The implementation rules for Article 43 of the national security law for Hong Kong took effect on Tuesday, further providing legal guarantees for police to apply the law and safeguard national interests.
When they were gazetted on Monday evening, the implementation rules — in particular seven measures that endow certain powers for police enforcement — triggered a number of questions and misunderstandings, to which Hong Kong Special Administrative Region chief executive Carrie Lam said at Tuesday’s press conference that the national security law for Hong Kong is a moderate law that only deals with imminent criminal behaviour, emphasising that the law will not create fear but restore stability to the city, Hong Kong media HK01 reported.
“The seven measures in the implementation rules clearly stipulate that the law respects human rights. If the public observes the law, there is no need to worry,” Lam said.
The implementation rules should be observed by the relevant officers when they carry out the specific measures concerned to prevent, suppress and impose punishment for offences endangering national security, and relevant offences and penalties for the effective implementation of the measures, the Xinhua News Agency reported.
The rules state seven measures for police enforcement, including search of places for evidence without a warrant under particular circumstances; restriction on persons under investigation from leaving Hong Kong; freezing, restraint, confiscation and forfeiture of property related to offences endangering national security; removal of messages endangering national security and request for assistance; requiring political organisations and agents of foreign countries and China’s Taiwan to provide information on activities concerning Hong Kong; application on authorisation for interception of communications and covert surveillance; requirement to furnish information and produce materials.
When asked whether the implementation rules are exempt from judicial review, Lam said information about the work of the committee for safeguarding national security is not made public and the relevant implementation rules cannot be reviewed or challenged.
But she noted that the implementation rules are not meant to give additional power to the police, and that the power of the rules comes from the national security law.
In response to some people saying the rules will expand police power, she emphasised that this is a misunderstanding. Lam said the rules stipulate the circumstances under which the police can use their power to enforce the law.
“The most important thing is to let time and facts show that when the regulations are strictly implemented, everyone will reduce their doubts.”
Lam believed that the requirement for social platforms or internet server providers to remove messages endangering national security is not aimed at previous cases in certain groups of people were bullied, but serve as a guarantee and must not be used at will.
“The measure should be related to the four crimes,” she said.
As for the misunderstanding that the implementation rules are aimed at expanding government power, Lam said the opposite is true.
“The rules aim to make every effort to respect human rights. The committee gives details on how police use the power, including the conditions and who will give approval, so as to reassure the public.”
Several Western countries expressed a number of opinions after the national security law for Hong Kong was enacted. Lam said this is not in line with the principle of respect between countries.
She emphasised that national security legislation is China’s internal affair and the practice is constitutional, legal and reasonable. “I don’t understand why there are so many countries paying such great attention to this,” Lam said. — Global Times.