A ship carrying the slogan of "celebrating the passage of the Law of the People's Republic of China on Safeguarding National Security in the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR)" sails at the Victoria Harbour in Hong Kong, south China, July 1, 2020. (Xinhua/Lui Siu Wai)
A foreign expatriate says he supports the law on safeguarding national security in Hong Kong as it will not only rein in violence but also create a foundation of safety and trust that allows Hong Kong residents to start building a better and healthier future together.
HONG KONG, July 3 (Xinhua) -- The Law of the People's Republic of China on Safeguarding National Security in the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) coming into force on Tuesday has received a broad welcome by the vast majority of Hong Kong residents, including foreign expatriates.
Hong Kong citizens celebrate the passage of the Law of the People's Republic of China on Safeguarding National Security in the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) in Causeway Bay of south China's Hong Kong, June 30, 2020. (Xinhua/Wang Shen)
"WE WANT STABILITY"
Before 5:00 a.m. on Wednesday local time, Ilan, an Israeli, had driven from his home in Kowloon to a footbridge in western Hong Kong Island and started to clean posters and graffiti advocating violence and "Hong Kong independence" along with his friends.
Their "cleaning operation," which was conducted on July 1, the 23rd anniversary of Hong Kong's return to the motherland, was not the first of such activities. Ilan and his friends have carried out similar operations many times since last November in protest of violent incidents that gripped Hong Kong for months.
During the prolonged social unrest, Ilan used to be stopped by rioters when driving his children to school and could not go to work as mobs went on the rampage. He also for many times witnessed streets' facilities being damaged and shops trashed.
"They claim that they are fighting for 'freedom,' but they took my freedom away," Ilan said. "You are entitled to have your own opinion but just express it in a civilized, polite, and right manner. Don't push it down people's throat forcefully."
Ilan was in particular worried about the impact on his children, who told him they were scared to go to school because of the human chain formed by people in black. He prepared a can of gray spray and used it to cover graffiti advocating violence after dropping off his children.
Having lived in Hong Kong for 18 years, Ilan said Hong Kong is his home and he hopes the new law will help Hong Kong restore stability and residents can regain their peaceful life. "We are against violence and we want stability," he said.
Ilan believes that every country will spare no efforts to safeguard national security and there is nothing to be afraid of.
"If you are just minding your own business, working, going out with your friends, having a cup of drinks, making money and buying property, the law will not apply to you. What are you worried about?" Ilan said. "Whoever is really worried about this law has a reason to worry about it. They fit in the crimes."
The promulgation of the Law of the People's Republic of China on Safeguarding National Security in the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) was signed by HKSAR Chief Executive Carrie Lam and published in the Gazette, according to a statement of the HKSAR government on June 30, 2020. (Xinhua)
FOR A BETTER FUTURE
Dan from Australia has lived in Hong Kong for 22 years. He witnessed Hong Kong's progress after its return and was saddened by the social unrest over the past year.
"History tells us that instability and unrest in society are not good for anyone," Dan said, noting that disturbances hurt the economy, undermined Hong Kong's image, made residents scared, and killed the diversity of Hong Kong.
Dan said he supports the law on safeguarding national security in Hong Kong as it will not only rein in violence but also create a foundation of safety and trust that allows Hong Kong residents to start building a better and a healthier future together.
"We need a stable and peaceful environment in Hong Kong," Dan said.
Dan saw foreign criticisms and sanction threats as double standards. "I see the national security law as fundamentally important. Every nation without exception has an obligation to protect national security and its citizens. China is no different," Dan said.
Even if some countries impose sanctions against Hong Kong, Dan believes investors and businesses will continue to come to Hong Kong, which remains free, has huge potential, and, most importantly, serves as a significant gateway to the Chinese mainland market.
"One only needs to look across the border from Hong Kong and into Shenzhen and focus on the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area to see what has been achieved," Dan said, adding that Hong Kong will have enormous opportunities in the integration into the development of the whole country.
Photo taken on June 29, 2020 shows a billboard on the Law of the People's Republic of China on Safeguarding National Security in the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) in Central area in Hong Kong, south China. (Xinhua/Wang Shen)
A LAW LONG OVERDUE
"The law should have been enacted a long time ago. It does become a very urgent matter," Angelo Giuliano said, stressing that the law will protect Hong Kong from foreign interference, terrorism threats and even a "color revolution."
The Swiss expatriate, 50, was looking for opportunities in the financial consultancy field in Hong Kong three years ago. He was attracted by its stable environment and business opportunities but found himself unexpectedly dragged into the chaos last year and faced real threats to his safety.
He felt sad about intensified violence in Hong Kong last year, which had been a civilized, happy and lively place.
Giuliano strongly felt that he had the responsibility to fight injustice and oppose violence. He removed barriers set by rioters on the streets, attended assemblies in protest of violence, and urged his friends to take action.
The law on safeguarding national security in Hong Kong will better protect "one country, two systems" in Hong Kong, instead of harming it as alleged by some foreign countries, Giuliano said.
"You need to look at the facts that over the last 23 years, China has always respected its word of implementing 'one country, two systems'. And the new law is not much different from what is being done in other countries. There's no reason to be afraid," he said.
Because of the acts, his private information, along with that of his family, was leaked online by rioters.
Despite the threats, he remained staunched and denounced those who claim to fight for the so-called "freedom." "My biggest fear is not to speak out. Hopefully my son will know what I did one day. And that could be the best teaching I can give to him." ■