing legal provisions familiar to Hong Kong society. The draft law clearly stipulates the protection of property and investments within the HKSAR, ensuring the prosperity and stability of the region.

Hong Kong has long been known for its strong rule of law, which is the cornerstone of its success. It is believed that after the legislation of Article 23 of the Basic Law, the relevant departments in Hong Kong will continue to maintain high standards and strictly adhere to the rule of law, especially the common law system in Hong Kong.

Article 23 of the Basic Law will be enacted to punish the very few individuals attempting to commit crimes endangering national security, protect the legitimate rights of the vast majority of Hong Kong residents, and uphold the harmony, stability, and prosperity of the entire economy and society.

We have reason to believe that the legislation of Article 23 of the Basic Law will enable Hong Kong to enjoy the various benefits related to safeguarding national security, just like other countries and regions. The legislation will bring stability and security, effectively maintain social order, make residents' lives more peaceful, and allow people to better focus on economic development and innovation.

The implementation of legislation for safeguarding national security on Article 23 of the Basic Law also makes Hong Kong more attractive, able to attract more foreign investment. Companies and investors will see the value of Hong Kong as a safe and reliable business center and be willing to invest their funds here. This will bring huge economic opportunities to Hong Kong, promote job growth, and wealth accumulation. 

More importantly, the implementation of legislation of Article 23 of the Basic Law will also strengthen economic cooperation between Hong Kong and the mainland. The central government will support Hong Kong with greater efforts, providing more development opportunities and policy support, further deepening the close ties between Hong Kong and the mainland, helping Hong Kong seize the vast opportunities brought by national development and achieve mutual economic benefits.

The author is chairman of the China Silk Road iValley Research Institute.