Henry Litton, a former judge of the Court of Final Appeal of China's Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (SAR), has highlighted the necessity of introducing national security legislation at the state level for the Hong Kong SAR.
In an article released on Wednesday, Litton stressed that the threat to national security in Hong Kong is real but the local legislature has appeared unable to enact relevant laws on its own.
"Internal security has worsened, with increasing evidence of terrorist activities aimed at bringing the Hong Kong police to its knees and overthrowing the government," Litton wrote, adding that a state of grave public danger has existed since October last year.
During the social unrest, bully tactics had been deployed, families of police officers threatened, some businesses vandalized and people had been cowed into silence, Litton added.
"A threat of this nature to Hong Kong, a region of China, clearly constitutes a national security threat," he wrote.
However, in the face of the serious challenges, the existing laws are "nowhere near adequate to deal with the complicated matters" and a dysfunctional Legislative Council due to obstruction of opposition lawmakers means "no law can be passed in Hong Kong," Litton noted.
The former judge wrote that unrest and street violence have been going on for nearly a year and very serious crimes have been committed but only a handful of persons arrested have been convicted.
When commenting on the legislative decision of the National People's Congress, China's top legislature, Litton pointed out the legislation is the right thing to do, saying that "every nation on earth, unless a failed state, has laws protecting national security."
The decision to enact national security legislation provides protection for Hong Kong and the whole nation, he believed.
Establishing and improving the legal system and enforcement mechanisms for Hong Kong emphasizes the cardinal principles of "one country, two systems", "Hong Kong people governing Hong Kong" and a high degree of autonomy, Litton wrote.
Litton noted that related laws, when passed, will be enforced by the Hong Kong courts exercising jurisdiction under the common law system, based on the presumption of innocence and proof of guilt beyond reasonable doubt.
Stressing that the common law is guaranteed by the "one country, two systems" principle, Litton appealed to young lawyers in Hong Kong to truly support the "one country, two systems" principle and work towards its success, and urged older lawyers, the leaders of their profession, to cultivate a climate conducive to their juniors' success.