Letters | Dual mechanism of national security law exemplifies ‘one country, two systems’
- Readers discuss the enforcement of the national security law in Hong Kong, and gig workers’ rights
The dual mechanism is perhaps the most unique feature of the national security law, for so far no other national law promulgated in Hong Kong requires enforcement by the central government. Under the dual mechanism, the ultimate power of making, enforcing and adjudicating in the national security law belongs to Beijing. The national security committee is authorised by the central government to maintain national security and implement the national security law in Hong Kong.
Mr Xia made it clear that the central government would only step in when the issue cannot be solved by the national security committee and the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region, which means that any other issue related to national security in Hong Kong remains the concern of the national security committee. The arrangement shows the central government’s high degree of trust in the Hong Kong government’s ability to safeguard national security in the region.
It should be pointed out that under the dual enforcement mechanism, the national security committee is enforcing the national security law on behalf of the central government. This explains the overriding status of its decision.
The dual enforcement mechanism demonstrates that maintaining national security in the SAR requires joint efforts by Hong Kong and Beijing. It is a prime example of the organic combination of the “one country” and the “two systems” perspectives for the betterment of Hong Kong.
Dr Dennis Lam, Legislative Council member and Hong Kong deputy to the NPC
More government support needed to protect gig workers’ rights
To maintain harmonious labour relations in the private sector and protect the rights of workers in Hong Kong, the Labour Department has been offering in-person consultation services to employers and employees on issues related to employment conditions, rights and obligations under the Employment Ordinance. Conciliation services are also available for the employers and employees settling their disputes voluntarily. In 2021, more than 44,000 consultation meetings were held involving about 54,000 individuals.
If the disputes cannot be resolved, the Minor Employment Claims Adjudication Board can adjudicate minor employment claims each involving not more than 10 claimants for a sum of money not exceeding HK$15,000 (US$1,900) per claimant whereas the Labour Tribunal of the Judiciary can handle cases of a larger scale. Although no data is available on the effectiveness of these services, full-time employees in Hong Kong at least have access to the government’s support and the justice system in protecting their rights under the Employment Ordinance.
Steven Fung and Henry So, Kowloon Tong