China passes controversial national security law for Hong Kong
June 30, 2020 @ 11:09 +03:00
The top decision-making body in China’s parliament has passed the contentious national security law for Hong Kong, according to a member of the Standing Committee of China’s National People’s Congress. Tam Yiu Chung, the sole Hong Kong delegate to the committee, confirmed on Tuesday that the law was passed. Reuters cited Cable TV earlier and reported that the law was passed unanimously. It comes ahead of tomorrow’s anniversary marking Hong Kong’s handover from the U.K. to mainland China on July 1, 1997.
Hong Kong — a former British colony governed under the “one country, two systems” framework — enjoys some freedoms that other Chinese cities do not have. They include limited election rights and a largely separate legal and economic system. Critics say the new law will undermine the autonomy promised to the special administrative region for 50 years after the handover — or until 2047. There is no clarity on what will happen when the policy ceases.
Few details about the law have been unveiled, but Beijing says the legislation is aimed at prohibiting secession, subversion of state power, terrorism activities and foreign interference. It was proposed during China’s annual parliamentary meeting in late May and reignited protests in Hong Kong over fears that the city’s freedoms would be eroded. Following reports of that the law had been passed, prominent Hong Kong activist Joshua Wong announced that he would be stepping down as secretary general of pro-democracy party, Demosisto, and withdrawing from the group. Fellow members Nathan Law and Agnes Chow made similar announcements on Facebook.
The South China Morning Post reported that Hong Kong delegates to China’s top advisory body have been asked to attend a meeting at 3 p.m. on Tuesday. It also cited sources who said state news agency Xinhua would publish details of the legislation in the afternoon. A full draft of the law has not been publicly revealed thus far. Countries including the U.K. have criticized Beijing over the law which they say will violate the rights of Hong Kong citizens. The European Parliament this month voted for the EU to take China to the International Court of Justice if the national security law is imposed on Hong Kong, Reuters reported.
The U.S. Senate last week passed legislation that would impose mandatory sanctions on people or companies that back efforts by China to restrict Hong Kong’s autonomy. But for the Hong Kong Autonomy Act to become law, it must be passed by the House of Representatives and signed by U.S. President Donald Trump.
It came after Secretary of State Mike Pompeo told Congress in late May that the city was no longer highly independent from China.
China passes controversial national security law for Hong Kong, CNBC, Jun 30