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Beijing has made clear it wants new security legislation passed after Hong Kong was rocked by massive and sometimes violent pro-democracy protests last year Photo: AFP

Outrage in Hong Kong as China pushes security law


China has launched one of its fiercest assaults on Hong Kong's treasured autonomy with its move to impose a security law, pro-democracy campaigners said Friday as they vowed to take to the streets in protest.

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.

It followed repeated warnings from China's communist leaders they would no longer tolerate dissent in Hong Kong, a semi-autonomous city that endured seven months of massive pro-democracy protests last year.

"This is the end of Hong Kong, this is the end of 'One Country, Two Systems', make no mistake about it," Civic Party lawmaker Dennis Kwok told reporters.

Prominent democracy activist Joshua Wong said China's message to protesters seeking to maintain their freedoms was clear.

"Beijing is attempting to silence Hongkongers' critical voices with force and fear," Wong said on Twitter, while expressing defiance. "HKers will not scare off in the face of wolf warrior policy."

On internet threads and chat apps used by the pro-democracy movement, there were calls to resume the protests of last year that were largely subdued in recent months because of coronavirus restrictions.

"Hong Kong people will have to face the choice for their future," said one comment on the Telegram platform often used by protesters, calling for people to rally on Sunday.

Hong Kong has been allowed a limited form of autonomy since returning from British to Chinese rule in 1997, with those unique freedoms enshrined under a "One Country, Two Systems" handover agreement.

However, a huge pro-democracy movement has built in the face of fears China has been steadily eroding those freedoms.

Activists said the planned national security law, if implemented, would be one of the most significant erosions of Hong Kong's liberties since 1997.

Local pro-democracy lawmaker Tanya Chan said Beijing had "shown zero respect for Hong Kong people".

"Many Hong Kongers must be as angry as us now, but we must remember not to give up," she added.

In announcing the plans late on Thursday night, the Communist Party gave few specifics for the planned law other than it would strengthen "enforcement mechanisms" for Hong Kong.

Article 23 of Hong Kong's mini-constitution, the Basic Law, says the city must enact a law to prohibit "treason, secession, sedition (and) subversion" against the Chinese government.

But the clause has never been implemented due to fears it would destroy Hong Kong's cherished civil rights.

An attempt to have Article 23 pass through Hong Kong's legislature in 2003 was shelved after half a million people took to the streets in protest against it.

China's move this week would circumvent Hong Kong's legislature by having it imposed by the national parliament, according to Wong and other campaigners.

The United States reacted swiftly to China's announcement, with State Department spokeswoman Morgan Ortagus warning that imposing such a law on Hong Kong would be "highly destabilising, and would be met with strong condemnation from the United States and the international community".

President Donald Trump gave a vague initial response that nevertheless warned of a stronger reaction.

"I don't know what it is, because nobody knows yet. If it happens, we'll address that issue very strongly," Trump said.

The U.S. Congress late last year angered China by passing a law that would strip Hong Kong's preferential trading status if it is no longer considered autonomous from the mainland.

The State Department warned China's actions could impact its decision on that status.

US senators on Thursday also introduced legislation to impose sanctions on any entity involved in curbing Hong Kong's autonomy.

That could include police cracking down on demonstrators and Chinese officials involved in Hong Kong policy -- as well as banks that conduct transactions with anyone involved in curbing the territory's freedoms.

Senator Pat Toomey, who spearheaded the legislation, described Hong Kong as "the canary in the coal mine for Asia".

"Beijing's growing interference could have a chilling effect on other nations struggling for freedom in China's shadow," he said.

Chris Patten, Hong Kong's final British governor before the 1997 handover, said the proposal signalled a "comprehensive assault on the city's autonomy" and would be "hugely damaging".

© 2020 AFP

©2020 GPlusMedia Inc.

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Free Hong Kong! You can't live under tyranny time to be free

25 ( +26 / -1 )

I hope Hongkong will conduct the biggest riot the world have ever seen!

China is a pain in the...

22 ( +23 / -1 )

Get out from under the boot of the corrupt CCP before it is too late, once hong kong falls taiwan will be next

21 ( +22 / -1 )

Screw China stay strong Hong Kong.

22 ( +23 / -1 )

All power to Hong Kong and the pro-democracy activists.

22 ( +23 / -1 )

May the democracy gods be with all the people of Hong Kong and Taiwan. Stand up and slay that dragon.

19 ( +20 / -1 )

The Communist Party is deliberately doing this to test the waters. If Hong Kong falls, Taiwan will be next...

Let's protect the autonomy of Hong Kong and show China it can't crush people so easily!

15 ( +17 / -2 )

China is disgusting.

15 ( +16 / -1 )

China sucks! The world needs to pounce on them now!

17 ( +18 / -1 )

As predictable as it is inevitable. Hong Kong is lost.

-6 ( +4 / -10 )

Fire up them missiles!

10 ( +11 / -1 )

My dearest Hong Kong, pls stay strong and show to disgusting mainland your defiance. We will not leave you alone !!!!

14 ( +15 / -1 )

The People from Tibet know what a Chinese promise is worth. And the people from Hongkong never believed the mainland Chinese, not before 1997, and not know.

We do not need China for anything, 90 % of what they make is junk. And it is impossible to trust them on quality control.  I mentioned before, consumers never benefitted from " made in China ", as the savings were always scoped up by the companies producing in China, the distributors and the retailers.

Since years and whenever possible I buy NOTHING from China. Even the Chinese come to HK and Japan to buy medical supplies and food. I really check even as far as parts from a final product and either I do not buy if made in China or I find an alternative. My wife of course, being from Hongkong, is even more determined. 

We are lucky to have President Trump, no matter like him or not, and maybe he does things right even accidently but he is standing up to the bully of the world, China.  Now is the time to stop them. 

Xi is a megalomaniac. As much a dictator as Stalin or Mao.

19 ( +21 / -2 )

If civil war in China doesn't end the CCP first then it will be at the hands of the world's forces as one fed up with the CCP bully child. One way or another war is coming as long as the CCP keeps pushing to see how far they can get away with it. Soon they will either intentionally or accidentally go too far and won't be able to walk it back.

11 ( +12 / -1 )

China sucks! The world needs to pounce on them now!

That's unlikely. China is a huge trading partner and one of the most powerful nations on earth.

There's countless human rights abuses, disappearances, land grabs and corruption. Why would the world "pounce" now?

Thoughts go out to the people of Hong Kong and the millions of innocents in China, too.

-10 ( +6 / -16 )

China sucks! The world needs to pounce on them now!

China sucks! The world needs to pounce on them now!

13 ( +15 / -2 )

Is China feeling empowered now it has overcome Covid-19? Seems to be so. Increased tensions with US. Increased bullying of neighbors in the South China Sea. Now it's Hong Kong turn. Say goodbye to one country, two systems.

9 ( +12 / -3 )

China sucks! The world needs to pounce on them now!

Might as well say that about the US. It's just as ridiculous.

Countless wars and military incursions/occupations, toppling democratically elected governments, stoking the flames of war, polluting the planet, locking up innocents because of their skin color/nationality.

Now, let's clarify. It's Xi and his corruption of a sacred ideology who are the scoundrels, not the good people of China.

Instead of "pouncing" like a slobbering, mindless canine. perhaps the "world" should be thinking of sanctions and trying to resist the seductive yuan.

-7 ( +6 / -13 )

The CCP is getting brazen with each passing day.

There needs to be strong sanctions against China, the world has mollycoddled them too much and for too long!

10 ( +11 / -1 )

Might as well say that about the US

The last time I checked, the U.S. was not a totalitarian Communist dictatorship.

9 ( +12 / -3 )

The last time I checked, the U.S. was not a totalitarian Communist dictatorship.

Neither is China.

They are both authoritarian, both responsible for millions of deaths and immense poverty around the globe.

Communism doesn't fit with either country's actions towards their citizens and others.

-15 ( +1 / -16 )

Xi Jinping and the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) are terrified that they will lose control and be ousted, like other authoritarian systems, which have typically failed around the 70 year mark. They deeply fear pro-democracy activities in HK will seep into the mainland leading to the beginning of the end for their rule, hence the crackdown. 

Police brutality is is well documented, especially following the importation of “police” from the mainland. The police are now waging a campaign of terror against the local population, randomly attacking people — protesters and others who are merely nearby trying to go about their lives — to instill a deep fear.

The next step, after instilling terror, will be to replace the local HK population with mainlanders, much as they have done in Tibet and Xinjang. 

They recently cancelled a June 4 Tiananmen photo exhibit in Macau as well.

Xi’s “Communism with Chinese Characteristics” is clearly brutal, repressive and against the interest of its citizens and all the people of the world whom they seek to control with censorship and propaganda. 

Now is is the time — the last chance — for the nations of the world to oppose the CCP and stop their agenda. If the CCP succeeds, their “belt and road” will be used to bind and enslave all nations.

12 ( +13 / -1 )

Neither is China.

May I politely direct you towards your encyclopoedia so you can look up the acronym "CCP".

10 ( +11 / -1 )

Toasted HereticToday  03:03 pm JST

China sucks! The world needs to pounce on them now!

That's unlikely. China is a huge trading partner and one of the most powerful nations on earth.

Correct up untll 2020. But things are going to change big time in many ways for the world, and their relationship with China. It is already happening.

China is obviously fearful that they are going to lose Taiwan completely. Attempting to take it by force may draw it into conflict with the wole world. So they are tightening the screws on Hong Kong where they feel no country will be willing to risk a conflict. All power to the free people of Hong Kong.

12 ( +14 / -2 )

Question should be asked , who is funding and fueling this violent unrest in Hong Kong, Hong Kong is going to eventually revert fully to China, legally. So who has the most to gain , who wants a conflict with China, certainly not the majority of the residents of Hong Kong, and they are the ones suffering with the on going violent protests.

-9 ( +0 / -9 )

Power to the people of Hong Kong! Time to stand up and fight back at the puppet HK government, police and those citizens who are sympathetic to Communist China.

The time to stop communism is NOW. Another 6-12 months, and HK will be entirely in the hands of a brutal, anti-democratic regime. Thousands of freedom-loving HK citizens will be arrested and sent to the mainland, never to be seen again. This nightmare reality MUST be fought against at any cost.

9 ( +9 / -0 )

It would be nice if Hong Kong people could resist the evil CCP tyranny, but given the numbers it seems unlikely. I would advise those who can to get out. Come to Japan, go to the US or Canada or Taiwan. Just escape.

Japan should immediately make a humanitarian exception to the closed borders policy and allow Hong Kong residents in here. US states which have restrictions on visitors from Hong Kong (e.g. Hawaii) should immediately let them in.

6 ( +6 / -0 )

"This is the end of Hong Kong, this is the end of 'One Country, Two Systems', make no mistake about it," Civic Party lawmaker Dennis Kwok told reporters.

They have just admitted the ending the agreed "one country, two systems" years earlier than it was suppose to be.

4 ( +4 / -0 ) this should help explain my previous comment

0 ( +0 / -0 )

HK is now part of China just like da-kine Hawaii now a part and parcel of the USA.

Chris Patten and his boss should have handed HK to the ROC instead of the PROC.

Clearly his and the UK's fault for the current state of affairs in their former colony.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

I've been saying this a few years - younger Kongers need to get out and build their lives elsewhere. You can always visit home in the future. Singapore or Taipei are nice places too, as are Australia, Canada, UK, and parts of the USA.

Older Kongers have a harder decision. If you can, put your flat on the market and see what you can get from a mainlander looking to immigrate. Could be that valuation is enough to retire on in some other 1st-world country with a huge garden.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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