For the chief executive, the national security law is the most important event in Hong Kong since its handover to China in 1997.
The national security law passed by Beijing has been “the most important event” for Hong Kong since its handover to China in 1997, the chief executive of the territory said on Wednesday. The opposition, however, fears a decline in freedoms. The legislation “is a tipping point between chaos and good governance,” added Carrie Lam at a ceremony to mark the 23rd anniversary of the return of the former British colony to China.
Promulgated on Tuesday by Chinese President Xi Jinping after being adopted shortly before by the Standing Committee of Parliament, a body submitted to the Chinese Communist Party (CCP), the new law makes it possible to punish four types of crimes against state security: the subversive activities, secession, terrorism and collusion with foreign forces aimed at endangering national security.
In this area, mainland China can directly take charge of files in three hypotheses: if these are complex cases of foreign interference, if the cases are “very serious” and if “serious and real threats” threaten national security. The law came into force on Tuesday, a year after the start of massive protests in Hong Kong against the influence of the central government.
This legislation, imposed in a few weeks by Beijing bypassing the Hong Kong legislative council, makes the Hong Kong opposition fear an unprecedented decline in freedoms in this territory of 7.5 million inhabitants which currently has a status of autonomy.,
While at the UN, 27 states, including Switzerland, have invited China to reconsider the law, which they say “threatens” freedoms in Hong Kong, the US foreign chief has threatened Beijing with further reprisals.
“Today is a sad day for Hong Kong and for all freedom lovers in China,” said Mike Pompeo in a statement. “The United States will not sit idly by while China engulfs Hong Kong in its authoritarian mouth,” he thundered. “In accordance with President Trump’s instructions, we will eliminate the political exemptions that give Hong Kong different and special treatment, with a few exceptions,” warned Mike Pompeo.
By the end of May, Washington had already hit hard by revoking Hong Kong’s preferential trade status.
(ATS / NXP)