Beijing’s point man on Hong Kong affairs to deliver virtual keynote as part of city’s biggest National Security Education Day yet

Lee said the awareness day was particularly meaningful for the city this year, as it marked the 10th anniversary of the holistic approach to national security put forward by Chinese President Xi Jinping, and it was also the first to be held after the Safeguarding National Security Ordinance took effect last month.

“The prevailing geopolitics have become increasingly complex, and national security risks and threats remain imminent. The means taken to endanger national security can come in many different forms and persist, and the threat can emerge all of a sudden,” Lee said.

“The public should remain vigilant. The Safeguarding National Security Ordinance requires [the city] to promote national security education and to raise the awareness of abiding by the law through public communication, guidance, supervision and regulation.”

City leader John Lee attends an event on Saturday in the lead-up to the awareness day. He has urged the public to remain vigilant. Photo: Yik Yeung-man

He said the activities organised by the National Security Committee would help raise awareness and the sense of responsibility to protect the country’s safety, which would remind residents to stay alert.

Xia attended the ceremony in person last year, telling the audience that Hongkongers could choose other ways to express their views instead of staging protests, and that voicing opinions was not contradictory to the protection of national security.

The Beijing point man also advised residents to focus more on economic development, while staying vigilant as anti-China forces were still looking to return and the 2019 anti-government protests had left “an indelible scar”.

Professor Lau Siu-kai, a consultant at semi-official Beijing think tank the Chinese Association of Hong Kong and Macau Studies, agreed that this year’s awareness day was especially significant.

“With the passage of the Safeguarding National Security Ordinance, this year marks the first time that Hong Kong has a complete set of laws and mechanisms in protecting national security after the city’s return to the motherland,” Lau said.

Legislators unanimously passed the law last month, fast tracking the constitutionally required legislation under Article 23 of the Basic Law that had been shelved for more than two decades because of initial public opposition.

The legislation complements the national security law imposed by Beijing in 2020 after anti-government protests rocked the city in 2019.

Western countries have accused authorities of harming the rights and freedoms of Hongkongers by enacting the latest law.

Noting the attacks, Lau said: “The occasion will showcase Hong Kong people’s support for the ordinance and unity behind safeguarding national security.

“It also provides a good opportunity for promoting national security education.”

Ex-Hong Kong police chief tells young people past shows need for national security

He stressed the need to remind residents to guard against threats to national security, despite the less turbulent situation in recent years.

“The country is still facing serious national security threats stemming from the US-led West’s continued determination to contain and harm China.

“Hong Kong is still a useful pawn to the West in this respect, particularly in the financial, cyber and ideological spheres,” Lau said.

Dr Hung Wing-lok, a political scientist at the Chinese University of Hong Kong’s faculty of social science, also said: “The large scale of [the education] day is symbolic in the way that the government is no longer shy to talk about the national security issue openly [within the context of] city development.”

But he noted that apart from staging events and shows throughout the year, the government should also dedicate more efforts to developing the economy to ensure the city’s prosperity.

“It is possible for the number of extremists to increase especially if the economy is in poor shape, which could pose a threat to national security,” Hung said.

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But he added it was “hard for the government to promote national security education when the city is relatively peaceful”.

The idea to host an education day can be traced back to April 15, 2014, when President Xi put forward the idea of adopting a holistic approach to protect the country’s safety at the first meeting of the National Security Commission.

On July 1 the following year , the country’s top legislative body passed the National Security Law of China, with April 15 designated as the awareness day.

Observed nationally, the day aims to raise public awareness about national security, create a positive atmosphere of protecting the country’s safety and enhance the capacity to prevent and avert risks.

Hong Kong launched its first National Security Education Day on April 15, 2021, a year after Beijing imposed the security law on the city.

Hong Kong pupils to hear about Xi’s security focus, Article 23 on awareness day

This year, the government has planned more than 30 community activities across the city’s 18 districts.

On Monday morning , a flag-raising ceremony will be held at the Hong Kong Police College in Wong Chuk Hang, attended by the city’s No 2 official, Eric Chan Kwok-ki.

Residents will also be able to see a bus parade in Yau Tsim Mong, enjoy a singing contest at Kwong Ming Ying Loi School in Yuen Long and witness a flag-raising ceremony at Reunification Garden in Sheung Shui, among other events.

Some activities are being held over the weekend, with events on Sunday including a sports day at Siu Sai Wan Sports Centre, a carnival at Victoria Park and a variety show with a drawing competition at Sai Lau Kok Garden.

Eight disciplined and auxiliary services are holding open days at their training schools, headquarters or divisional premises over the weekend to mark the occasion.


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