Chief Executive Carrie Lam on Wednesday praised Hong Kong’s national security law and said that the city’s urgent priority is bringing normalcy back to the political system after months of unrest.
In an annual policy address to the semi-autonomous city’s Legislative Council, Lam said that Hong Kong has become a “gaping hole” in national security, presenting significant risks to China, but the city’s new national security law has been “remarkably effective” in restoring stability.
One of our urgent priorities is to restore Hong Kong’s constitutional order and political system from chaos.
“After a year of social unrest with fear for personal safety, Hong Kong people can once again enjoy their basic rights and freedoms,” Lam said, in her fourth policy address, her longest.
She also noted that “advocacies of Hong Kong independence and collusions with external forces have progressively subsided, some of the prominent figures have kept a low profile, radical organizations have ceased operations or dissolved.”
The national security law was introduced by Beijing in June, after months of anti-government protests in the city.
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Lam also accused foreign governments and legislatures of intensifying their interference “in Hong Kong’s affairs, which are squarely China’s internal affairs, severely jeopardizing our nation’s security.”
Hong Kong’s government will introduce programs to educate youth, who were at the frontlines of last year’s demonstrations, about respecting China’s national symbols.
Lam’s address was postponed by more than a month as she sought Beijing’s support for economic measures aimed at reviving the finance hub’s economy. According to Lam, her speech “manifests the central government’s staunch support” for Hong Kong.
Lam’s address last year was halted by demonstrations, but there were no protests this time. All opposition lawmakers resigned earlier this month after Beijing allowed the local government to disqualify legislators.
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