China Set To Impose Controversial National Security Law On Hong Kong
China on Friday introduced the draft of a controversial national security law in Hong Kong and it’s parliament to tighten its grip on Hong Kong. This could be the biggest blow to Hong Kong’s autonomy and personal freedom of citizens since 1977, when Hong Kong came under the rule of China.
The new law would proscribe secessionist and subversive activity as well as foreign interference and terrorism in the city - all developments that had been troubling Beijing for some time, but most pressingly over the past year of increasingly violent anti-government protests, Hong Kong-based South China Morning Post reported.
Critics and pro-democracy activists say that this would be the end of Hong Kong’s freedom and that China is breaking it’s promise to allow Hong Kong’s autonomy status. This bill is likely to fuel public anger and may even trigger fresh protests and demands for democratic reforms.
“This is the end of Hong Kong.”— Al Jazeera English (@AJEnglish) May 22, 2020
Activists say China’s plan to impose a new national security law will destroy the “One Country, Two Systems” framework under which the territory enjoys semi-autonomy.
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While the seven-month-long agitation in 2019 in which millions took part subsided during the coronavirus crisis from January to April, protestors returned to streets this month.
A number of pro-democracy figures in Hong Kong, including Democratic Party leader Wu Chi-wai, said the announcement was the death of "one country, two systems".
Student activist and politician Joshua Wong tweeted that the move was an attempt by Beijing to "silence Hong Kongers' critical voices with force and fear".
1/ On the eve of HK's Tiananmen massacre vigil, Beijing is now scrapping its promise of #1country2systems by circumventing HK’s legislature and directly imposing the most controversial national security law #article23 upon Hong Kong.— Joshua Wong 黃之鋒 (@joshuawongcf) May 21, 2020
Pro-democracy activists fear the law will be used to muzzle protests in defiance of the freedoms enshrined in the Basic Law, as similar laws in China are used to silence opposition to the Communist Party.
Meanwhile, the US state department said that "any effort to impose national security legislation that does not reflect the will of the people of Hong Kong would be highly destabilising, and would be met with strong condemnation".