- As per the new arrangement, China’s intelligence agents would henceforth operate openly in Hong Kong for the first time.
- Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam called it a “historic moment” to open the National Security Defense Office.
- Luo Huining, head of the Hong Kong-Beijing liaison office, stated that the office would be “the envoy for Hong Kong’s safety and is also the gatekeeper of national security.”
The Chinese government has opened a “National Security Safeguard Office” in Hong Kong, as enshrined in the newly adopted controversial national security law. The move comes barely a week after the enforcement of the new legislation, imposed on the city of Hong Kong by Beijing.
As per the new arrangement, China’s intelligence agents would henceforth operate openly in Hong Kong for the first time, thanks to the tough dictates enshrined in the new security law. The controversial, dictatorial law is undoubtedly a public display by China of its tightening control over the semi-autonomous region.
The new body, which is under the auspices of the Chinese government, will “oversee, guide, coordinate and support” the Executive of Hong Kong on national security issues, while “making proposals on strategies and policies.”
As reported by China’s news agency, Xinhua, the newly created Office will also gather and analyze information on national security, and deal with crimes that pose a risk to national security.
Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam called it a “historic moment” to open the National Security Defense Office. “Today’s unveiling ceremony is a historic moment because we are witnessing another milestone in the establishment of a sound legal system and enforcement mechanism for maintaining national security in Hong Kong,” Chief Executive Carrie Lam said at a speech during an inauguration ceremony for the new office.
Carrie Lam has, for a long time, been labeled by the Hong Kong demonstrators as a Chinese puppet, and one of the demonstrator’s demands last year was that she should be removed from the position. On his part, Luo Huining, head of the Hong Kong-Beijing liaison office, stated that the office would be “the envoy for Hong Kong’s safety and is also the gatekeeper of national security.”
The opening of the new security office in the semi-autonomous region is just but one of the consequences that Hong Kong has to bear with following the enactment of the controversial security law by the China National People’s Congress.
The law which came into force on June 30, establishes life sentences for cases that it deems “secession, subversion against state power, terrorist activities and collusion with foreign forces to endanger national security.”
As per the provisions of the new law, Hong Kong police now have a green light to enforce the new legislation, contested by lawyers, activists, journalists as well as a number of western nations.
China came up with the law following repeated warnings by the Communist Party of China against dissent in Hong Kong. Beijing was shaken in 2019 by seven months of demonstrations in defense of democratic reforms, which often were marked by clashes with the police. The demonstrations led to the arrest of more than 9,000 people.
Hong Kong was returned to China in 1997 by Britain under an agreement that guaranteed the territory 50 years of autonomy and freedoms unknown to mainland China. It was known in Beijing as “One Country, Two Systems.” Evidently, China has elected to contradict the entire agreement.