China’s Liaison Office in Hong Kong claims that Hong Kong leaders fully support the new law and wish to see it applied as soon as possible. No opposition leader or critic were invited. For pro-Beijing Elsie Leung, it is better not to publish the text of the law because it could cause unrest.
Hong Kong (AsiaNews) – China’s Liaison Office[*] in Hong Kong said that all the people they met “unanimously expressed support for the national security law for Hong Kong.”
The Standing Committee of the National People's Congress is currently working on a security bill to punish and prevent acts and activities of subversion, secession, terrorism and collaboration with foreign forces that interfere in the affairs of the city.
The bill, prepared by Beijing, is expected to become law by 30 June, but so far, no one in Hong Kong, to which it is supposed to apply, has seen its content, except for some vague guidelines cited by Xinhua, sparking discussions and criticisms in the territory.
Things are different for the Liaison Office. After meeting 120 representatives from various social sectors, China’s agency in Hong Kong believes the bill has their “unanimous support", and that they hope that “the law could be implemented as soon as possible”.
However, neither opposition lawmakers nor the bill’s critics were invited to meet the Liaison Office. Opponents fear that the bill will undermine Hong Kong’s way of life, which is far freer than in the mainland.
The Liaison Office has tried to assuage such sentiments, noting that "the legislation will be another guardian angel that will allow them to better enjoy the benefits of one country, two systems and to live, work, and start business under a safer, more stable, and more harmonious social environment.”
Despite the nice words, for many in Hong Kong, if Beijing really wanted to allay fears, it would publish the text of the bill before adopting it, and heed criticisms in order to fix it.
Pro-Beijing politician Elsie Leung (picture 4) backs the bill. Speaking on RTHK,[†] Leung said it may not be a good idea to publish the entire draft of the national security law if it leads to strong opposition, vandalism and even disturbances.
For more than a year, Hong Kong has been shaken by pro-democracy protests, which began with opposition to a law that would allow the extradition of criminal suspects to mainland China (which the new security law will make possible).
In general, the protests have been peaceful, despite some groups who say that “silence and refusal to listen are the cause of their violent acts.”
Photos 1,2,3: HKFP
[*] Liaison Office of the Central People's Government in the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region.
[†] Radio Television Hong Kong.