Hong Kong, May 23 (IANS) Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam has insisted that the city's freedoms and fundamentals would remain sound as she welcomed a national security law to be passed by China that would require new institutions to safeguard sovereignty and allow for mainland agencies to operate when needed.
Speaking hours after a resolution on the legislation presented to China's top legislative body, the National People's Congress (NPC), Lam on Friday night sought to assure residents and investors that the law would protect, rather than hurt, their rights, reports the South China Morning Post (SCMP) newspaper.
She maintained that it would not undermine the governing principle of "one country, two systems" for Hong Kong, its high degree of autonomy or the cherished principle of "Hong Kong people administering Hong Kong".
"It will also provide the best system to ensure prosperity and stability in Hong Kong. It won't affect the capitalist system and rule of law in Hong Kong. It won't affect foreign investors' interests that are legally protected in Hong Kong," she said.
Instead, it would create a stable environment for everyone without the "threat of terrorism", she said, recalling how the city had suffered from the anti-government protests and petrol bomb attacks over the past year.
But her administration had not been able to enact the law on its own given the "mutual destruction" philosophy of the protesters and opposition politicians determined to paralyse the legislature, Lam added.
Lam met the press with her full cabinet, in a display of unity against a banner that read "full support" for Beijing's decision to establish and improve the legal system and enforcement mechanism for Hong Kong to safeguard national security.
According to a seven-point resolution on the law which was laid out on Friday by Wang Chen, a Vice-Chairman of the NPC Standing Committee, the city would need to set up institutions to improve its legal system and enforce and safeguard national security, the SCMP report said.
The law would also authorise relevant national security organs of the central government to set up agencies in Hong Kong to protect national security when needed.
The legislation would prohibit "secessionist" and "subversive" activity, as well as "foreign interference" and "organising of terrorist acts" in the city, according to Wang.
Hong Kong's opposition camp denounced the move, calling it a violation of "one country, two systems".
Jimmy Sham, convenor of the Civil Human Rights Front, said it would rally its supporters against the new law.
The American Chamber of Commerce in Hong Kong, in a strongly worded statement, warned that the law would undermine the city's status as a business hub and worsen the risks it faced being caught in the trade war between Beijing and Washington.
The city also braced for more protests as activists began airdropping pamphlets on residents' mobile phones about planned demonstrations over the weekend.