Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam says national security law will not hamper judicial independence

Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam says national security law will not hamper judicial independence

Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam attends the opening session of NPC in Beijing
Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam attends the opening session of the National People's Congress (NPC) at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, China, May 22, 2020. (Photo: Reuters/Carlos Garcia Rawlins)

HONG KONG: Hong Kong's government said on Friday (May 22) that plans by Beijing to impose national security legislation on the city would not affect its judicial independence or that of its legal entities. 

Hong Kong's chief executive Carrie Lam said the city would "fully cooperate" with Beijing over a national security law for the semi-autonomous territory, after lawmakers introduced a draft proposal at the National People's Congress.

She said in a statement that the Hong Kong government will "complete the legislation as soon as possible to discharge its responsibility of safeguarding national security".

READ: US warns China against 'highly destabilising' Hong Kong move

"The decision and the enactment of the national law will be able to establish and improve the legal framework and enforcement mechanisms for the (Hong Kong Special Administrative Region) to safeguard national security," she said.

"They will not affect the legitimate rights and freedoms enjoyed by Hong Kong residents under the law, or the independent judicial power, including that of final adjudication, exercised by the judiciary in Hong Kong."

READ: Calls for protest march in Hong Kong as China pushes new security laws

Mrs Lam said Beijing's intention was to tackle activities that the government believes damages national security.

She said: "The HKSAR Government noted that the decision only targets acts of secession, subverting state power and organising and carrying out terrorist activities, as well as activities interfering with the HKSAR's internal affairs by foreign or external forces. 

"These are exactly the situations which the political and business sectors in Hong Kong and members of the public have been worrying about over the past year."

The Hong Kong government faced an "increasingly serious situation" with respect to national security, she said, and noted the difficulties authorities faced in completing their own legislation for safeguarding national security.

"The HKSAR Government supports the (National People's Congress') deliberation of the decision to establish and improve at the national level the legal system and enforcement mechanisms for the HKSAR to safeguard national security," she said.

READ: China law requires Hong Kong to enact national security rules as soon as possible

Mrs Lam made reference in her statement to the protests that rocked the city over a controversial extradition Bill.

"The violence associated with the disturbances arising from the legislative exercise of the Fugitive Offenders Bill since June last year has been escalating and the emergence of various incidents involving explosives and firearms has posed the risk of terrorism, seriously jeopardising public safety," she said.

She said organisations calling for "Hong Kong independence" and "self-determination" incited protester vandalism and mobilisation of international support to interfere with the city's internal affairs.

MORE: Our coverage of the Hong Kong protests

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Source: Agencies/aa