HK celebrates first National Security Education Day after legislation of Article 23

China's Central government official Xia Baolong kicked off a high-profile opening ceremony of an event in Hong Kong Special Administration Region (HKSAR) marking the 10th anniversary of a holistic approach to national security on Monday when the city celebrated the first National Security Education Day after legislation of Article 23.

Xia, head of the Hong Kong and Macao Work Office of the Communist Party of China Central Committee and the Hong Kong and Macao Affairs Office of the State Council, highlighted Hong Kong as the best destination in the world for business, making money and realizing dreams with the national security guarantee firmly in place.

Xia made the remarks via video link, according to the Commissioner's Office of China's Foreign Ministry in the HKSAR.

Xia stated that the unanimous passage of the Safeguarding National Security Ordinance by the Hong Kong Legislative Council on March 23 is a milestone event that has a profound influence on Hong Kong's transition from governance to prosperity and long-term stability.

After the completion of the legislation of Article 23 of the Basic Law, it is believed that investors have cast their votes of confidence in Hong Kong with real investments. This shows that Hong Kong remains the best place in the world in terms of business environment, Xia said.

While stressing that "one country, two systems" is Hong Kong's greatest strength, the Chinese senior official said that Hong Kong's role as an important bridge and window connecting the mainland and the world will become more prominent, emphasizing that the central government fully supports Hong Kong's transition from governance to prosperity, with "more measures to support and benefit Hong Kong to follow."

Hong Kong's prosperity "cannot be talked down by a few articles, noises or jeers," and Hong Kong's development cannot be obstructed by mere obstacles, Xia said.

HKSAR Chief Executive John Lee also addressed the ceremony, asking the city to be vigilant of acts and activities endangering national security.

Hostile forces will continue to attack Hong Kong for political gain, just like a virus that will not disappear simply because Hong Kong has been vaccinated. Hong Kong cannot "forget the pain once the wound heals" and must take preventive measures, Lee said.

Calling the legislation of Article 23 "an efficient vaccine" to safeguard national security, Lee urged that work that lies ahead be improved including better clarifying and interpretating the provision concerning the legislation, strengthening intelligence collection and analysis capabilities to guard against espionage and infiltration and sabotage by foreign forces, and promoting national security education, patriotism education, and Chinese cultural education.

Separately, several attendees of the ceremony reached by the Global Times on Monday expressed their confidence toward the future prosperity of Hong Kong.

Willy Fu, a law professor who is also director of the Chinese Association of Hong Kong & Macao Studies, told the Global Times on Monday that the holistic approach to national security is of great significance steering the "patriots governing Hong Kong" in the right direction, and opening a new chapter in the practice of "one country, two systems" and the development of Hong Kong.

Willy Fu noted that as long as the principle of "patriots governing Hong Kong" is firmly implemented and the path of democratic development in line with the reality of Hong Kong is steadily followed, it will certainly provide solid political support for the governance and prosperity of Hong Kong.

Hong Kong lawmaker Elizabeth Quat Pui-fan, who also attended the ceremony, believes that after the completion of Article 23 legislation, Hong Kong should focus on striving to improve the economy, seeking development and protecting people's livelihood. It should also refute those who smear Hong Kong with the fact that Hong Kong continues to be brilliant.

Elizabeth Quat added that with the ever-changing international situation and hostile forces eyeing us, the risk of jeopardizing national security still exists. She urged the city to stay alert to any uneasy factors and risks, to ensure that riots like those in 2019 are not repeated and to provide a solid guarantee for prosperity.

Louis Chen, a member of the Election Committee and general secretary of the Hong Kong Legal Exchange Foundation, told the Global Times that "as a personal experience of Hong Kong's transformation from chaos to governance and from governance to prosperity, I feel that the security conditions in Hong Kong today have not come easily, and I will be better able to contribute to Hong Kong's development in my own field in the future."

Also, on occasion of celebrating the National Security Education Day on Monday, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Lin Jian said at a regular press briefing that under the guidance of the holistic approach to national security, China's sovereignty, security and development interests have been comprehensively safeguarded, and the overall social situation has maintained long-term stability. China has become one of the most secure and safest countries in the world.

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