HKSAR Government condemns European Parliament resolution
A spokesman for the Government said the NSL clearly stipulates the four categories of offences that endanger national security. Law-abiding people, including Hong Kong residents and overseas tourists or investors, will not unwittingly violate the law.
The NSL also clearly stipulates that the important principles of the rule of law should be adhered to, including conviction and punishment in accordance with the law, presumption of innocence and protection of the right to defend oneself. The prosecution has the burden to prove beyond reasonable doubt that the offence was committed knowingly or intentionally by the defendant before he or she may be found guilty by the court.
As guaranteed by the law, Hong Kong residents shall have the right to confidential legal advice, access to the courts, choice of lawyers for timely protection of their lawful rights and interests or for representation in the courts, and judicial remedies.
Meanwhile, members of the legal profession shoulder the primary responsibility for upholding the rule of law by performing their duty professionally whilst observing the rules of professional conduct. In carrying out their duty, the fundamental rights and freedoms of legal practitioners, like those of all other individuals, are well protected by law. While lawyers acting professionally are pivotal to Hong Kong legal system, they are not treated any differently should they be brought before the law. Hence, it is only natural that, if a lawyer violates the law, he or she would face the same legal consequences like all others.
The spokesman said, "All law enforcement actions taken by Hong Kong law enforcement agencies are based on evidence, strictly according to the law, for the acts of the persons or entities concerned, and have nothing to do with their political stance or background. Suggestions that persons or organisations with certain backgrounds should be immune to legal sanctions for their illegal acts and activities are contrary to the rule of law.
"As a matter of fact, the NSL has stopped chaos and restored order in Hong Kong, ensuring the smooth and continuous implementation of the 'one country, two systems' principle and the long-term prosperity and stability of Hong Kong. We will continue to guard against any acts endangering national security, and will bring any person or entity violating the law to justice regardless of background."
The spokesman also stressed that the European Parliament's remarks on the Chief Executive Election held after the HKSAR's electoral system had been improved were made arbitrarily, oblivious of the fact that democracy has taken a quantum leap forward in the HKSAR since its return to the motherland in July 1997. The improved electoral system in the HKSAR has expanded the Election Committee (EC), which is responsible for electing the Chief Executive and a major portion of legislators, from 1 200 to 1 500 members and the Legislative Council (LegCo) from 70 seats to 90. The two bodies have become more representative of Hong Kong society, allowing broader public participation in political processes.
Moreover, the improved electoral system has also boosted the representativeness of the LegCo by optimising the composition of its members. Legislators are now returned by the EC, the functional groups in the functional constituencies and direct elections in the geographical constituencies. This allows all social sectors to be represented in a fair and balanced manner. At the same time, the EC's composition is also enriched with the addition of representatives of the small and medium-sized enterprises and grassroots organisations, extending the representative reach of the EC over the whole society while ensuring the fairness of public participation in the sociopolitical decision-making process.
The spokesman said, "After the electoral system was improved, the sixth-term Chief Executive Election was successfully held on May 8, 2022, in strict accordance with the election laws of the HKSAR in an open, fair and honest manner. The election carried an important meaning to Hong Kong for implementing 'patriots administering Hong Kong'. The eligibility of candidates for the office of the Chief Executive is determined by a statutory Candidate Eligibility Review Committee. The objective is to ensure that the candidates comply with the requirement in Article 104 of the Basic Law that they would uphold the Basic Law and swear allegiance to the HKSAR of the People's Republic of China. Such an institutional mechanism puts in place legal safeguards to ensure full application of 'patriots administering Hong Kong'. Keeping political power in the hands of patriots is a political rule commonly practised in the world. No one in any country or region in the world will ever allow political power to fall into the hands of forces or individuals who do not love, or even sell out or betray, their own country.
"The development of democracy in the HKSAR must be consistent with its constitutional order under the Constitution and the Basic Law and the 'one country, two systems' principle, as well as with the political, economic, social, cultural and historical circumstances of the HKSAR. Improving the electoral system, ensuring 'patriots administering Hong Kong' and safeguarding the overall interests of society are conducive to the stable development of Hong Kong's democracy."
Ends/Friday, July 8, 2022
Issued at HKT 17:55
Issued at HKT 17:55