The central government has published the second draft of its national security laws which specifically mentioned that the Hong Kong government has the responsibility to ensure national security.
The draft came at a time when mainland and Hong Kong government officials alike were warning of a growing sentiment of independence in Hong Kong.
The document did not specifically spell out any threats of separatism. But it stated that the people of Hong Kong, Macau, Taiwan and the mainland share the same aspiration and duty to protect the nation’s sovereignty and territorial integrity.
In a different chapter, the draft stated that local governments should manage national security in accordance with the law and that the governments of Hong Kong and Macau have the responsibility to ensure national security.
The draft was tabled for a second reading by the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress last month.
It has now been published online with an aim “to seek advice from members of the public”.
The “consultation” will end next month.
The legislation is designed to replace counter-espionage laws which came into effect in 1993.
The Deputy Director of the Basic Law Committee, Elsie Leung, said the proposed law will only apply to Hong Kong after the central government had consulted the city and appended the new law to the territory’s Basic Law.
She said Hong Kong has still not enacted anti-subversion laws but citizens living on “every inch of Chinese soil” had the duty to safeguard the nation’s security.
Democratic Party lawmaker, James To, who is also a member of the Legislative Council’s Panel on Security, said he was not worried that the implementation of the national security laws would breach the One Country, Two Systems principle in Hong Kong.