Wednesday

21st Oct 2020

Letter

Right of Reply from Hong Kong Economic and Trade Affairs to EU office

Dear Editor,

I refer to your op-ed by Sarah Brooks and Judith Lichtenberg, 'If EU wants rule of law in China, it must help 'dissident' lawyers' of 10 July 2020 which touches on the National Security Law of Hong Kong.

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Become an expert on Europe

Get instant access to all articles — and 20 years of archives. 14-day free trial.

... or subscribe as a group

Thank you for your interest in Hong Kong. We respect different views and comments on the National Security Law. It will be helpful if such views and comments are evidence-based.

We would like to point out some facts to enable your readers to form informed opinion.

The Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) is an inalienable part of the People's Republic of China (PRC) and a local administrative region which enjoys a high degree of autonomy and comes directly under the Central People's Government.

As the highest organ of state power in the PRC, the National People's Congress has the constitutional power and duty to enact national law to safeguard national security in the HKSAR (i.e. the Law of the People's Republic of China on Safeguarding National Security in the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (the National Security Law) adopted on June 30) and to apply it to Hong Kong by promulgation in accordance with the provisions of the Basic Law.

The objective of the National Security Law is to restore stability to Hong Kong.

It targets four specific acts and activities, namely, secession, subversion, terrorism, and collusion with foreign countries and external forces to endanger national security.

In the past year, peaceful demonstrations in Hong Kong have been hijacked by radicals causing massive vandalism.

The nature of peaceful demonstration has ultimately mutated into a movement for the independence of Hong Kong. It is an undeniable fact that many ordinary Hong Kong residents and the business community are tired of the continued social unrest.

It is against the aforesaid background that the national security is introduced.

The National Security Law is implemented by the Hong Kong Police and cases are to be adjudicated by the independent judiciary in Hong Kong.

The Implementation Rules made and gazetted by the HKSAR Government, which has become effective on 7 July 2020, includes safeguards and procedures to ensure that enforcement action is proportionate and genuinely serve the purpose of safeguarding national security.

Only under very rare and extreme situation when there is an imminent threat to national security and when it is beyond the capacity of HKSAR to safeguard national security will the Mainland Chinese authorities take up enforcement actions.

It is clearly stipulated under Article 4 of the National Security Law that the principle of respecting and protecting human rights shall be upheld in safeguarding national security.

The legitimate rights of Hong Kong citizens to exercise their freedom of speech, of the press, of assembly, of demonstration, and of procession in accordance with the Basic Law and the provisions of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights should not be compromised.

It is however relevant to note that under the above-mentioned International Covenants, it is clearly stipulated that certain basic rights and freedoms of individuals can be restricted through legislation for the purpose of safeguarding national security.

The National Security Law will not undermine "One Country, Two Systems", the high degree of autonomy, judicial independence and the rule of law of Hong Kong.

National security law exists in many western countries as well.

No doubt national security is a sensitive issue and there are doubts on how a new piece of legislation will be implemented. Time will tell. Hong Kong will continue to be a free and open economy connecting the world to Mainland China.

Yours faithfully,

Eddie Cheung

Author bio

Eddie Cheung is special representative for Hong Kong Economic and Trade Affairs to the European Union. This office is the representation of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region government to the EU and 15 countries.

Disclaimer

The views expressed in this opinion piece are the author's, not those of EUobserver.

Interview

Antwerp's Uigher refugee from China: where's my family?

Nurehmet Burhan is a Uighur refugee in Belgium who had to leave behind his family behind in China. "My new born baby has never seen his father, he doesn't know his father, he has never kissed his father," he says.

EU prepares response to China over Hong Kong

EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell said on Monday that the European Union is preparing a "coordinated" package of EU-wide and national measures in response to China's new security law on Hong Kong.

Backroom deal will make CAP reform a catastrophic failure

MEPs will vote this week on a supposedly historical reform of the Common Agricultural Policy, which accounts for over one-third of the EU's annual budget. But as it stands, it is set to become a historical failure of catastrophic proportions.

Baltics pin hopes on Biden

On a 2016 Latvia trip, vice-president Joe Biden told Baltic leaders not to take Donald Trump seriously. "Don't listen to that other fellow. He knows not of what he speaks", Biden joked. Months later, Trump was in the White House.

News in Brief

  1. Ireland first EU state to re-impose full lockdown
  2. EU countries agree farm policy reform
  3. EU corona-bonds attracted huge demand
  4. France seeks Putin's help on counter-terrorism
  5. Cyber attacks 'targeted health system during pandemic'
  6. Greece asks EU countries to halt military exports to Turkey
  7. Covid-19: Spain considers curfews in hardest-hit areas
  8. Study: Air pollution costs Europeans €1,276 per year

Europe has forgotten the 'farm' in 'Farm to Fork'

US secretary of agriculture Sonny Perdue argues that the EU is taking an approach "more based on 'political science' than demonstrated agricultural science" in its new Farm to Fork strategy.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. UNESDAMaking healthier diets the easy choice
  2. Nordic Council of MinistersUN Secretary General to meet with Nordic Council on COVID-19
  3. UNESDAWell-designed Deposit Return Schemes can help reach Single-Use Plastics Directive targets
  4. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic Council meets Belarusian opposition leader Svetlana Tichanovskaja
  5. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic Region to invest DKK 250 million in green digitalised business sector
  6. UNESDAReducing packaging waste – a huge opportunity for circularity

Latest News

  1. 'Big majority' of citizens want EU funds linked to rule of law
  2. EU declares war on Malta and Cyprus passport sales
  3. EU Commission's Libya stance undercut by internal report
  4. Backroom deal will make CAP reform a catastrophic failure
  5. EU money used by neo-Nazi to promote Holocaust denial
  6. Over 80% of Europe's habitats in poor or bad condition
  7. EU's Brexit move could end deadlock in talks
  8. EU's migrants more at risk from coronavirus

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us