Chief Executive Carrie Lam on Friday sought to allay concerns that Beijing’s move to impose its own national security law on Hong Kong will undermine the SAR’s legal system, saying it doesn’t amend the Basic Law and that judicial independence will not be damaged.
Lam’s reassurance came after documents given to NPC delegates regarding the new law said the SAR’s “incomplete, inadaptable and unfit” legal system and enforcement mechanisms have allowed activities that endanger national security to get worse.
The draft resolution also complains that existing laws from before the handover that could have been used to tackle threats to national security have instead been left dormant.
But in a statement, Lam who is attending the opening ceremony of the NPC session in Beijing, said the new law, which will be inserted into Annex 3 of the Basic Law, will not weaken the powers of the SAR’s courts.
It “will not affect the legitimate rights and freedoms enjoyed by Hong Kong residents under the law, or the independent judicial power, including that of final adjudication, exercised by the judiciary in Hong Kong,” she said.
“The decision does not amend the Basic Law or replace or repeal Article 23 of the Basic Law, which stipulates that the HKSAR has constitutional responsibilities and legal obligations to enact laws on its own to prohibit acts that endanger national security.”
Lam said the law coming from Beijing “only targets acts of secession, subverting state power and organising and carrying out terrorist activities, as well as activities interfering with the HKSAR’s internal affairs by foreign or external forces”.
She said these are exactly the areas that the political and business sectors of Hong Kong and members of the public have been worrying about over the past year, with the ongoing protests prompting a deeper understanding of the importance of national security.
“I deeply believe that the national law to be enacted by the Standing Committee of the NPC will seek to practically and effectively prevent and curb acts and activities that seriously undermine national security, as well as sanction those who undermine national security by advocating ‘Hong Kong independence’ and resorting to violence,” she said.