SGRA Kawaraban (Essay) in English

John Chuan-Tiong LIM Revelation which Taiwan gets from “The National Security Laws” for Hong Kong


National People’s Congress in Beijing brought up The National Security Laws for Hong Kong urgently and suddenly amid the COVID-19 and arguments of “The Revision of Regulation of Fugitives from Justice”. Hong Kong has entered into serious stage all at once. Chinese Governmental policy and strategy of “中南海” (Central Headquarters for the Communist Party) towards Hong Kong and Taiwan has been interlocked, more or less,  in terms of their thinking and strategy “One Country, Two Systems”. The National Security Laws in Hong Kong made clear the relations between Beijing Central Government and Hong Kong Special Administrative Region. It gave Taiwan a big shock. We (Taiwanese) cannot ignore when we survey the future of the cross-strait relations.   



〇Chinese views on National Security which do not discriminate Hong Kong/Macao from Taiwan


“National Security Laws on Hong Kong” has two big meanings. There is no essential difference in Beijing’s common understanding of “One Country, Two Systems” in the governing Hong Kong/Macao district and Taiwan. What the “National Security Laws on Hong Kong” made clear is, there is no ambiguity or no room for negotiation in Beijing’s idea in the subject of national sovereignty and security. Definitions of “National Sovereignty” and “National Security” are based on “power for power’s sake” of “totalitarianism” and such definitions did not change at all during these seven decades.



All the countries in the world, -western countries like Europe and America, have any national security laws. In the democratic countries, if people would speak or publish about anti-ruling parties or anti-government or make requests for the independence of certain areas, it will not be illegal as far as they will not try to overthrow the government. They can enjoy individual freedom which is compensated by constitutions including civil rights like speech, the press, publication and associations.



As an example, I would like to explain about Okinawa Prefecture in Japan. There are protest gatherings against the Government in a big scale as usual and there are groups and parties which request independence of Okinawa. Some of such members run for the elections but they have never been deprived of their rights for candidature by reason of their political assertions. Furthermore, in bookstores or public libraries, we can see many publications which protest the central government including the American military base and books which insist independence or self-support of Okinawa. Against such insistences or activities, the Japanese Government never say guilty from the viewpoints of national security laws.



Since 1949, China took the Marxism-Leninism political system under one-party dictatorship of the Communist Party. The governing system which the Communist Party took is called “Totalitarianism” and is different from the “Authoritarianism” which Taiwan has taken in“両蒋時代”(two Chiang’s period -Chiang Kai-shek and Chang Chin-kuo). Though there is a big difference, the Nationalist party in Taiwan at that time did not have any ability which controlled the thoughts and actions of citizens and could not manage their economic and social systems. Political systems in new China after 1949 are endowed with such capacities.



At the beginning of the decade of 1980s, the U.K. and China have started their discussions on the transferring of the sovereignty of Hong Kong in future. Hong Kong society was thrown into a panic. Pessimistic people in Hong Kong thought it unavoidable to “大陸化” (apply the system of Mainland China) after 1997 (the year of restoration) . On the other hand, optimistic people thought the discussions would expedite “香港化”(apply the system of Hong Kong) of the Mainland. Behind such controversy, there was a background of the age when Deng Xiaoping has just started his promotion of “Chinese Economic Reform”. Even after the year 1989, Deng Xiaoping had referred that it would take another fifty years to elect leaders by the vote in China even after the “Second Tiananmen Square Incident”. It means the Chinese leaders at that time did not exclude ideas which leaders can be elected by popular elections. Such ideas gave positive ground for judgment by optimists.



Mainland China has experienced processes in Hong Kong for thirty years to some extent through penetration of the market economy and capitalistic factors. However, as a governance model in China, “totalitarianism” which Deng Xiaoping has held, Zhao Ziyang has groped for and Hong Kong people have expected, had never changed to democratic and constitutional politics. China requested Hong Kong to expedite the development of processes of the Mainland together with economic development and strengthening of national power.



In other words, the “National Security Law” this time shows Hong Kong’s milestone to apply Chinese systems and expansion of “totalitarianism”. Accordingly, it will not be difficult to understand that if China, under the Communist Party, would unify Taiwan; “National Security Law” on Taiwan will be applied naturally basing on Beijing’s views of “National Sovereignty” and “National Security”.



〇Beijing’s “total jurisdiction” which applies Taiwan’s “One Country, Two Systems”    


What is the other important meaning which the “Hong Kong National Security Law” defined?

In the “One Country, Two Systems”, Central Government secured their ability of “total jurisdiction”. And, it will be inevitable that, on the assumption that Central Government will not abandon the systems of “totalitarian” and “power for power’s sake”, Beijing started the mechanism and achieve “total jurisdictions” of the central government in any type of “One Country, Two Systems”, whichever Hong Kong/Macao this time or Taiwan will accept and follow in future.



We cannot find any wordings about concept of “central total jurisdiction” in the “Basic Law” of Hong Kong. But, in the white paper for “Practice of One Country, Two System in Hong Kong Special Administrative Region” which was promulgated by State Council in June 2014 when universal suffrage was discussed, we can find the mechanism for “the central total jurisdiction”. In the “Basic Law”, its interpretation rights belong to “Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress” (Chapter 8 Article 9).



The Central Government is authorized also to enforce nationwide laws in Hong Kong Special Administrative Region. The “National Security Laws on Hong Kong” this time is one of the nationwide laws and based on the Article 18 of “The Basic Law” and attached to its supplementary provision 3.  



In principle, in the “One Country, Two Systems”, Hong Kong can keep, in the stage of system planning, their rights to have their own laws, money and privilege of custom duties and can keep freedom, on certain extent, of speech and press. However, the Central Government of Beijing is also guaranteed to have maximum power.



Beijing, this time, has established “The National Security Law on Hong Kong” directly (not through Hong Kong legislative organ). Once Beijing opens the way like this, they can establish laws directly for Hong Kong and fulfill “Total Jurisdictions by the Central Government”.



Since General Secretary Xi Jinping announced his important talk toward Taiwan on January 2, 2019, the Department of Taiwan in Beijing expedited a draft of “One Country, Two Systems – Taiwan version”. Framework, especially how to stipulate the position of Taiwan after unity, is unknown yet. But once we learn a lesson of Hong Kong, it will be clear undoubtedly that Beijing like to secure “Total Jurisdictions by the Central Government” including a mechanism of “National Security Law on Taiwan” in “One Country, Two Systems – Taiwan version”. It is an important point to be cleared for Taiwan when we learn and interpret Beijing’s “One Country, Two Systems -Taiwan version”.



“One Country, Two Systems – Taiwan version” is Beijing’s “wishful thinking stage” yet. “National Security Law for Hong Kong”, which surprised Hong Kong and the world, will make Taiwan’s understanding of the core of “One Country, Two Systems” deepen. In this paper, I argued over the suggestive meaning of the essence of “One Country, Two Systems” including its “Taiwan version” regarding “National Security Law for Hong Kong”.



I would like to put off my argument as to the impact which Taiwan people have got from “National Security Law for Hong Kong” or analysis of influence to Taiwan government, including the Cross-Strait relations, by both Democratic Progressive Party and Chinese Nationalist Party.



SGRA Kawaraban 636 in Japanese (Original)



John_Chuan-Tiong_Lim / Researcher of General Research Center of Japan (in Taiwan)   



This essay was written in the Chinese language.
Chinese to Japanese translation by Arata Hirai 
Japanese to English translation by Kazuo Kawamura
English checked by Sabina Koirala