China passes Hong Kong security law

Daniel Fowler
June 30, 2020

The US "scheme to obstruct the passage of the Hong Kong national security law will never prevail", said Zhao. Pompeo has repeatedly insisted that the U.S. will treat Hong Kong in the same way that it treats mainland China, referring to the Chinese Communist Party.

"The United States is forced to take this action to protect us national security", Pompeo said.

The Chinese committee, however, is set to adopt the security law within days, reports said.

Members of Hong Kong's opposition parties are also unclear if their public support for greater autonomy will disqualify them from seeking office.

Mounting fear in Hong Kong centers on how the law will topple the firewall that separates the city of over 7 million with the mainland.

The ongoing mass movement in Hong Kong started in June a year ago, when millions took to the streets to protest against a since-scrapped extradition bill.

The U.S. Commerce Department said it was suspending "preferential treatment to Hong Kong over China, including the availability of export-license exceptions".

This time, Beijing took no chances. "I have chosen to stay in Hong Kong and to continue to fight alongside other Hong Kong people", he told RFA on Monday.

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The Hong Kong National Front, a small group pushing for the city's independence, announced on social media that it would disband its local operations and shift overseas.

China and Hong Kong could still face stiffer penalties for the law, which comes at a time when the Communist Party is determined to bring the semiautonomous city more tightly into Beijing's orbit.

"China gets to determine when its interests are involved and when a [legal] interpretation is warranted", said Cora Chan, an associate professor of law at the University of Hong Kong. Details of the legislation are expected to be released later in the day. Lam restated that the controversial National Security Law aims to restore stability in Hong Kong and it does not breach the "One Country Two Systems" framework.

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said last week that the new visa restrictions would apply to "current and former officials" of China's ruling Communist Party, "believed to be responsible for, or complicit in, undermining Hong Kong's high degree of autonomy".

"To target the US' above wrongful actions, China has made a decision to impose visa restrictions against American individuals who have behaved egregiously on matters concerning Hong Kong".

It is not yet clear how strictly the law will be applied in Hong Kong. On Tuesday morning, as Hong Kong outlets began reporting the law had passed, Lam refused to comment, saying that it would be "inappropriate" to do so given the legislative body was still meeting in Beijing.

The fallout from the law is already being felt in Hong Kong.

Hours before the vote on the law, USA officials announced that Washington would end exports of defense equipment to Hong Kong and abolish the city's preferential access to technologies with potential military application.

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