Q: On 13 July, the Stuff published an opinion article titled “Hong Kong's national security law raises worldwide alarm”. The opinion article particularly mentioned the Article 38 of the Law, which states that “this law shall apply to offences …committed against the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region from outside the region by a person who is not a permanent resident of the region”, and expressed its worries. What’s your comment?
A: Article 38 of Law on Safeguarding National Security in Hong Kong Special Administrative Region, is actually a common practice. It embodies the principle of protective jurisdiction, which is consistent with the international law as well as the provisions of criminal laws of many countries such as Germany, France, Sweden, Denmark, Switzerland and Japan. In accordance with the laws of concerned countries, those who conduct activities that endanger their national security, either inside the countries or outside the countries, should be held responsible no matter where they are. US laws also stipulate protective jurisdiction in the areas of maintaining national security and combating terrorist crimes. In this regard, there's nothing new in the National Security Law in safeguarding Hong Kong security.
Q: Will the National Security Law for Hong Kong SAR impair the high degree of autonomy in the SAR or the rights and freedom of the Hong Kong people?
A: The National Security Law fully integrates the comprehensive jurisdiction of the Central Government and the high degree of autonomy enjoyed by Hong Kong SAR. It neither alters the current capitalist system in Hong Kong, nor changes the high degree of autonomy or the legal system in the SAR. And it does not affect Hong Kong’s administrative, legislative or independent judicial power, including that of final adjudication.
This Law clearly stipulates, “Human rights shall be respected and protected in safeguarding national security in the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region. The rights and freedoms, including the freedoms of speech, of the press, of publication, of association, of assembly, of procession and of demonstration, which the residents of the Region enjoy under the Basic Law of the HKSAR and the provisions of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights as applied to Hong Kong, shall be protected in accordance with the law.”
This Law outlined four types of criminal activities that jeopardize national security: secession, subversion, terrorist activities and collusion with a foreign country or with external elements to endanger national security. The Law targets a very few criminals but protects the great majority of Hong Kong people.
It is spelt out in the constitutions of over 100 countries that the exercise of basic rights and freedoms shall not endanger national security. The International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights makes it clear that freedoms of religious belief, expression and peaceful assembly, the right to public trial and other rights may be subject to restrictions that are necessary to protect national security, public order and so on. There are similar provisions in the European Convention on Human Rights.