Office for Safeguarding National Security of the Central People's Government of the People's Republic of China in the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region
中華人民共和國
中央人民政府駐香港特別行政區
維護國家安全公署
National Emblem of the People
Agency overview
Formed1 July 2020 (2020-07-01)
JurisdictionCentral People's Government (State Council))
HeadquartersMetropark Hotel, 148 Tung Lo Wan Road, Causeway Bay, Hong Kong (Temporary)[1]
Island Pacific Hotel, 152 Connaught Road West, Sai Ying Pun, Hong Kong (Temporary)
15 Hoi Fan Road, Tai Kok Tsui, Kowloon, Hong Kong (Permanent, Planning)
Agency executives
Office for Safeguarding National Security of the CPG in the HKSAR
Office for Safeguarding National Security of the CPG of the PRC in the HKSAR
Traditional Chinese中華人民共和國中央人民政府駐香港特別行政區維護國家安全公署
Simplified Chinese中华人民共和国中央人民政府驻香港特别行政区维护国家安全公署
Office for Safeguarding National Security
Traditional Chinese維護國家安全公署
Simplified Chinese维护国家安全公署

The Office for Safeguarding National Security of the Central People's Government of the People's Republic of China in the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (Abbreviation: CPGNSO; Chinese: 中華人民共和國中央人民政府駐香港特別行政區維護國家安全公署; lit. 'Central People's Government National Security Office')[2] is a state security agency established by the Hong Kong national security law.[3]

The office is headed by director Zheng Yanxiong[4] and entirely staffed by mainland officials.[5] The office is a part of and funded by the Central People's Government (State Council) of China[6] and is not subject to Hong Kong jurisdiction.[3][7]

History

Inauguration of the CPGNSO headquarters
Inauguration of the CPGNSO headquarters

The CPGNSO was established on 1 July 2020 as a result of the promulgation of the Hong Kong national security law. The law was, in contrast with the regular legislative process of the region, not passed by the local Legislative Council, but by the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress in Beijing. On 3 July 2020 the State Council appointed Zheng Yanxiong as director of the organisation,[4] and Li Jiangzhou and Sun Qingye as deputy heads.[8]

Following the arrest of 53 pro-democracy figures in January 2021, the Office expressed support for the operation and singled out Benny Tai.[9][clarification needed]

In February 2021, Zheng Zehui and Deng Jianwei were added to the office as bureau chiefs.[10]

Headquarters

Main article: Property Owned by the Central People's Government in the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region

On 7 July 2020 the location of the CPGNSO temporary headquarters was announced. The Office, together with its employees' living quarters, is located in the Metropark Hotel Causeway Bay building. The hotel replaced by the CPGNSO was owned by China Travel Service (a tourism agency previously accused of assisting Chinese authorities in doxing local pro-democracy journalists and activists).[11] After the office opened on 8 July 2020,[1] the building's floor plans were removed from publicly accessible records.[12]

On April 19, 2021, the Office announced that it was taking over the Island Pacific Hotel in Sai Ying Pun as an additional work site.[13]

On April 23, 2021, it was announced that a new building for the office's use will be constructed at Tai Kok Tsui at a cost of HKD$8 million.[14] The future site is around 11,500 square metres (124,000 sq ft) and is classified within areas zoned "Government, Institution or Community" on the South West Kowloon Outline Zoning Plan.[15]

In November 2022, the CPGNSO bought a 7,171 sqft 5-bedroom mansion in Beacon Hill for HK$508 million.[16]

Legal authority

For the office to be allowed to exercise its jurisdiction on a case, either the office itself or the Government of Hong Kong need to request approval from the Central People's Government (CPG).[17][18] Statutorily, the office is only to be granted jurisdiction in cases of complexity due to the presence of foreign or external elements, inability of the regional government to enforce the law, or a major and imminent threat to national security.[18] However, the structuring of the approval process effectively means that the CPG can, since it also administers the CPGNSO, grant its organ jurisdiction at its own discretion, without legal interference from Hong Kong regional authorities.[17][19] The Hong Kong Secretary for Justice has stated that a suspect's right to engage a lawyer registered to practice in Hong Kong, but not in Mainland China, will be determined through the application of Mainland law.[20]

When the CPGNSO has been granted jurisdiction to investigate a case, the Supreme People's Procuratorate decides which body prosecutes the case, and the Supreme People's Court decides which court is to adjudicate it.[21] In these cases, procedural matters are governed by PRC law, including the Criminal Procedure Law.[22] This leads to a lack of judicial independence, the absence of the right to remain silent, the possibility of incommunicado detention, and significant restriction of the right to counsel.[17][fact or opinion?]

Immunity

The office and its staff are not subject to Hong Kong jurisdiction.[3][7] Furthermore, on-duty holders of identification or certification documents issued by the office are immune from inspection, search and detention by Hong Kong law enforcement officers.[23]

Sanctioning of staff by the United States

Office director Zheng Yanxiong was sanctioned by the United States Treasury in August 2020 pursuant to the Normalization Executive Order (Executive Order 13936). The order, which had been issued by US President Donald Trump on 14 July, had been a response to the imposition of the national security law.[24][25] Deputy director Li Jiangzhou was sanctioned by the US on 9 November.[26] Deputy director Sun Qingye was sanctioned by the US on 15 January 2021.[27]

See also

National security and Intelligence
Chinese oversight of Hong Kong

References

  1. ^ a b "銅鑼灣維景酒店成國安公署臨時基地 消息:明日早上開幕". 香港01 (in Chinese). 7 July 2020. Retrieved 7 July 2020.
  2. ^ "中央人民政府驻香港特别行政区维护国家安全公署在香港揭牌-新华网". www.xinhuanet.com. Retrieved 10 July 2022.
  3. ^ a b c "Hong Kong National Security Law Promulgated, Came into Effect June 30, 2020". Morrison & Foerster. 1 July 2020. Archived from the original on 2 July 2020. Retrieved 2 July 2020.
  4. ^ a b "China appoints hard-line Hong Kong security chief". BBC News. 3 July 2020. Archived from the original on 8 August 2020. Retrieved 3 July 2020.
  5. ^ Davis, Michael C. (2022). "Hong Kong: How Beijing Perfected Repression". Journal of Democracy. 33 (1): 100–115. doi:10.1353/jod.2022.0007.
  6. ^ "Law of the People's Republic of China on Safeguarding National Security in the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region". Article 48, 51, of 1 July 2020. National People's Congress. Archived from the original on 3 July 2020. Retrieved 3 July 2020.
  7. ^ a b "张晓明:驻港国安公署职务行为不受香港特区管辖合情合理". Xinhua (in Chinese). 1 July 2020. Archived from the original on 2 July 2020. Retrieved 2 July 2020.
  8. ^ "State Council appoints officials for central gov't national security office in HKSAR". China.org.cn. 3 July 2020. Archived from the original on 3 July 2020. Retrieved 3 July 2020.
  9. ^ "What sparked Hong Kong's biggest mass arrests under national security law?". South China Morning Post. 6 January 2021. Archived from the original on 25 April 2021. Retrieved 7 January 2021.
  10. ^ "More CCP officials delegated to oversee national security office for Hong Kong | Apple Daily". Apple Daily 蘋果日報 (in Chinese (Hong Kong)). Archived from the original on 22 February 2021. Retrieved 22 February 2021.
  11. ^ Ho, Kelly (5 August 2020). "Hong Kong newspaper staff claim photos leaked on 'doxxing' site linked to Chinese travel agency". Hong Kong Free Press HKFP. Retrieved 22 August 2022.
  12. ^ 周, 偉強; 陳, 信熙; 李, 穎霖 (7 July 2020). "國安法│變身國安公署臨時基地 銅鑼灣維景酒店網上圖則離奇消失". 香港01 (in Chinese). Archived from the original on 9 July 2020. Retrieved 9 July 2020.
  13. ^ "Beijing's national security office in Hong Kong takes over second hotel". South China Morning Post. 17 April 2021. Archived from the original on 9 May 2021. Retrieved 19 April 2021.
  14. ^ "Hong Kong Office for Safeguarding National Security allocated permanent site in Tai Kok Tsui". 23 April 2021. Retrieved 23 June 2021.
  15. ^ "Land for office premises of Office for Safeguarding National Security of the Central People's Government in the HKSAR".
  16. ^ Standard, The. "China’s security agency buys HK$508mn Hong Kong mansion". The Standard. Retrieved 8 November 2022.
  17. ^ a b c "Legislation Summary: Hong Kong National Security Law". NPC Observer. 30 June 2020. Archived from the original on 2 July 2020. Retrieved 2 July 2020.
  18. ^ a b "Law of the People's Republic of China on Safeguarding National Security in the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region". Article 55, of 1 July 2020. National People's Congress. Archived from the original on 3 July 2020. Retrieved 3 July 2020.
  19. ^ "Law of the People's Republic of China on Safeguarding National Security in the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region". Article 48, 55, of 1 July 2020. National People's Congress. Archived from the original on 3 July 2020. Retrieved 3 July 2020.
  20. ^ "LCQ9: National security law for Hong Kong". The Government of Hong Kong Special Administrative Region - Press Releases. 15 July 2020. Retrieved 15 July 2020.
  21. ^ "Law of the People's Republic of China on Safeguarding National Security in the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region". Article 56, of 1 July 2020. National People's Congress. Archived from the original on 23 June 2021. Retrieved 3 July 2020.
  22. ^ "Law of the People's Republic of China on Safeguarding National Security in the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region". Article 57, of 1 July 2020. National People's Congress. Archived from the original on 3 July 2020. Retrieved 3 July 2020.
  23. ^ "Law of the People's Republic of China on Safeguarding National Security in the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region". Article 60, of 1 July 2020. National People's Congress. Archived from the original on 3 July 2020. Retrieved 3 July 2020.
  24. ^ Grundy, Tom (7 August 2020). "US sanctions Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam, police chief and 9 other top officials for 'undermining autonomy'". Hong Kong Free Press. Archived from the original on 3 March 2021. Retrieved 18 November 2020.
  25. ^ "Treasury Sanctions Individuals for Undermining Hong Kong's Autonomy". United States Department of the Treasury. 7 August 2020. Archived from the original on 7 August 2020. Retrieved 10 November 2020.
  26. ^ Grundy, Tom (10 November 2020). "US hits four more officials over Hong Kong freedoms". Hong Kong Free Press / AFP. Archived from the original on 10 November 2020. Retrieved 6 December 2020.
  27. ^ Pamuk, Humeyra; Brunnstrom, David (15 January 2021). "U.S. announces new sanctions on six linked to Hong Kong mass arrests". Reuters.com. Archived from the original on 19 January 2021. Retrieved 16 January 2021.