The National Security Law for Hong Kong has had a profound impact since its enactment on June 30, 2020, ending the era of lawlessness, bringing back peace and stability. A city famed for its decency and tolerance has reasserted its values and triumphed over those who wished it ill.
Although the insurrection of the anti-fugitive surrender movement in 2019 and 2020 was designed to destroy Hong Kong, wreck the “One Country, Two Systems” principle and provoke a confrontation with the central government, the new law has thwarted this. While the police force did outstanding work in protecting the city, it lacked essential tools. This played directly into the hands of the subversives and their foreign backers, although they are now on the back foot.
The radical protesters’ armed wing indulged in the wanton destruction of public facilities and private enterprises, turned the universities into bomb-making factories and paralyzed much of the city’s infrastructure. While its secessionists manufactured high explosives and preached division, terror-type tactics were deployed to brutalize people who held different opinions or came from other parts of the country. The Civic Party’s legislators even implored the US Congress to enact laws which would undermine Hong Kong’s trading status and harm its officials, and it duly obliged.
This situation was intolerable, and Hong Kong’s unique constitutional status was in real danger. Once, however, the National Security Law was enacted, the tables were turned, and the police finally had the laws they needed to defend Hong Kong and its people. Whereas secessionist groups disbanded and subversives fled abroad, many of their associates, including the proxies of foreign powers, simply went to ground.
One striking feature of the National Security Law has been its minimalist nature. When enacting it, the National People’s Congress confined it to those laws that were immediately required to combat the existential threats, involving subversion, secession, terrorism and collusion with foreign powers.
Although the National Security Law has enabled Hong Kong to protect itself, it is not a panacea. Electoral system improvement has also been required to ensure the city has a properly functioning Legislative Council, capable of looking after people’s livelihoods and supporting national imperatives. Although there can no longer be any place for those who wish to frustrate the “One Country, Two Systems” principle, let alone promote the interests of foreign powers, there is certainly a role for people of different political persuasions. All that is required of them is that they love the motherland and love Hong Kong, which is not unreasonable.
The principle of “patriots administering Hong Kong” is central to future stability, and, in determining if a prospective candidate is genuine in undertaking to uphold the Basic Law and pledging allegiance to the Hong Kong SAR, the new Candidate Eligibility Review Committee will be assisted by the assessments of the police force’s National Security Department, as well as by the Committee for Safeguarding National Security, chaired by the chief executive. Never again will unpatriotic individuals be able to infiltrate the city’s democratic institutions, let alone sabotage its governance from within.
Whereas the social disturbances, compounded by the COVID-19 pandemic, took a heavy toll on Hong Kong’s economy, the return of stability is seeing it bounce back. Although it suffered its worst ever contraction in 2020, the economy grew by 7.9 per cent in the first quarter of 2021, the biggest quarterly jump in 11 years. This was due to a big increase in exports, with local retail rebounding with a 20.1 per cent year-on-year increase in March.
Indeed, in its latest financial system stability assessment, the International Monetary Fund says Hong Kong’s financial system remains resilient to future financial shocks and crises. This reflects the city’s commitment to safeguarding financial stability, which is underpinned by strong institutional frameworks and market infrastructures. With its global reach, traditional attributes and new strengths, Hong Kong now has a great future, not only in the Greater Bay Area but also in helping China to realize its full potential in the 21st century.
This article was republished from CGTN 30 June 2021. Click here to read the original article. Editor’s note from original publication: The article reflects the author’s opinions and not necessarily those of CGTN.