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HK chief: Residents' human rights unaffected by national security law
July 06,2021   By:CGTN
July 6, 2021 -- The national security law for Hong Kong only targets an "extremely small minority of criminals" that endanger national security. At the same time, the human rights and freedom enjoyed by the overwhelming majority of the residents will not be affected at all, said Carrie Lam, chief executive of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR), on Monday.
 
Lam made the remarks at a legal forum on the national security law – officially known as the Law of the People's Republic of China on Safeguarding National Security in the HKSAR.
 
The forum, hosted by the Department of Justice of the HKSAR government, was held a few days after the first anniversary of the law's implementation. 
 
Lam stressed that enacting the law was aimed at ensuring the full and faithful implementation of the "One Country, Two Systems" policy, safeguarding national security and maintaining prosperity and stability in the city.
 
Terming the implementation of the law a "major turning point" in Hong Kong's transition from chaos to order, she said stability has been restored in society, and riots have disappeared after the law came into force.
 
"People's life and property are protected and they can once again enjoy their legitimate rights and freedoms," Lam said.
 
She criticized some foreign politicians and media outlets that continue to "query and even smear" the law with allegations that it would undermine human rights and suppress the freedom of speech.
 
"What happened in the past year and various data show that these accusations could hardly stand up to challenge," she said. "They, on the contrary, only underscore the hypocrisy, bias and double standards of the critics."
 
Taking press freedom as an example, Lam noted that there was an increase in the numbers of local, overseas and online media organizations registering in the HKSAR government's news and media information system over the past year.
 
"The media and the general public exercise their right to monitor the government's work and the freedom of criticizing policies every day, while overseas media disseminate information about the national security law continuously, interviewing people with various stances without any interference," she said.
 
Meanwhile, she stressed that the rule of law and judicial independence in Hong Kong are "as robust as ever" and that the city's status as an international financial center has not wavered at all after the implementation of the law.
 
The law was passed on June 30 last year at a session of the Standing Committee of the 13th National People's Congress, China's top legislature. It defines four categories of offenses – secession, subversion, terrorist activities, and collusion with a foreign country or external elements to endanger national security – and their corresponding penalties.
 
"As of June 30 this year, 117 criminal suspects were arrested, of which 64 were prosecuted, and the first case involving the national security law is in the court for trial," Lam said.
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