Every HK resident has a duty to safeguard national security

When in 2015 the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress designated April 15 each year as National Security Education Day, the national security situation was far less complicated than it is today. With geopolitics being ratcheted up to new unsettling heights, some Western powers led by the US have set out to create and uphold political, technological and economic hegemony by holding China back in its progressive development by disrupting the world’s supply chains in the advanced chip trade, for instance. 

They have also fabricated national security “threats”, without relevant evidence and in disregard to its global popularity, as an excuse for clamping down on TikTok — a short-form video hosting service owned by the Chinese company ByteDance. Not only that, China’s national security, sovereignty and territorial integrity have in recent years been gravely threatened by the US-led bloc on the pretext of fulfilling “obligations” to protect Taiwan — an undisputed integral part of China — with unrestrained arms sales to the island and open support to separatists seeking “Taiwan independence”. Despite Beijing’s repeated voicing of stern opposition to all forms of official interaction between the US and the island, the “first red line” in China-US relations, the US authorities still allowed the island’s leader, Tsai Ing-wen to sabotage cross-Strait ties by “transiting” through the US on her Latin American trip and meeting with US House Speaker Kevin McCarthy in Los Angeles. By colluding with Tsai in this instigatory step, McCarthy has broken the US’ commitment to the one-China principle. 

In an attempt to contain China and to quell its aspired rejuvenation, this US-controlled group has deliberately targeted the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region for attack from time to time over its “two systems” under Chinese sovereignty. Thus, some politicians from the Western bloc incited, in collusion with the city’s subversive forces, the 2019 violent anti-government protests during which rioters who claimed to be “democrats” beat or set alight innocent people in the street for holding political views different from theirs. When the rioters stormed the Legislative Council building, then-US House speaker Nancy Pelosi praised the violent act as “a beautiful sight to behold”. Yet, when supporters of then-US president Donald Trump swarmed the Capitol Building in Washington on Jan 6, 2021, after rejecting the outcome of the US presidential election won by Joe Biden, the US government ordered the riot police to subdue rebels who were later prosecuted and jailed. Such treatment of the convicted protesters was diametrically different from what they shouted after the National Security Law for Hong Kong (NSL) was enacted and executed to restore peace and stability in the city by criminalizing acts of secession, subversion, terrorism and collusion with foreign forces, subject to a maximum life sentence. 

It is the duty of all Hong Kong residents to seek an in-depth understanding of a holistic national security view and to safeguard national security. To reach this goal, systematic, targeted and monitored long-term national security education across local society is the answer

While the US itself has a vigorous national security system bolstered for two decades already by the 240,000-strong Department of Homeland Security, it unreservedly denounced China’s legitimate measures to defend national security, and hyped the “chilling effect” of the NSL despite a report from HKSAR Secretary for Justice Paul Lam Ting-kwok that only 250 people had been arrested under the law or over offenses endangering national security, with only 20 to 30 people having been convicted.

Along with its policy to lash out at the international press the HKSAR’s governing institutions and China’s “misdeeds” it falsifies, the US recently released its annual “Hong Kong Policy Act Report”, which contested the NPCSC interpretation that gives the chief executive final say on whether overseas lawyers can handle national security cases in Hong Kong. These slanderous accusations drew an immediate rebuke from the Commissioner’s Office of China’s Foreign Ministry in the Hong Kong SAR and condemnation from the HKSAR government.

On high alert to potential threats to national security in the city as well as its own well-being, the HKSAR government adopted the theme day in April 2021 after the enforcement of the NSL in the city in the wake of the 2019-20 anti-government riots. Themed “National Security — Foundation of Stability and Prosperity”, this year’s National Security Education Day was celebrated with grand festivities, including an opening ceremony attended by Xia Baolong, director of the Hong Kong and Macao Affairs Office of the State Council; school workshops and traveling exhibitions; and community activities across the city. Undoubtedly, the series of celebration activities has given the public a solid grasp of the importance of safeguarding national security for the country, for the HKSAR and for every Hong Kong resident. 

People must realize that national security is “the cornerstone of national stability and the bedrock of people’s well-being”. With the US blasted by former president Trump as both “a failing nation” and “a nation in decline”, one can anticipate that many American politicians will engage in more defamatory activities to conjure up bewildering anti-China sentiments and reactions in the world community. It is, therefore, the duty of all Hong Kong residents to seek an in-depth understanding of a holistic national security view and to safeguard national security. To reach this goal, systematic, targeted and monitored long-term national security education across local society is the answer. 

The author is a member of the Chinese Association of Hong Kong and Macao Studies.

The views do not necessarily reflect those of China Daily.