Statement of the Chief Executive on the interpretation of the Law on Safeguarding National Security in Hong Kong by the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress
On November 28, I submitted a report to the Central People's Government (CPG) as required by the CPG in accordance with Article 11 of the Hong Kong National Security Law. In the report, I recommended that a request be made to the NPCSC to issue an interpretation in accordance with Article 65 of the Hong Kong National Security Law in order to clarify the question: "Based on the legislative intent and objectives of the Hong Kong National Security Law, can an overseas solicitor or barrister who is not qualified to practise generally in Hong Kong participate by any means in the handling of work in cases concerning offence endangering national security?".
Today the NPCSC made an interpretation of Article 14 and Article 47 of the Hong Kong National Security Law. I welcome and thank the NPCSC for the interpretation.
The NPCSC's interpretation has clarified the following points:
- In accordance with Article 14, the Committee for Safeguarding National Security of the HKSAR (Committee) has the power to make evaluation and decision on whether an issue concerning national security is involved. The decision of the Committee may be legally implemented, and should be respected and implemented by the executive authorities, legislature, judiciary, etc, and any organisations of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR).
- The courts of the HKSAR shall request and obtain a certificate from the Chief Executive to certify whether an act involves national security or whether the relevant evidence involves State secrets when such questions arise in the adjudication of a case. The certificate so issued shall be binding on the court.
- The question as to "whether an overseas lawyer who is not qualified to practise generally in Hong Kong may act as the defence counsel or litigation agent in a case concerning national security offence" is a question that requires certification under Article 47 of the Hong Kong National Security Law, and a certificate from the Chief Executive should be obtained. If the courts of the HKSAR have not obtained the certificate issued by the Chief Executive, the Committee should carry out its duty under Article 14 of the Hong Kong National Security Law to make evaluation and decision on such situation and question.
The Committee and the HKSAR Government will fully implement the duties stipulated in the contents of the interpretation. In particular, the Committee will make evaluation and decision on whether "the participation of overseas lawyers who are not qualified to practise generally in Hong Kong in a national security case" involves national security issues, and the policies to be adopted in this regard. The HKSAR Government will implement the Committee's evaluation and decision on such question, and actively consider introducing amendments to the Legal Practitioners Ordinance.
The NPCSC's interpretation of the provisions of the Hong Kong National Security Law made pursuant to the power conferred by the Constitution and the Hong Kong National Security Law has clarified the meaning of the relevant provisions of the Hong Kong National Security Law. It establishes principles and is of great significance in the further improvement of the legal system and enforcement mechanisms for safeguarding national security of the HKSAR, and the effective safeguarding of national security .
The HKSAR Government steadfastly safeguards national sovereignty, security and development interests, and upholds the authority of the Hong Kong National Security Law. It resolutely carries out its duties and obligations to safeguard national security in accordance with the law, and to ensure the steadfast and successful implementation of "one country, two systems".
Ends/Friday, December 30, 2022
Issued at HKT 23:22
Issued at HKT 23:22