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Security law gives HK a bright future

By GANG WEN in Hong Kong | CHINA DAILY | Updated: 2021-07-01 07:28

People cross a street decorated with national flags and Hong Kong Special Administrative Region flags to celebrate the 24th anniversary of Hong Kong's return to the motherland in Tsim Sha Tsui East, Hong Kong, on Tuesday. EDMOND TANG/CHINA DAILY

Representatives of different sectors in Hong Kong envisage a brighter future for the city after the implementation of its National Security Law marked a turning point and put the city back on track following social unrest in 2019.

Their remarks came as the city celebrated the first anniversary of the implementation of the National Security Law for Hong Kong, which came into effect on June 30 last year.

The enactment of the National Security Law for Hong Kong marked "a major turning point "for the city as it has enabled the city to perform its constitutional duties in safeguarding national sovereignty, security and development interests, Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor said.

Noting the positive outcomes that the law has brought to the city in the past year, Lam, in reports by local media on Wednesday, pointed out that the law better protected not only the basic rights and freedoms of residents, but also, in a milestone move, "one country, two systems".

She pledged that the government will continue to strengthen relevant work and improve Hong Kong residents' awareness of national security.

Noting that safeguarding national security is a shared responsibility for Hong Kong residents, the city's new chief secretary, John Lee Ka-chiu, promised that the government will continue to engage the public and raise awareness of national security and the rule of law.

Lee, the city's former security chief, said the enactment of the law filled a legal void in safeguarding national security in Hong Kong following its return to the motherland and brought law and order back to the financial hub.

A spokesperson for the Hong Kong Security Bureau said the law has effectively reduced the crime rate, as the number of arson cases in the second half of last year dropped by 80 percent compared with the first half of last year, and criminal damage cases were down 40 percent.

Zheng Yanxiong, head of the Office for Safeguarding National Security of the Central People's Government in the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region, said the National Security Law has brought stability and law and order back to the city.

In an interview with East Week, a Hong Kong-based Chinese-language magazine, he said that without the National Security Law, it would be impossible for the city to maintain its unique advantages and continue to shine as the Pearl of the Orient.

Such sentiments about the significance of the National Security Law for Hong Kong are shared by residents.

According to a telephone survey of 1,509 people conducted by the Hong Kong-based Bauhinia Research Institute between June 23 and June 28, 82.6 percent said social order and public safety in Hong Kong have been improved since the law took effect, while 71.9 percent said the law boosted their confidence in "one country, two systems".

The latest statistics from the Hong Kong Security Bureau show that since the National Security Law for Hong Kong came into force, the national security unit of the police force has arrested 117 suspects, over half of whom have been prosecuted.

Lawrence Tang Fei, principal of Hong Kong's Heung To Secondary School (Tseung Kwan O), said the city's National Security Law also brought some changes to schools and helped students to correct their wrong understanding of the national anthem and national flag.

Tang said that with the law in place, the school is now free of political activities and melodramas.

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