Long-term stability, prosperity to come from law, insists Li

Top News | Michael Shum 28 May 2020

Billionaire Li Ka-shing has thrown his weight behind the proposed national security law, saying it will have a positive effect on Hong Kong's long-term stability and prosperity.

Pro-Beijing newspapers Ta Kung Pao and Wen Wei Po quoted the founder and senior adviser of CK Asset Holdings as saying that every country has a responsibility to safeguard its own national security.

"It is each and every nation's sovereign right to address its national security concerns," Li was quoted as saying in his first public remarks on the legislation.

The newspapers reported that Li had been suffering from flu so he could not respond immediately to their questions. But he replied yesterday when he was feeling slightly better, a demonstration of his responsibility as a patriotic businessman, they said.

Li also believes enactment of the legislation will ease Beijing's concerns over Hong Kong.

But he added it is also important for the SAR government to strengthen Hong Kong people's confidence in one country, two systems and secure the trust of the international community.

Li is among several SAR-based billionaires who have signaled support for the proposed law.

Sun Hung Kai Properties chairman Raymond Kwok Ping-luen and New World Development chairman Henry Cheng Kar-shun both said the law can create a safe and stable environment for investment and business.

Henderson Land Development chairman Peter Lee Ka-kit said the legislation can protect Hong Kong's long-term peace and order.

The National People's Congress members will vote on a resolution on the national security law for Hong Kong today, saying it should prohibit not only "acts" that would seriously endanger national security, but also "activities."

Roundtable lawmaker Michael Tien Puk-sun, also an NPC deputy, said he does not agree with the amendment.

Tien said activities in the mainland do not easily deviate from their original purpose and no one will drag others into trouble in activities that are not related to national security.

"But unlike in China, activities in Hong Kong always involve innocent people getting in trouble. An event might suddenly turn violent and people might not be able to leave in time -- what will happen to them then?" Tien asked.

"Therefore it is better to save trouble, and not add the word 'activities' in the legislation."

But another NPC deputy, Stanley Ng Chau-pei, president of the pro-Beijing Hong Kong Federation of Trade Unions, said it should not be over-interpreted. "The words 'acts' and 'activities' are very similar in my opinion. The NPC is just trying to make it more comprehensive in legal terms," he said.

Zhang Dongshuo, a Beijing lawyer, said the term "acts" is well-defined in Chinese laws, but "activities" is a more abstract concept. "Only in areas regarding terrorism and spying will the Chinese law use the concept of activities," Zhang said.

michael.shum@singtaonewscorp.com

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