Beijing passes Hong Kong national security law, effective July 1

Andrew Cummings
June 30, 2020

China's top lawmaking body on Tuesday (June 30) passed a Hong Kong national security law that will ban subversion and secession, a senior adviser to Beijing on Hong Kong said.

The authority of the U.S. to condemn human rights abuses in Hong Kong has been diminished by revelations last week in the book by the former U.S. national security adviser John Bolton that Trump repeatedly refused to condemn China, believing its cooperation was critical to his re-election chances.

In Hong Kong, pro-democracy party Demosistō announced on Tuesday afternoon that it would "disband and cease all operation as a group", after four of its members Joshua Wong, Nathan Law, Agnes Chow, and Jeffrey Ngo announced their withdrawal from the party earlier in the day. However, its candidates were repeatedly barred from standing for election with authorities citing their stance on "self-determination" for the city.

The U.S. Commerce Department said it was suspending "preferential treatment to Hong Kong over China, including the availability of export-license exceptions".

"It will throttle the city's rule of law, presenting a major confrontation between what passes for law in China and the common law system in Hong Kong, which has allowed the city to function as one of most important financial hubs in Asia". The U.S. has already begun moves to end special trade terms and others dispensations given to Hong Kong after the former British colony was handed over to Chinese rule in 1997.

According to RTHK, four police groups in Hong Kong issued a joint statement welcoming the national security law, saying that local protests in the past year had plunged the city into "turmoil".

"China promised that Hong Kong would remain unchanged for 50 years".

In 2018, $432.7 million USA of goods were shipped to Hong Kong under a Commerce Department exception, mostly relating to encryption, software and technology.

"The struggle of Hong Kong people will not stop, it will only continue in a stronger gesture".

It criminalizes separatist activity, subversion, terrorist acts and foreign influence in Hong Kong affairs.

Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam said on Tuesday that this will have minimal impact on the city.

With over 1,400 Japanese firms operating in the semi-autonomous region, Japanese officials have taken the view that a free and open system should be maintained in Hong Kong and it should prosper in a "democratic and stable way".

All Hong Kong delegates to the nation's top advisory body, the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference, and the NPC, have been asked to attend a meeting, believed to be a briefing on the bill, at the central government's liaison office at 3pm.

Britain has said it could offer residency and possible citizenship to around 3 million of Hong Kong's 7.5 million people.

"It is not appropriate for me to comment on any questions related to the national security law", she told reporters as the news of the law's passing broke.

In his statement, Pompeo claimed that the action was taken to "protect United States national security".

The U.S. views the national security law as being in breach of China's global obligations under the 1984 Sino-British Joint Declaration governing the 1997 handover. We can no longer distinguish between the export of controlled items to Hong Kong or to mainland China.

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