China passes Hong Kong security law

Andrew Cummings
June 30, 2020

According to details of a draft released two weeks ago, the law will ban secession, subversion, terrorism and colluding with foreign forces to harm national security.

Chinese President Xi Jinping signed the contentious law some 40 days after the introduction of the bill by the central government in Beijing.

Secretary of state Mike Pompeo said the United States was taking the measure due to China's push forward with a security law that Hong Kong activists say will curb the city's freedoms.

The latest development could become a setback for thawing ties between Japan and China despite their differences over perception of wartime history and territory. The Chinese Communist Party (CCP) has never seen Hong Kong clearly as it really is, nor tried to understand what has made it so precious.

Joining the global criticism was NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg, who said during a Tuesday virtual forum, "It is clear that China does not share our values-democracy, freedom, and the rule of law", according to Reuters.

Authorities in Beijing and Hong Kong have repeatedly said the legislation is aimed at a few "troublemakers" and will not affect rights and freedoms, nor investor interests. Any person taking part in secessionist activities, whether organising or participating, will violate the law regardless of whether violence is used.

As part of worldwide pressure efforts, on Friday the U.S. announced visa restrictions on Chinese officials "believed to be responsible for, or complicit in" undermining Hong Kong's autonomy.

Per the terms of its handover to Chinese rule in 1997, Hong Kong was promised 50 years of limited autonomy under a principle called "One Country, Two Systems". The following morning, it formally voted unanimously for the bill's passage, then voted again for it to be annexed to Hong Kong's mini-constitution, the Basic Law.

Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam, speaking at her regular weekly news conference, said it was not appropriate for her to comment on the legislation as the meeting in Beijing was still going on, but she threw a jibe at the United States.

The United States has ended sensitive defence exports to Hong Kong, further ramping up pressure in a row over the financial capital's autonomy from China.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo onsaid the US would stop exporting sensitive military items to Hong Kong, following his announcementthat Washington was imposing visa restrictions on current and former Chinese Communist Party members believed to be responsible for undermining Hong Kong's promised autonomy and traditional freedoms.

The new suite of powers radically restructures the relationship between Beijing and Hong Kong, toppling the legal firewall that has existed between the city's independent judiciary and the mainland's party-controlled courts.

There was no formal announcement from Beijing on the passage of the law.

The Department of State a year ago approved $2.4 million in defence sales to Hong Kong, of which $1.4 million worth was actually sent, including firearms and ammunition for law enforcement, according to official figures.

China's security agencies will also be able to set up shop publicly in the city for the first time. "Don't let Hong Kong be used as a tool to split the country".

"It marks the end of Hong Kong that the world knew before", Wong said on Twitter.

FILE - Hong Kong activist Joshua Wong poses for a photo with supporters after attending an activity for the upcoming Legislative Council elections in Hong Kong Saturday, June 20, 2020.

The test for China will come if it finds that by locking itself into so many disputes with the bulk of its major trade partners, moves such as clamping down on protest in Hong Kong end up backfiring by damaging the Chinese economy, and pushing previously neutral countries into the American orbit.

China said it would take unspecified "countermeasures" in response.

However, the answer requires "strong coordination with all member states", Charles Michel, president of the European Council added.

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