world

China passes controversial Hong Kong security law

30 Comments
By Clare Jim and Yanni Chow

China's parliament passed national security legislation for Hong Kong on Tuesday, setting the stage for the most radical changes to the former British colony's way of life since it returned to Chinese rule 23 years ago.

State media is expected to publish details of the law - which comes in response to last year's often-violent pro-democracy protests in the city and aims to tackle subversion, terrorism, separatism and collusion with foreign forces - later on Tuesday.

Amid fears the legislation will crush the global financial hub's rights and freedoms, and reports that the heaviest penalty under it would be life imprisonment, prominent pro-democracy activist Joshua Wong said he would quit his Demosisto group.

"It marks the end of Hong Kong that the world knew before," Wong said on Twitter.

The legislation pushes Beijing further along a collision course with the United States, Britain and other Western governments, which have said it erodes the high degree of autonomy the city was granted at its July 1, 1997, handover.

The United States began eliminating Hong Kong's special status under U.S. law on Monday, halting defence exports and restricting the territory's access to high-technology products.

Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam, speaking at her regular weekly news conference, said it was not appropriate for her to comment on the legislation as the meeting in Beijing was still going on, but she threw a jibe at the United States.

"No sort of sanctioning action will ever scare us," Lam said.

Lau Siu-kai, vice-president of a think-tank under the Beijing cabinet's Hong Kong and Macau Affairs Office, told Reuters the law was passed unanimously with 162 votes. It is expected to come into force imminently.

The editor-in-chief of the Global Times, a tabloid published by the People's Daily, the official newspaper of China's ruling Communist Party, said on Twitter the heaviest penalty under the law was life imprisonment, without providing details.

Authorities in Beijing and Hong Kong have repeatedly said the legislation is aimed at a few "troublemakers" and will not affect rights and freedoms, nor investor interests.

The legislation may get an early test with activists and pro-democracy politicians saying they would defy a police ban, amid coronavirus restrictions, on a rally on the anniversary of the July 1 handover.

At last year's demonstration, which came amid a series of pro-democracy protests, a crowd stormed and vandalised the city's legislature.

"We will never accept the passing of the law, even though it is so overpowering," said Democratic Party chairman Wu Chi-wai.

It is not clear if attending the unauthorised rally would constitute a national security crime if the law came into force by then.

A majority in Hong Kong opposes the legislation, a poll conducted for Reuters this month showed, but support for the protest movement has slipped, now getting the backing of a slim majority.

This month, China's official Xinhua news agency unveiled some of the law's provisions, including that it would supersede existing Hong Kong legislation and that interpretation powers belong to China's parliament top committee.

Beijing is expected to set up a national security office in Hong Kong for the first time and could also exercise jurisdiction on certain cases.

Judges for security cases are expected to be appointed by the city's chief executive. Senior judges now allocate rosters up through Hong Kong's independent judicial system.

It is not known which specific activities are to be made illegal, how precisely they are defined or what punishment they carry.

Hong Kong is one of many developing conflicts between China and the United States, on top of trade, the South China Sea and the coronavirus pandemic.

Britain has said the security law would violate China's international obligations and its handover agreement.

Democratically ruled and Chinese-claimed Taiwan said it"strongly condemns" the legislation and its president, Tsai Ing-wen, said she was very disappointed.

The European Union has said it could take China to the International Court of Justice in The Hague over it.

China has hit back at the outcry, denouncing "interference" in its internal affairs.

© Thomson Reuters 2020.

©2020 GPlusMedia Inc.

30 Comments
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Hong Kong stocks were up 0.9% on Tuesday, in line with Asian markets.

What an unprofessional way of ending an article.

8 ( +11 / -3 )

Interference in its internal affairs? Who cares. Call it what you will. We are talking about people. Hong Kong people. Who cares what China calls the demolition of Hong Kong? I hope that the people of Hong Kong have enough love of Hong Kong to do what they need to do get the worlds attention and fight back hard. Real hard.

13 ( +17 / -4 )

The legislation pushes Beijing further along a collision course with the United States, Britain and other Western governments, which have said it erodes the high degree of autonomy the global financial hub was granted at its July 1, 1997 handover.

Hey, it's been 23 years, time to bring HK to heel. The CCP knows what's best for HK.

The United States began eliminating Hong Kong's special status under U.S. law on Monday, halting defense exports and restricting the territory's access to high technology products.

Can't be helped, can't have the CCP getting hold of this stuff.

-7 ( +3 / -10 )

The HangSeng Index is soaring, at all time high 24480.26!

See, the bill has public supports! Because that is a measure punishing sabotaging and arsons! The Hong Kong public knows this is not the end of one country two system policy instead it boost social stability!

Too bad, no more US Navy ship port visiting Hong Kong, maybe a bit unconvenience for those bars and pubs in Wanchai district and those Philipinos/Indonesian ladies!

-15 ( +4 / -19 )

The European Parliament earlier in June passed a resolution saying the European Union should take China to the International Court of Justice in The Hague if Beijing imposed the law.

Go for it EU,and I hope that every western democracy,including Japan will bring these bullies expansionists to the Hague.

It might be symbolic but it will show a firm opposition of the free and democratic world against this murder of rights in Hong Kong.

10 ( +13 / -3 )

The European Parliament earlier in June passed a resolution saying the European Union should take China to the International Court of Justice in The Hague if Beijing imposed the law.

And once they are there might as well try them for the other crimes, seek reparations for the damage done by their mishandling and lies about the virus too.

9 ( +11 / -2 )

This is frightening and heartbreaking for the people of Hong Kong.

My heart is with them - and with democracy in their beloved home.

7 ( +10 / -3 )

China proved their imperialism and fascism will continue. I mean its 5 minutes to 12 to realize that now it is about the whole planet. The only way how to stop this tyranny is to boycott and isolate this evil country. China has no right to be in a society of democratic countries who respect human being rights, freedom and democracy. Taiwan is next... But what is after Taiwan?

China is without any doubt bracing for revenge. Disgusting and disgraceful.

10 ( +13 / -3 )

unbelievable and disgusting. xi is the puppet master of china parliament and carrie lam. shame.

8 ( +11 / -3 )

elephant200Today 12:52 pm JST

The HangSeng Index is soaring, at all time high 24480.26!

See, the bill has public supports! Because that is a measure punishing sabotaging and arsons! The Hong Kong public knows this is not the end of one country two system policy instead it boost social stability!

It's been a few months that the HSI has been totally disconnected from the reality of the economy. China has been buying heavily all over the board to keep it afloat.

8 ( +9 / -1 )

@elephant200

You're conveniently forgetting who dominates the Hang Seng, CCP controlled companies. Of course they're going to cleanup!

Hong Kong has been slowly ceding its power over to Beijing for years. The writing was on the wall with introduction of the through-train trading system (where mainland investors pay fees to the mainland exchange when buying HK stocks).

Even on mainland China, when new laws are introduced, there's a delay between passing laws and promulgation. Because time is needed to repeal old conflicting laws, and for authorities to distribute details of the new laws and manage the transition.

The fact promulgation is immdediate for the new HK laws (even before the HK CEO has even seen the laws) says this is just a big finger up to HK, AND its pro‐Beijing government. IMHO, in time we will see pro Beijing bureaucrats and lawmakers hauled off to the mainland to face justice for breaching these same laws, and poetic justice will be served on the likes of Lam.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

"the law was passed unanimously with 162 votes. It is expected to come into force imminently."

Of course it did. And I think you mean "to come into force 'immediately'."

"Authorities in Beijing and Hong Kong have repeatedly said the legislation is aimed at a few "troublemakers" and will not affect rights and freedoms, nor investor interests."

Haha, okay. /s

"including that it would supersede existing Hong Kong legislation and that interpretation powers belong to China's parliament top committee."

Meaning Beijing will sidestep all HK legislation and do what it wants. This is it, HKers, if you don't like this or what's about to happen next, leave.

5 ( +7 / -2 )

This is to ensure what transpired last summer doesn't happen again. But it's China and no surprise here.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

Some people say Hong Kong is not China. But you have to distinquish between China as an ethnological/cultural entity, on one hand, and China as a political entity, on the other.

Hong Kong is China in the former sense without any doubt. It shares inherent cultural traits with mainland China in many ways, historically and linguistically. In this sense, too, Taiwan is no different.

Politically, though, the three regions aren't the same. The Hong Kong issue must be considered in this vein.

-5 ( +1 / -6 )

Why is the world continuing to do business with China? Illegally taking territory from other Asian nations, killing Indian soldiers, sterilization and imprisonment of Muslims in China. Is it a coincidence we’ve now heard of another potential virus originating from China again? Their virus has threatened our way of life.

Sanction and isolate China. Free Tibet and Taiwan.

5 ( +8 / -3 )

Not surprised. Send in the next nation(s) and territory(ies) to take the Red, if they haven't done so economically already.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

The European Union has said it could take China to the International Court of Justice in The Hague over it.

Where was the outrage at the Muslims in China being placed in concentration camps, being sterilized, and being harvested for organs?

5 ( +5 / -0 )

People should wait to see if HK is really down or rise after the national security law is implemented. be it US or China the one who can develop HK is winner. let us give judgement say in two years.

-3 ( +1 / -4 )

The CCP legislators are all sheep. None have the guts to go against their peers. None are leaders.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

RESIST and fight, HKers! Resist this illegal law and this illegal authority.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

SilvafanToday  09:23 pm JST

The European Union has said it could take China to the International Court of Justice in The Hague over it.

Where was the outrage at the Muslims in China being placed in concentration camps, being sterilized, and being harvested for organs?

Too many Americans are brainwashed, they think 'Muslim' is an evil thing to be so they don't care. And even if it was say the Han ethnic group too many American TV junkies would say, 'It's not my problem'. Sad to say, too many of my fellow Americans are indifferent to anyone other than themselves. They just don't give a damn.

-6 ( +4 / -10 )

This was a VERY BIG blunder on the part of the UK, for "returning" Hong Kong, even thou the CCP wasn't who the territory was supposed to be returned to, and people where talking a lot about this way before 1997.

The least the UK should do is give all Hong Kong citizens a very clear and simple UK nationality path, so that they can flee this death province.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

So, does this also mean an end to the HK$ ?

0 ( +1 / -1 )

The only solution forward, is for the Global Community to declare China as a Terrorist state - citing the recent defections from their own Scientists who are giving closed hearing evidence over the real reasons behind the Covid-19 spread.

China's CCP doesn't need us, and we certainly can do without their interference and bullying tactics on us .... so good riddance to them.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

It's all win-win for China unfortunately. If HK is ruined, Shenzen benefits. If the HK populace emigrates en masse, the Han Chinese move in and the troubles cease. If HK falls under the miserable CCP boot, even better.

The rest of the world probably won't do anything meaninful to help HK. China's days are numbered though, they'll all get old before they truly get rich. China will inevitably rip itself apart & start again like it always has.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Exodus, get out of HK, if you can

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Good, about time too.

-4 ( +0 / -4 )

Can we call this a new version of the Anschluss? It looks quite like the last step of an annexation. Just as someone mentioned before me, it is more than time to declare China a terrorist state for a number of reasons in recent times.

We can count the destruction of democracy in Hong Kong, ethnic and cultural genocide in Xinjiang, a lack of transparency and cooperation in fighting COVID-19, threats against Taiwan and Japan, violating borders with a neighbor (India), bringing charges of espionnage against people as means of retaliation to the fact that one of their darlings has been found criminally liable for extradition by an independent court, etc. That is more than enough to treat China as a pariah.

As for people who applaud this move against Hong Kong, one message stands: you are either a despicable person or a wumao. I can't wait to see how history will judge you.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

It's hard to understand why everybody looks the other way when looking at all of the nasty things this government is doing to its own citizens and whatnot.

Oh, yeah, that's right. It's all about economics. Where should we draw the line?

1 ( +1 / -0 )

The end of Hong Kong, only 23 years the agreement with Britain. Some people need to leave before they are jailed.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

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