Beijing official Zhang Xiaoming said on Monday that the incoming national security law will actually give the people of Hong Kong more freedom, rather than curtailing it as some fear.
Zhang, who is one of the deputy directors of the Hong Kong and Macau Affairs Office (HKMAO), said the law will only “give more room to One Country, Two Systems”.
"For the majority of the citizens, the legislation will give them more protection. They can be free from the fear of violence. They can ride the train and go shopping freely. They can speak the truth on the street without the fear of being beaten up," he said.
"In particular, they no longer have to worry about young people being brainwashed into breaking the law on impulse and leaving life-long criminal records. There will be hope in Hong Kong's future".
Zhang said it appears that the current unrest in the SAR will last for a long time and will threaten national security.
He said Taiwan and external forces such as the United States have been fuelling the protests, making Beijing's intervention necessary.
“They have mistaken the restraint and the tolerance shown by the central and the SAR government as weakness. They have gone too far,” Zhang said in a keynote speech during an online Basic Law seminar.
He also rebuffed suggestions that the national security law will allow mainland officials to bring anyone in Hong Kong across the border to face trial on the mainland.
This rumour stems from people's lack of trust and understanding of mainland's rule of law - whose improvement has gained recognition worldwide over the years, he said.
Chief Executive Carrie Lam also gave a speech during the seminar, saying it’s perfectly understandable why Beijing has to impose the national security law in Hong Kong after people had advocated independence, self-determination and referendums, as well as "other activities that harm the country’s sovereignty and security."
Zhang was director of the HKMAO office up until February when he was demoted as part of a shake-up, with former Zhejiang party secretary Xia Baolong taking the top position.
Security law to bring freedom, hope: Zhang Xiaoming
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