China Moves to Enact Controversial Security Law for Hong Kong
China Communist Party has set in motion a controversial national security law for Hong Kong, a move that could limit the region’s freedoms. The law bans “treason, secession, sedition and subversion”and it can bypass Hong Kong’s lawmakers. It would also allow the central government to set up “security organs” in the territory.
Critics in Hong Kong and elsewhere are protesting the move, saying Beijing is breaking its promise to allow Hong Kong freedoms not available elsewhere in China. Mass protests are expected in Hong Kong, against what they see as an erosion of the territory’s autonomy. The fear that it could be the end of the “one country, two systems” policy.
The news of China’s plan prompted broad international condemnation and raised the prospect of further unrest. It is also expected to affect travel to Hong Kong. On Friday afternoon legislators protested against the decision in the Hong Kong legislature. They were forcibly removed.
Hong Kong Security Law
A draft resolution has been submitted to the parliament. The vote is expected to take place this upcoming week, and is seen only as a formality. BBC says that the law would criminalize the following:
- secession – breaking away from the country
- subversion – undermining the power or authority of the central government
- terrorism – using violence or intimidation against people
- activities by foreign forces that interfere in Hong Kong
Additionally is allows China to potentially have its own law enforcement agencies in Hong Kong, and apply mainland laws to the territory.
Hong Kong was handed back to China from British control in 1997. This included a mini-constitution for Hong Kong called the Basic Law. Article 23 of Hong Kong’s Basic Law says the territory must enact, “on its own”, national security laws to prohibit “treason, secession, sedition and subversion” against the Chinese government. But it was never done. When the Hong Kong government tried enacting it in 2003, half a million people protested in the streets.