Hong Kong national security law: Beijing’s top envoy in city hails police, warns ‘hostile foreign forces’ still at play

Beijing’s top envoy in Hong Kong on Saturday called on local police to strictly enforce the national security law, warning that “hostile foreign forces” were still attempting to undermine the city’s stability while anti-China elements were plotting a comeback.

Liaison office director Zheng Yanxiong, who inspected officers at a passing-out parade at the Hong Kong Police College in Wong Chuk Hang for the first time in his role, also hailed officers’ efforts as a “heroic work of honour”. The force had eased entry requirements in the past year amid a hiring slump.

Zheng took over his current position in January and had attended a similar parade last July as the head of Beijing’s national security commission in the city.

Hong Kong police have eased entry requirements into the force amid a hiring slump. Photo: Edmond So

“In the past few years of working in Hong Kong, I have been fortunate enough to witness first-hand the outstanding performance of the Hong Kong Police Force in being fearless and loyal to their duties in the face of protester violence, the pandemic and foreign sanctions,” Zheng said in a speech.

He said the force had made significant contributions to Hong Kong’s “transition from chaos to order” while facing unprecedented tests in recent years – an apparent reference to the 2019 anti-government protests – by upholding social stability and cracking down on activities that endangered national security.

‘Hong Kong out of political quagmire and should not go down wrong path again’

But he cautioned there was still a long road ahead in the mission to safeguard national security.

“There are still hostile foreign forces trying to disrupt Hong Kong’s development and stability, and anti-China elements are attempting to make a comeback in Hong Kong,” Zheng insisted.

“The police force should steadfastly safeguard the constitutional order of the special administrative region, rigorously enforce the national security law and local legislation, and make every effort in building a solid defence line for national security.”

Hong Kong police received ‘4 times as many’ job applications in May than year before

Hong Kong police in July announced a HK$1 million reward for information leading to each arrest of eight opposition figures based overseas and wanted under the security law.

The US last month slammed Hong Kong for “ongoing harassment” against family members of the wanted and jailed activists. Beijing has since hit back, accusing Washington of “desecrating” Hong Kong’s rule of law and having double standards in national security.

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Zheng, in his Saturday speech, cited occasions in which senior Beijing officials had recognised the work of local police, including President Xi Jinping’s meeting with representatives of the disciplined forces during his 2022 visit to Hong Kong.

“I want to tell everyone that the police force is a profession of honour. They are the guardians of security of the country and citizens. They are heroes who face dangers that are too harsh for ordinary people, and bear pressures that are too heavy for ordinary folk,” he told the graduates.

The parade marked the graduation of 28 probationary inspectors and 113 recruit police constables.

Police faced the brunt of public ire, tasked with maintaining order as Hong Kong descended into protest chaos in 2019. Photo: Winson Wong

Interest in police recruitment had waned following political unrest in 2019, where law enforcement had been on the front lines of crackdowns on anti-government protesters and opposition activists in an increasingly polarised society.

The force’s relaxation of entry criteria in May apparently boosted the number of applications. Some 5,952 people had applied to join between April 1 and the end of August, equivalent to 75 per cent of all applications received in the whole of the last financial year that ended in March.


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