Hong Kong chief Carrie Lam stated the nationwide safety legislation was “absolutely necessary” to make sure Hong Kong’s stability.
In an interview with CNBC on Friday, Lam stated: “Looking back, I think the enactment and implementation of a national security law, as well as the subsequent improvements to the electoral system, are absolutely necessary to ensure Hong Kong’s continuous stability and prosperity.”
“And if I may just add, stability is extremely important for Hong Kong to maintain and enhance status as an international financial center,” Hong Kong’s chief government advised CNBC’s Emily Tan and Martin Soong.
Lam additionally stated the exodus of expatriates and foreigners from Hong Kong in current months was not as a result of newly enacted nationwide safety legislation — seen by some as Beijing’s tightening of its grip over the town — however because of the the strict pandemic controls and measures that “make people very impatient.”
Carrie Lam, chief government of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region, speaks at a press convention in Hong Kong, south China, Feb. 4, 2022.
Lui Siu Wai | Xinhua News Agency | Getty Images
‘One nation, two methods’
Lam insisted that Hong Kong’s freedoms and autonomy remained intact and had not expired forward of 2047, regardless of propaganda pushed by some Western media retailers.
“I sometimes find it very disturbing that a lot of Western media try to portray Hong Kong as just another Chinese city and have no proper recognition or understanding of ‘one country, two systems,'” she stated.
She stated mainland Chinese officers believed that the “one country, two systems” precept was the “best institutional arrangement to ensure Hong Kong’s stability and prosperity.”
Alongside Beijing, Lam stated she regarded ahead to the “continuation of what is in the Basic Law, including the upholding of the individual rights and freedoms, the practice of Hong Kong’s capitalist system, and all the high degree of autonomy that has been given to Hong Kong.”
“When people complain there’s no freedom, this is not the situation in Hong Kong. Hong Kong is as free as ever, whether it’s in the freedom of expression, in the freedom of assembly, in the media, and so on.”
National safety legislation
Despite the protests and riots, the implementation of the nationwide safety legislation and the sooner extradition invoice had been wanted for Hong Kong to seek out its toes round the suitable legal guidelines to guard nationwide pursuits, Lam stated.
She stated this was essential as Hong Kong had but to determine its personal establishments and authorized methods to guard nationwide pursuits, safety and sovereignty greater than 20 years after the handover to China.
Growing pains had been a part of this emancipation as seen with different protests earlier than 2019, together with the 79-day Occupy Central motion in 2014 when demonstrators demanded direct, common suffrage to pick the town’s chief, Lam stated.
“Freedoms are not absolute,” Lam advised CNBC. “Freedoms have to be sort of restrained, where there is a public interest. And no public interest could be more superior than national interest.”
“So every place should have rules and laws in place to safeguard national sovereignty, security and development interests of the nation. Before the enactment of the national security law, Hong Kong was a vacuum insofar as those institutions and laws are concerned.”
On Covid and sanctions
Ahead of the two-year anniversary of the enactment of the nationwide safety legislation, the town continues to undergo growing departures of overseas expertise and worldwide operations, however Lam stated it was a short lived blip.
Hong Kong’s resilience is on full show with the variety of folks touring to the town on the rise because the rest of quarantine durations to at least one week and the lifting of the ban on vacationers from 9 international locations together with the UK and the U.S. on April 1, Lam stated.
Daily arrivals at Hong Kong worldwide airport multiplied ten-fold to three,000 a day in comparison with 300 when the complete suite of restrictions had been in place earlier than April, in line with Lam.
Hong Kong’s strict Covid-19 containment methods had been wanted to guard Hong Kong’s key journey hall into the mainland, Lam stated, however denied they had been only a copy of the mainland’s China’s zero-Covid strategy that has led to whole cities comparable to Shanghai shut down and economically crippled.
“The Hong Kong SAR government has a high degree of autonomy in determining how to tackle a public health crisis. But the reality is, our people need to travel to the mainland, but at the same time, we need a very strong international connectivity,” she stated.
“That’s why throughout the last two and half years, we have been trying to strike a balance that will enable us to meet both objectives.”
In a few of her final parting phrases earlier than she leaves workplace to make manner for brand new Hong Kong leader-in-waiting John Lee on July 1, Lam says she can be shrugging off the sanctions the U.S. laid on her and different senior in 2020 over the dealing with of the town’s protests over freedoms.
“I think those who impose sanctions on other people, on other places, have to reflect upon using this instrument to achieve their objective(s),” she stated.
“I and 11 other officials in Hong Kong [were] aggressively and unreasonably sanctioned by the U.S. government, but they will not intimidate us. I have no regrets and I have no problem with that.”
“I would also give this piece of advice to my successor and other senior officials: That in order to perform our duty of loyalty, we must not be intimidated — whether it is by abuse, by force, by sanctions or other means.”