Hong Kong’s Secretary for Security John Lee Ka-chiu visited Macao Friday for a meeting with Chief Executive Ho Iat Seng “to learn about the city’s work in safeguarding national security and its latest development,” according to a statement by the Hong Kong government’s Information Services Department (ISD).
Friday’s ISD statement pointed out that Ho briefed Lee on the national security legislative process and “considerations and experiences concerning the city’s enactment of the national security law.
Macao’s legislature passed the special administrative region’s locally drafted national security law on February 25, 2009. The law took effect on March 2, 2009.
According to the ISD statement, Lee also “exchanged views on Macao’s experiences regarding its implementation of the national security law since 2009” with his local counterpart Wong Sio Chak.
The statement pointed out that “Macao has put in place effective measures at the policymaking and implementation levels to safeguard national security, including the establishment of the National Security Commission in 2018 to formulate policies and coordinate initiatives.”
The statement also said that the “Macao authorities are planning to set up new government departments and divisions to strengthen enforcement of national security.”
The statement also said that according to the recent decision by the National People’s Congress (NPC), the introduction of a national security law applicable to Hong Kong “aims to prevent, stop and punish acts and activities seriously endangering national security.”
During his visit, Hong Kong’s top security official “learnt about the Macao authorities’ experiences in such areas, including the importance of preventative work in reducing threats to national security,” the statement said.
Since Macao enacted its national security law in 2009, “its society has become more stable and the economy has developed desirably,” the statement said.
Last year, the statement noted, Macao’s “gross domestic product was 2.5 times as much as before the [national security] law became effective, while that year the unemployment rate marked a record low, and the number of inbound travellers has since risen by 80 per cent.
“This shows that the law has had a positive impact on Macao’s society and has enabled a more robust economic development.
“Macao’s example shows that national security is an important prerequisite and foundation for maintaining the prosperity and stability of [civil] society.”
The ISD statement quoted Lee as saying “that introducing the national security law in Hong Kong ensures its long-term security and helps continue the development of its economy and people’s livelihoods.”
The Macao Government Information Bureau (GCS) also released a statement on Lee’s one-day visit.
According to the GCS statement, Ho pointed out that while the legal systems of Hong Kong and Macao are different, the two special administrative regions also have many things in common. Ho was also quoted as saying that the two regions should further strengthen their communication and liaison in national security matters.
Ho and Lee also discussed the two regions’ cooperation in fighting COVID-19, the GCS statement said.