|Pîx Credit: Wall Street Journal|
President Xi Jinping has signed the national security legislation Beijing has tailor-made for Hong Kong into law and it will come into effect before the end of Tuesday.The signing was reported by Xinhua news agency, which also confirmed that the country’s top legislative body, the National People’s Congress Standing Committee, had passed the law earlier in the day although specific elements of the legislation have yet to be spelt out. (National security law: Chinese President Xi Jinping signs legislation for Hong Kong)
It is of course too early to tell how Hong Kong will change. "Secretary for Justice Teresa Cheng Yeuk-wah also said a dedicated department had been set up to deal with national security cases, as she welcomed the law together with security chief John Lee Ka-chiu and the six heads of the city’s disciplined services." (National security law: Chinese President Xi Jinping signs legislation for Hong Kong). At the same time, "Pro-democracy activists in Hong Kong began to quit, fearful of the new law, and the punishment it allows." (Hong Kong security law: Minutes after new law, pro-democracy voices quit). The rumors immediately before passage provide a window on perpsectives of sectors of the Hong Kong society.
The Draft National Security Law along with the National People's Congress Explanatory Note follows in the original Chinese (中文) and in a crude English translation. At the national level, of course, the directions are general, objectives based, and provide the structural constraints. But this provides a sense of the direction of law as well as the framework within which the challenges of implementation will be addressed.
目前建制圈子盛傳，「港版國安法」將於周二（30日）上午表決通過，草案內容隨即正式發布，包括至今未曝光的四項罪行具體定義和罰則等；港府亦會宣布，於7月1日零時零分刊憲，法例即時於香港正式生效和實施。根據法工委早前公布的草案說明，中央人民政府將在香港特別行政區設立維護國家安全公署，國安公署將依法履行維護國家安全職責，行使相關權力，包括分析研判香港特別行政區維護國家安全形勢，就維護國家安全重大戰略和重要政策提出意見和建議等，同時駐港國家安全公署和國家有關機關在特定情形下對極少數危害國家安全犯罪案件行使管轄權。社會關注國安公署的組成和規模，會否如同中聯辦的翻版。據建制派消息透露，公署由一名公安部副部長領導，職級屬副部級官員，比現時中聯辦主任屬正部級為低。消息人士分析，北京以相對較低的副部級官員來港領導國安公署，是希望釋除港人對於國安法的疑慮。草案訂明，駐港國家安全公署和國家有關機關在特定情形下，對極少數危害國家安全犯罪案件行使管轄權。據悉有屬溫和派的資深政協委員向北京高層建議，為啟動有關程序加設一層「香港因素」，在一般情況下，由特首會同將成立的高層次「國家安全委員會」，決定甚麼時候到了「特定情形」的狀態，例如港府已無力自行處理時，才提請中央出手。該消息人士又說，國安公署負責人的人選，早於去年11月北京決定推港版國安法時已初步敲定，「所以當港版國安法在香港正式實施，中央便可宣布國安公署負責人的任命，初期公署可以暫駐在解放軍駐港部隊軍營之內。」[There is currently a rumor in the established circles that the "Hong Kong version of the National Security Law" will be voted through on the morning of Tuesday (30th). The draft content will be officially released immediately, including the specific definitions and penalties of the four crimes that have not been exposed so far. The Hong Kong government will also announce that It was gazetted at 0:00 on the 1st, and the legislation came into effect and implemented in Hong Kong immediately.
According to the draft statement issued by the Legal Work Commission earlier, the Central People’s Government will establish an Office of National Security Maintenance in the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region. The National Security Office will perform its duties of maintaining national security in accordance with the law and exercise relevant powers, including analysis and judgment of the situation of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region in maintaining national security. Provide opinions and suggestions on major national security strategies and important policies. At the same time, the National Security Agency and relevant national authorities in Hong Kong exercise jurisdiction over a very small number of crimes that endanger national security under certain circumstances.
Civil society is concerned about the composition and scale of the National Security Office, whether it will be a replica of the Liaison Office. According to the news of the establishment system, the office is headed by a deputy minister of the Ministry of Public Security, whose rank is a deputy ministerial official, which is lower than the current directorate of the Central Liaison Office. Sources analyzed that Beijing came to Hong Kong to lead the National Security Office with relatively low-level deputy ministerial officials, hoping to relieve Hong Kong people's doubts about the National Security Law.
The draft stipulates that the National Security Agency in Hong Kong and the relevant national authorities exercise jurisdiction over a very small number of crimes that endanger national security under certain circumstances. It is reported that a moderate senior CPPCC member suggested to Beijing’s high-level to add a layer of “Hong Kong factor” to start the relevant procedures. Under normal circumstances, the high-level “National Security Committee” to be established by the chief executive will decide when it is time to arrive. "Special situation", for example, when the Hong Kong government is unable to handle it by itself, it is called to the central government.
The source also said that the candidate for the head of the National Security Office had been finalized as early as November last year when Beijing decided to push the Hong Kong version of the National Security Law. "So when the Hong Kong version of the National Security Law is officially implemented in Hong Kong, the central government can announce the head of the National Security Office. In the early days, the Office of the People’s Republic of China can temporarily stay in the PLA’s military garrison in Hong Kong."] (港版國安法｜消息：公安部副部長掌國安公署).
The devil, of course, is in the detail. And that detail is provided in the Schedule promulgated as part of the National Security Law by the Hong Kong Government, simultaneously with the action of the central authorities, as the 18 page L.N. 136 of 2020, Promulgation of National Law 2020. That critically important part of the National Security Law for Hong Kong (defining the elements of the crimes against the state and setting out the administrative organs for enforcement) also follows below as well in the original Chinese (中文) and in a crude English translation. Detailed analysis to follow. The "Crime of colluding with foreign or foreign forces to endanger national security" [ 勾結外國或者境外勢力危害國家安全罪] (articles 29-30), will generate substantial interest, especially among civil society and states.