Hong Kong has opened Beijing's national security office

Hong Kong has opened Beijing's national security office

Beijing's National Security Office opened in Hong Kong on Wednesday, a week after the central government imposed stringent new legislation on China, which critics saw as the pre-independence of the British colony.

Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam, along with her ancestors Leung Chun-Ying and Tung Che-Hwa, is said to have opened an office in Hong Kong to protect national security. Chinese Communist Party officials also attended, and security was tight.

After the National Security Act came into effect on June 30, a new office was established in Beijing. The new law sees Beijing as foreign interference in the internal affairs of separatist, subversive or terrorist activities or a semi-autonomous region.

Following the flag-raising program, after the Chinese flag was flown out of office, Lam and former Hong Kong leaders unveiled a plaque bearing the new agency's name. Then the officials in attendance greeted each other for the opening.

Under the National Security Act, police now have extensive rights to search for warrants and to instruct Internet service providers and platforms to remove messages deemed to be in violation of the law.

Critics see the legislation as a bold move by Beijing to remove the divide between Hong Kong's Western-style system and mainland China's mode of power.

Since taking over the city of Britain in 1997, there is a fear that the law will destroy the special freedoms enjoyed in Hong Kong under the "one country, two systems" framework. That system did not allow the people of Hong Kong the independence of mainland China, such as public discontent and unrestricted Internet access.

After the law went into effect, many tech companies, including Facebook, Google, and Twitter, said they would block processing requests from law enforcement authorities for consumer data in Hong Kong as the law was being evaluated.

On Wednesday, Microsoft and Zoom said they would take similar action.

TickTalk announced that it will operate its app in Hong Kong on Tuesday, and the app will not be downloaded from Hong Kong's Apple and Google App Stores until Tuesday.

At a panel of legislators on Tuesday, pro-democracy lawmakers fired Hong Kong secretaries for safety and justice over the law and its enforcement provisions.

Pro-democracy MP Jeremy Tom holds a blank white paper - a measure often used by protesters to protest the so-called "white terror" to appease political dissent - and ask if doing so would violate the new security law. Other MPs followed suit. Tom could not get his answer to the question in advance.

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