China’s Vice-Premier Han Zheng commended visiting Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam and her administration on Friday for achieving “notable results” in implementing the national security law and combating the coronavirus.
The Hong Kong leader met Han in Beijing as part of a five-day trip to China ahead of her annual policy address. Lam delayed the 2020 address last month, saying she hoped to consult and secure support from Beijing on economic recovery measures. She is expected to deliver the address on November 25.
Han, the top official in charge of Hong Kong and Macau affairs, said Lam had led the city to overcome various obstacles and “rose to the challenge.” He said Beijing fully recognised the work of her administration and would “firmly support” her in governing the city in accordance with the law.
“[I]n controlling and preventing the epidemic, alleviating people’s hardship, reviving the economy, implementing the Hong Kong national security law and safeguarding the stability of Hong Kong society… [the SAR government] made notable results,” he said.
On June 30, Beijing enacted a controversial security law for Hong Kong without local legislative oversight. The sweeping legislation outlaws secession, subversion, collusion with foreign forces and terrorist acts – broadly defined to include disruption to public transport and other infrastructure.
Lam has hailed the security law as delivering “instant results” in restoring social stability in Hong Kong following a year of pro-democracy protests. But critics, including foreign governments, have described the legislation as “draconian” and said it would erode human rights and the city’s autonomy from China.
Police rolled out a new tip-off line on Thursday, saying members of the public could provide or report national security related information through WeChat, SMS and email. Pro-democracy activist Joshua Wong said the hotline may encourage citizens to “snitch” on each other.
2. As the law covers foreign nationals, overseas behaviours & speeches, the new hotline will be a threat to foreign investors & ex-pats. No matter where you’re, your private conversations, business chats, social media posts or school lectures can be reported via this new hotline.— Joshua Wong 黃之鋒
(@joshuawongcf) October 29, 2020
The Chinese vice-premier said he “heard good news” about the visit of Lam and other top Hong Kong officials, who held meetings at various ministries. Han said the city should capitalise on its advantages and seize opportunities in national development.
“All [measures] that are beneficial to maintaining Hong Kong’s long-term prosperity and stability… anything that is beneficial to promoting Hong Kong’s integration into China’s national development and the development in the Greater Bay Area, the central government would fully support,” the vice-premier said.
In response, Lam said her decision to bring along five officials showed there were many areas in which Hong Kong should be integrated into China’s advance. She said she “deeply felt” the support from central authorities for the city.