China’s top legislature reviewed a draft law on safeguarding national security in the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) of the People’s Republic of China.
The draft law was submitted for deliberation at the 19th session of the Standing Committee of the 13th National People’s Congress (NPC) from Thursday to Saturday.
Entrusted by the Council of Chairpersons of the NPC Standing Committee, an official with the Legislative Affairs Commission of the NPC Standing Committee explained the draft law to the session Thursday.
With 66 articles, the draft law has six chapters, namely the general principles; the HKSAR’s duties and institutions of safeguarding national security; crimes and penalties; jurisdiction over national security cases, application of law and procedures; institutions of the Central People’s Government in the HKSAR for safeguarding national security; and supplementary provisions.
The draft law specifies the fundamental responsibility of the Central People’s Government and the constitutional responsibility of the HKSAR for safeguarding national security.
In safeguarding national security, the HKSAR shall uphold the principle of the rule of law, according to which the HKSAR shall respect and protect human rights, and anyone shall be presumed innocent until convicted by the judicial organs, according to the draft law.
The draft requires the HKSAR to establish a commission of safeguarding national security which shall be supervised by and accountable to the Central People’s Government.
The HKSAR commission of safeguarding national security shall be chaired by the Chief Executive and establish the post of the national security adviser, who shall be appointed by the Central People’s Government, it says.
The draft makes stipulations on what constitutes four categories of crimes that threaten national security and their corresponding penalties, including secession, subversion of state power, terrorist activities, and collusion with foreign or external forces to endanger national security.
Except in specific circumstances, the HKSAR shall exercise jurisdiction over criminal cases stipulated in this law, the draft says.