Hong Kong Security Act: China passes controversial law

Hong Kong Security Act: China passes controversial law

China has passed a controversial security law that gives it new powers over Hong Kong, raising fears for the city's independence, the BBC has learned.

Last month, China said the city would be left alone, with terrorism, terrorism, or foreign forces.

After an angry protest last year - prompted by another law - it turned into a pro-democracy movement.

Critics say the new law poses an even greater threat to Hong Kong's identity.

They warn that this would jeopardize Hong Kong's judicial independence and destroy the city's exclusive liberty, not to be seen in mainland China.

Hong Kong returned to China from British control in 1997, but under a special treaty guaranteeing certain rights for 50 years.

The law is therefore internationally condemned and protests have begun in Hong Kong since Beijing's announcement in May.

The draft of the law has not been made public, pushing through, which means many people in the city are now unable to see the details of the measures to be followed.

China has called for the law to deal with unrest and instability in the city, and has dismissed criticism of interference in its dealings.

What does the new law do?
China has not officially confirmed the passage of the legislation, but told the BBC it was unanimous at a meeting of the National People's Congress Standing Committee in Beijing.

It is expected to be incorporated into Hong Kong's original law and comes just one day before China's 23rd anniversary of the handing over of Britain - usually marked by pro-democracy protests.

The culprit is any separation, destruction of the central government, terrorism, and conspiracy with foreign or external forces.

The new National Security Office in Hong Kong deals with national security matters, but also has other powers such as overseeing education on national security in Hong Kong schools.

In addition, the city must establish its own national security commission to enforce the law with Beijing's appointed adviser.

The Hong Kong chief executive has the power to appoint judges to hear matters of national security, which have heightened fears about judicial independence.

Essentially, Beijing has the power to interpret the law. If the law conflicts with any Hong Kong law, Beijing law takes precedence.

How will this change Hong Kong?
For many, the very nature of the law undermines the freedom to separate Hong Kong from the rest of China - and helps define the city's character.

Hong Kong provides civil liberties, such as free speech, the right to protest, and a completely free and strong judiciary.

Critics say that the law will in fact calm dissent and increase the influence of the Communist Party of China on more aspects of Hong Kong's life.

Hong Kong chief executive Carrie Lam previously dismissed such fears, saying it was a "responsible" move to protect the law-abiding majority.

It is worth noting that Hong Kong’s independence, mobility, and core values ​​are preserved.

What is the response?
Joshua Wong, one of the city's leading activists, said on Tuesday that he would leave the pro-democracy group Democisto. Joining fellow activists Nathan Law and Agnes Chow.

Rights group Amnesty International called the law "a weapon of repression against government critics" and described it as "the greatest threat to human rights in the city's recent history."

Taiwan on Tuesday warned citizens of the dangers of going to Hong Kong, saying the new law would "seriously impact freedom, democracy and human rights" in Hong Kong.

There was widespread criticism internationally before the law was passed.

While Washington threatened to end Hong Kong's special-level trade relations, the European Parliament voted to take China to an international court.

Britain says it will change its immigration rules and provide millions of people in Hong Kong a "path to citizenship" if China moves forward with the law.

Earlier in June, members of the G7 signed a statement urging Beijing to review the planned bill.

Why is China enacting the law?

The 1997 treaty between the UK and China - a mini-constitution known as the Basic Law and the "one country, two systems" doctrine - encompasses Hong Kong rights, including assembly and free speech, independent judiciary and certain Democratic rights. Mainland China does not exist.

Under the same treaty, Hong Kong was expected to create its own national security law - which was established in Article 23 of the Basic Law.

But its popularity was never understood - the government tried in 2003 but had to return after protests.

In recent years, Hong Kong has repeatedly seen a wave of demands for more rights against Beijing's influence.

Then, in 2019, protests over the extradition law became violent and developed into an anti-China and pro-democracy movement.

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