The Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress ("NPCSC") of the People’s Republic of China ("PRC") passed the Law of the People’s Republic of China on Safeguarding National Security in the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (“National Security Law”) on 30 June 2020. It is annexed to Annex III of the Basic Law as part of the national laws that apply in the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region ("HKSAR"). The National Security Law took effect at 11 pm on 30 June 2020 upon gazettal in the HKSAR.
The 66-article law criminalizes four types of acts: secession, subversion, terrorist activities, and collusion with a foreign country or with external elements to endanger national security and stipulates the corresponding penalties, which in the most serious cases, could result in life imprisonment. The HKSAR will establish a new Committee for Safeguarding National Security of the HKSAR, led by the Chief Executive of the HKSAR (“Chief Executive”), to be responsible for safeguarding national security in the HKSAR.
The Hong Kong Police Force ("HKPF") and the Department of Justice ("DOJ") will set up designated departments to handle crimes against national security. The Chief Executive will designate relevant judges to adjudicate such crimes. The executive, legislative and judicial organs must adhere to the rule of law in preventing, suppressing and punishing offences that endanger national security. While safeguarding national security, human rights and the rights and freedoms of HKSAR residents should be respected according to law. Except for specified circumstances, the HKSAR will exercise jurisdiction over offences under the National Security Law.
The Central People’s Government ("CPG") will establish the Office for Safeguarding National Security of the CPG in the HKSAR to oversee and guide the work of the HKSAR in safeguarding national security. In case of conflict between local laws of the HKSAR and the National Security Law, the National Security Law will prevail. The NPCSC has the authority to interpret the National Security Law.