United States says China security law a 'death knell' for Hong Kong autonomy

Daniel Fowler
May 23, 2020

The legally binding Joint Declaration, signed by China and the United Kingdom, sets out that Hong Kong will have a high degree of autonomy.

The UK Government has yet to respond to the move by Beijing.

"Attempting to circumvent the HK legislature shows a complete disrespect for the rule of law".

As Bonnie Leung of the Civil Human Rights Front, which organized some of Hong Kong's biggest protests, told The Post: "Especially after the outbreak of pandemic, I'm sure the world has realized what is wrong with the Communist regime and what harm it can do".

Under Chinese President Xi Jinping's leadership, China has chosen the second approach.

So, he finally made his move.

"The United States condemns the. proposal to unilaterally and arbitrarily impose national security legislation on Hong Kong", Pompeo said in a statement.

The proposal for the security law - expected to ban treason, subversion and sedition - was introduced into China's rubber-stamp parliament at the opening of its annual session on Friday morning.

The proposed legislation, which is expected to ban treason, subversion and sedition, has faced significant backlash in Hong Kong and from the U.S. and Taiwan. Lam has since used the coronavirus quarantine to arrest advocates of democracy in the city.

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Among them Joshua Wong and newspaper owner Jimmy Lai, who both had contact with USA government officials as they appealed for global support during last year's protest movement.

Chief Executive Carrie Lam said the city would fully cooperate with China to enact the legislation, hours before a planned evening demonstration amid residents' concerns over the future of "one country, two systems", the principle by which the Asian financial hub is overseen by Beijing.

The notion of "terrorism" also features in this proposed law. "It proves that "one country, two systems" has been completely repealed", said Biyanca Chu, 23, a protester, who was among many shocked by the announcement.

Activist Wong said he has "no doubts at all" Beijing "will continue to crack down on Hong Kong people who fight for democracy and freedom" and vowed protesters will take to the streets until their voices are heard.

Hong Kong's Chief Executive Carrie Lam, now in Beijing for the annual congress, said in a statement that she supported the bill that would safeguard security and was in the interests of all Hong Kong residents. She reiterated that safeguarding national security was the city's constitutional responsibility.

More importantly, it will likely allow Beijing to bypass LegCo if it chooses to, declaring that the NPC's Standing Committee "is authorised to draft laws related to the establishment and completion of. the legal system and enforcement mechanisms for the preservation of national security".

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US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has condemned China's plan to impose a new security law in Hong Kong, calling it a "death knell" for the city's freedoms. Conversely, for Hong Kong citizens, if they could prosper without direct Chinese rule, why not go all the way and become a Western-style democracy like Taiwan - culturally Chinese with a Western-style political economy? "It has always been clear that most protests in Hong Kong are driven by Beijing's interference that weakens Hong Kong's autonomy and the rule of law".

Martin Lee, considered the grandfather of Hong Kong's democracy movement, made a similar point to the Heritage Foundation, warning that Beijing could renege on Trump's cherished trade agreement.

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