Chief Executive Carrie Lam said on Tuesday that many Hong Kong people are living in fear, as she explained why the city urgently needs the national security legislation being drawn up by Beijing.
Speaking to the media before going into this week's Executive Council meeting, Lam said it is an "objective fact" that many law-abiding residents of the SAR are scared they will be beaten up on the streets, that shop owners fear their premises will be attacked, and that others are worried about being doxxed online.
"There is an increasing national security threat in Hong Kong. Looking back to what has happened in the past year, there have been some incidents advocating Hong Kong independence, foreign interference, and even action aimed at overthrowing the SAR government. It is blatantly clear that these acts threaten national security," Lam said.
"Residents are living in fear. Some ask whether Hong Kong is still a city with the rule of law, or whether it is rule of fear," she added.
"The Central People's Government is very much concerned about every citizen. There is no way the CPG can turn a blind eye. How can we leave Hong Kong like this?"
Lam again quoted the late paramount leader Deng Xiaoping as saying there would be situations in Hong Kong that could not be resolved without the Central People's Government stepping in, and said now is one such occasion.
She reiterated that the authorities see little chance of getting Article 23 national security law approved by Legco in the foreseeable future, adding that many people are happy to see that the National People's Congress is taking up the matter instead.
She said Beijing is under a lot of pressure from overseas critics over its decision to impose a national security law on Hong Kong, but the Central People's Government is willing to shoulder the responsibility and carry out this task.