Beijing demands Hong Kong build ‘iron wall’ of national security as Washington warns businesses of political risk

Domestic News

Xia Baolong, the head of the Chinese State Council's Hong Kong and Macao Affairs Office, delivered a speech celebrating what Beijing sees as the success of its national security law in Hong Kong and outlining expectations for the future of the city.

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Illustration by Derek Zheng

Today in Beijing, Xià Bǎolóng 夏宝龙, the head of the Chinese State Council’s Hong Kong and Macao Affairs Office, delivered a one-hour closed-door speech to around 300 people. The speech celebrated what Beijing sees as the success of its national security law in Hong Kong and outlined expectations for the future of the city.

Attending the speech by video conference from Hong Kong was the city’s chief executive, Carrie Lam (林鄭月娥 Lín Zhèng Yuè’é). In remarks to reporters afterward, she indicated that she had received five directives from Beijing, Nikkei Asia reports:

  • To draft more laws and regulations, including “the territory’s own national security law based on Article 23 of the Basic Law…with a broader scope than even Beijing’s law.”
  • To “‘properly handle’ cases involving national security law violations” — Xia “seems to expect more investigations and indictments,” Nikkei Asia says.
  • To strengthen oversight over “schools, universities, social organizations, media and the internet” using Article 9 of the national security law.
  • To raise awareness of the national security law through “social organizations, the media and the internet,” using Article 10 of the law.
  • To ensure only “patriots” were put in charge after “three upcoming elections: the Election Committee selection in September, to choose those eligible to pick the chief executive; the Legislative Council election in December; and the chief executive poll in March.”

A report (in Chinese) from Xia’s office about the speech does not mention all five directives separately, but details similar messages:

  • “The sky is finally clear in Hong Kong,” Xia is quoted as saying, adding that the national security law allowed Hong Kong to “thoroughly crush attempts at a Hong Kong version of the ‘color revolution.’”
  • Hong Kong “will resolutely fulfill its constitutional responsibility to safeguard national security and make every effort to build an ‘iron wall’ to safeguard Hong Kong’s national security,” Xia said.
  • “We look forward to a Hong Kong where…‘patriots ruling Hong Kong’ has been fully realized, and where loving the country and Hong Kong has become a core, mainstream value, deeply rooted in the people.”
  • “We will never allow any anti-China and anti-Hong Kong elements to slip into the governance structure of [Hong Kong] and become administrators by any means.” Xia added, “this is an iron bottom line that applies equally” to Macau.
  • Xia also warned “politicians in the United States and other countries and some politicians in the European Parliament” that their imposition of sanctions and other actions “can only arouse more of our anger and contempt for you.” Xia concluded, “The long river of history has proved countless times that victory must belong to the indomitable Chinese people!”

Politicians in the U.S. did not heed Xia’s warning, and today the Biden administration made two more moves condemning Beijing’s implementation of the national security law:

  • An advisory on “Risks and Considerations for Businesses Operating in Hong Kong” was published by the U.S. State Department and three other agencies, as had been expected per a Financial Times report earlier this week.
  • The advisory highlighted four kinds of increased risk: For “businesses following the imposition of the NSL; data privacy risks; risks regarding transparency and access to critical business information; and risks for businesses with exposure to sanctioned Hong Kong or PRC entities or individuals.”
  • The U.S. Treasury sanctioned seven officials in Beiijing’s Hong Kong Liaison Office, all at the deputy director level, according to RTHK.