Hong Kong chief Carrie Lam mentioned the nationwide safety legislation was “completely crucial” to make sure Hong Kong’s stability.
In an interview with CNBC on Friday, Lam mentioned: “Wanting again, I feel the enactment and implementation of a nationwide safety legislation, in addition to the next enhancements to the electoral system, are completely crucial to make sure Hong Kong’s steady stability and prosperity.”
“And if I could add, stability is extraordinarily essential for Hong Kong to keep up and improve standing as a global monetary middle,” Hong Kong’s chief govt advised CNBC’s Emily Tan and Martin Soong.
Lam additionally mentioned the exodus of expatriates and foreigners from Hong Kong in latest months was not because of the newly enacted nationwide safety legislation — seen by some as Beijing’s tightening of its grip over town — however because of the the strict pandemic controls and measures that “make folks very impatient.”
Carrie Lam, chief govt of the Hong Kong Particular Administrative Area, speaks at a press convention in Hong Kong, south China, Feb. 4, 2022.
Lui Siu Wai | Xinhua Information Company | Getty Photos
‘One nation, two programs’
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 typically discover it very disturbing that a number of Western media attempt to painting Hong Kong as simply one other Chinese language metropolis and haven’t any correct recognition or understanding of ‘one nation, two programs,'” she mentioned.
She mentioned mainland Chinese language officers believed that the “one nation, two programs” precept was the “greatest institutional association to make sure Hong Kong’s stability and prosperity.”
Alongside Beijing, Lam mentioned she appeared ahead to the “continuation of what’s within the Fundamental Regulation, together with the upholding of the person rights and freedoms, the follow of Hong Kong’s capitalist system, and all of the excessive diploma of autonomy that has been given to Hong Kong.”
“When folks complain there is not any freedom, this isn’t the state of affairs in Hong Kong. Hong Kong is as free as ever, whether or not it is within the freedom of expression, within the freedom of meeting, within the media, and so forth.”
Nationwide safety legislation
Regardless of the protests and riots, the implementation of the nationwide safety legislation and the sooner extradition invoice have been wanted for Hong Kong to search out its ft round the appropriate legal guidelines to guard nationwide pursuits, Lam mentioned.
She mentioned this was essential as Hong Kong had but to determine its personal establishments and authorized programs to guard nationwide pursuits, safety and sovereignty greater than twenty years after the handover to China.
Rising pains have 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 town’s chief, Lam mentioned.
“Freedoms will not be absolute,” Lam advised CNBC. “Freedoms must be form of restrained, the place there’s a public curiosity. And no public curiosity may very well be extra superior than nationwide curiosity.”
“So each place ought to have guidelines and legal guidelines in place to safeguard nationwide sovereignty, safety and improvement pursuits of the nation. Earlier than the enactment of the nationwide safety legislation, Hong Kong was a vacuum insofar as these establishments and legal guidelines are involved.”
On Covid and sanctions
Forward of the two-year anniversary of the enactment of the nationwide safety legislation, town continues to endure rising departures of overseas expertise and worldwide operations, however Lam mentioned it was a brief blip.
Hong Kong’s resilience is on full show with the variety of folks touring to town on the rise for the reason that leisure of quarantine durations to at least one week and the lifting of the ban on vacationers from 9 nations together with the UK and the U.S. on April 1, Lam mentioned.
Every day arrivals at Hong Kong worldwide airport multiplied ten-fold to three,000 a day in comparison with 300 when the complete suite of restrictions have been in place earlier than April, in response to Lam.
Hong Kong’s strict Covid-19 containment methods have been wanted to guard Hong Kong’s key journey hall into the mainland, Lam mentioned, however denied they have been only a copy of the mainland’s China’s zero-Covid method that has led to total cities similar to Shanghai shut down and economically crippled.
“The Hong Kong SAR authorities has a excessive diploma of autonomy in figuring out the way to deal with a public well being disaster. However the actuality is, our folks have to journey to the mainland, however on the identical time, we’d like a really sturdy worldwide connectivity,” she mentioned.
“That is why all through the final two and half years, we’ve got been attempting to strike a steadiness that can allow us to satisfy each targets.”
In a few of her final parting phrases earlier than she leaves workplace to make method for brand new Hong Kong leader-in-waiting John Lee on July 1, Lam mentioned she is going to shrug off sanctions the U.S. laid on her and different senior in 2020 over the dealing with of town’s protests over freedoms.
“I feel those that impose sanctions on different folks, on different locations, must replicate upon utilizing this instrument to realize their goal(s),” she mentioned.
“I and 11 different officers in Hong Kong [were] aggressively and unreasonably sanctioned by the U.S. authorities, however they won’t intimidate us. I’ve no regrets and I’ve no drawback with that.”
“I might additionally give this piece of recommendation to my successor and different senior officers: That in an effort to carry out our obligation of loyalty, we should not be intimidated — whether or not it’s by abuse, by pressure, by sanctions or different means.”