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HKSAR LegCo unanimously passes milestone bill to better safeguard national security
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HKSAR LegCo unanimously passes milestone bill to better safeguard national security

The Legislative Council (LegCo) of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) on 19th of March, passed the safeguarding national security bill, a milestone by the HKSAR in fulfilling its constitutional duty as stipulated under Article 23 of the HKSAR Basic Law.

The bill was passed in a unanimous vote during the third reading at the LegCo. According to the HKSAR's law-making process, when a bill has been given three readings, it becomes an ordinance enacted by the LegCo.

HKSAR Chief Executive John Lee said after the vote that the passage of the bill is a "historic moment." "It is a proud moment for all of the HKSAR in collectively making glorious history," he said.

"History bears witness to this important moment, witnessing our joy, inspiration and pride, and witnessing our collective contribution to the glorious history of the HKSAR," Lee said.

After his signing, the Safeguarding National Security Ordinance will be gazetted and take effect on March 23.

The ordinance contains nine parts, including clauses on treason, insurrection, offences in connection with state secrets and espionage as well as sabotage endangering national security.

Lee said that the ordinance enables Hong Kong to effectively prevent, suppress and punish espionage activities, conspiracies and traps from foreign intelligence agencies, and infiltration and sabotage by hostile forces.

LegCo President Andrew Leung said that all members of the LegCo have the confidence that after the completion of the legislation, the development of the HKSAR will be more vibrant and the future will be better.

Leung said that LegCo members and HKSAR government officials have worked together to deliberate the bill in the past two weeks in a prudent, rigorous and comprehensive manner. The open and transparent deliberation has dispelled doubts and refuted misunderstandings, demonstrating positive interactions between the executive and legislature. It has set a good example for deliberation processes in the future.

He said that the legislation reflects the responsibility and commitment of the HKSAR government and the LegCo to the country and the people of Hong Kong. "From now on, Hong Kong will become a better place to live, visit, do business and seek development. Hong Kong will be more prosperous and stable with the economy thriving and people leading happy lives under 'one country, two systems.'"

Article 23 of the HKSAR Basic Law stipulates that Hong Kong shall enact laws on its own to prohibit any act of treason, secession, sedition, subversion against the Central People's Government, or theft of state secrets, to prohibit foreign political organizations or bodies from conducting political activities in the HKSAR, and to prohibit political organizations or bodies of the HKSAR from establishing ties with foreign political organizations or bodies.

The ordinance fully implements constitutional responsibilities stipulated under Article 23 of the HKSAR Basic Law, and is considered crucial for fixing loopholes and weak links in the HKSAR's system on protecting national security.

The legislation has been met with strong support in Hong Kong. In a public consultation conducted by the HKSAR government earlier this year, 98.6 percent of the views received showed support and gave positive comments.

On Tuesday, the Liaison Office of the Central People's Government in the HKSAR, the Office for Safeguarding National Security of the Central People's Government in the HKSAR, as well as the Commissioner's Office of the Chinese Foreign Ministry in the HKSAR all expressed congratulations on the passage of the safeguarding national security bill, saying that it set a milestone for Hong Kong's long-term stability.

XinhuaShen Yi

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