China's parliament votes to adopt controversial Hong Kong security law

Daniel Fowler
May 28, 2020

The law, likely to take effect as soon as June, would authorize the mainland to prevent "secession, subversion, terrorism and foreign interference" in the semi-autonomous city.

The proposed law has prompted protests in Hong Kong and has been denounced internationally, with observers warning it could curtail numerous fundamental political freedoms and civil liberties guaranteed in the agreement handing the city over from British to Chinese rule in 1997.

The pandemic has added to strains for the ruling Communist Party that include anti-government protests in Hong Kong and a tariff war with Washington. "No reasonable person can assert today that Hong Kong maintains a high degree of autonomy from China, given facts on the ground".

The National People's Congress approved the bill as it wrapped up an annual session that was held under intensive anti-coronavirus controls.

"The decision adopted by the NPC session is designed for steady implementation of "one country, two systems" and Hong Kong's long-term prosperity and stability", Li said at a news conference.

The plans have prompted condemnation from foreign governments, investors and Hong Kong's pro-democracy movement, who say China is eradicating the freedoms it promised the city under its 1997 handover agreement with Britain.

"We call on the Government of China to work with the Hong Kong SAR Government and the people of Hong Kong to find a mutually acceptable accommodation that will honor China's global obligations under the UN-filed Sino-British Joint Declaration", the UK-US-Canadian-Australian statement said.

The allies also say they are "deeply concerned" that the new law will deepen divisions in Hong Kong, which has seen repeated waves of protests and clashes over the territory's relationship with the mainland.

"It also raises the prospect of prosecution in Hong Kong for political crimes, and undermines existing commitments to protect the rights of Hong Kong people", the statement said. Last week, the top U.S. diplomat warned that the passage of the legislation would be a "death knell" for Hong Kong's autonomy.

Governments in the region reacted with alarm.

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According to the newspaper, the new legislation would require Hong Kong's regional government to set up new institutions that would guarantee the safety of civilians.

On Wednesday, China blocked the Trump administration's call for a meeting of the National Security Council about the national security law. The key tenets of the legislation include an assessment of harassment and threats to Uighurs and other Chinese nationals in the U.S., and assessment of China's acquisition of technology for surveillance of persecuted minorities.

The Liberal Democrats called for the rights enjoyed by BN (O) passport holders to be extended to all Hong Kong citizens.

China, one of five members with veto power, accused the U.S. of being the "troublemaker of the world".

China's parliament is expected to approve law changing Hong Kong security law by Thursday.

China's parliament today approved the imposition of security law on Hong Kong even as the United States announced that it was revoking the special status conferred on Hong Kong.

Riot police stand on guard in the middle of the Causeway Bay area during the the protest.

Dozens of protesters gathered in a shopping mall to chant slogans but there was no repeat of disturbances the previous day when police made 360 arrests as thousands took to the streets in anger over the anthem bill and the national security legislation proposed by China.

The protests are a continuation of turmoil that began past year when China proposed legislation that would return suspected criminals in Hong Kong to the mainland for trial.

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