The answer to the title question is obvious: China has the national responsibility to protect Hong Kong's security, especially against any threat or interference from foreign country or organization. As for Hong Kong's future, Hong Kong is principally responsible for its own future under the One Country Two Systems (OCTS) agreement (established in 1997 when Hong Kong was returned to China from British colonial rule) which allows Hong Kong to maintain its economic system and local government to maintain its current internationally recognized corporate, commerce, finance and civic laws (The basic laws for governing Hong Kong's daily operation as a financial center). Naturally, Hong Kong as a part of China may receive national support to enhance its economic competitiveness in the global arena and its future development. The recently completed mega project – the Zhujiang-Hong Kong-Macao cross-ocean bridge (This new world wonder certainly adds another jewel on Hong Kong and Macaw's crowns and expands their competitiveness through Zhujiang linking to Mainland China) is an example of such national support. So, why is there fuss about Hong Kong getting a National Security Law established and unanimously (2878 yes: 1 no: 6 abstain) passed by the Chinese National People's Congress? What is comical in the mainstream media is that they sought the opinion of former Hong Kong Governor, Christopher Patten, as if he should know better about Hong Kong's security than a Chinese! In this article, we will analyze in this article the security issue for Hong Kong from Hong Kong people and Chinese points of view.
What is National Security and Who Provides It?
In the U.S., we Americans know very well that anything our government considering it damaging to the interest of the country and/or its people is a national security matter, from a foreign country flying a missile or plane over our territory to terrorists bombing our streets. Naturally, we expect our Federal Government to provide our national security whether we live in New York City, Buffalo or a far away island, Honolulu. So it is without doubt, China is responsible for Hong Kong's security and anything that threatens Hong Kong and/or its people is a national security matter to China, regardless how much Hong Kong or its people is tied to the nation's economy just like New York City, Buffalo or Honolulu would expect the same national security protection.
What is the Nature of Hong Kong's Recent Unrest?
Hong Kong had many protests when it was ruled as a colony under the U.K and after its return to China. The U.K. would quash any protest especially against the British rule under British law and/or Hong Kong law British had set up. Prior to returning Hong Kong to China, the U.K hastily expanded Hong Kong's Civic Laws but no national security law. Of course, it makes no sense for the British to define national security law for Hong Kong. When recently Hong Kong's unrest became more violent involving external interference (such as unpatriotic behaviors beyond vocal expression to burning, destroying properties and hurting people, carrying the flag of the U.K. and the U.S.), it naturally calls for national security law to protect Hong Kong and China. Thus, the passing of the Hong Kong security law by the National People's Congress is necessary and timely.
National Security under One Country and Two Systems (OCTS)
OCTS clearly defines one country which means that all regions and systems are governed under one constitution and one sovereignty. The two systems may be different but certainly can not be two opposing systems challenging the one country rule. In Hong Kong's situation, it is not difficult to understand that OCTS allows Hong Kong to maintain a different system, most importantly its economic system with laws and government mechanisms to maintain its free trade status, internationally competitive corporation laws, commerce laws and financial, including monetary, laws. These laws and additional civic laws can make Hong Kong to function as a free trade city and as a financial center. However, if Hong Kong is threatened by any unrest (such as any color or flower movement as instigated by external and/or internal forces) then its special free trade status will collapse. Hence, China's National People's Congress must establish a national security law for Hong Kong.
What Is Wrong with Hong Kong ? Can National Security Law Cure the Problem?
Historically Hong Kong was not only a heaven for free trade but it was also a heaven for intelligence operations. It was not all fictions in Hollywood movies to feature Hong Kong as a spy city where MI6, CIA, SVR RF etc. are active. Should Hong Kong let that continue after it was returned to China? Of course not, since most of the spy agents are spying on China in addition to each others. Spies were underground, covered or hidden, so it was not simple to get rid of them. During the recent Hong Kong unrest last year, the external influence became obvious when the protests became more organized, trained, equipped and more violent and vocal with anti-national security behavior. The national security law is expected to be applied to prevent and punish these offenses and having no effect on law-abiding Hong Kong citizens.
What Can Be Expected from the Hong Kong Security Law?
The national security law certainly will be a deterrent for foreign anti-security operations in Hong Kong. China and Hong Kong have all the rights to implement and apply the national security law. Perhaps, there will be a little more unrest instigated by the vulnerable and concerned foreign organizations, but in due time, the law will have its full effect. With the existence of this law, we may also expect two things to happen. The first is that the Hong Kong educational system will begin a self-cleansing process to remove some of the teachers and teaching material deemed to be unpatriotic and worse anti-national security. This practice is maintained in every country, certainly in the U.S. public schools. The second is that the Hong Kong judicial system will be served by Hong Kong citizens rather than by foreign nationalities, an anomaly that would never be accepted in the U.S. or U.K.. This is also critical for the security law to be effective, since the judges will interpret and apply the law.
Following the above analysis, it is clear that the foreign countries have no right to criticize China for implementing a needed national security law. When the U.S. raises a threat to not granting Hong Kong the free trade status over the national security law issue, it is almost laughable since the U.S. currently enjoys a ludicrous trade surplus with Hong Kong ($31 Billion in 2018) and the national security law is designed to protect Hong Kong's stability and her trading system benefiting the U.S. and hundreds of her trading partners. As for Christopher Patten's comment: China's authoritarian government may impact the freedom of Hong Kong citizens, it is more than laughable since the Hong Kong citizens know very well what kind of second citizenship they were under the British rule. If the U.K. would dare to offer all Hong Kong people British citizenship to prove her claim that Hong Kong people preferred British rule, I bet that only a handful of applications would take place, an humiliating immigration event that would clearly indicate that the days of sending undesirable people away from England to Australia is over. The Aussies would not go back to Britain today even if bribed!
So, please do not make waves to hurt Hong Kong, it will hurt the U.S. and U. K. more with humiliation!