53 countries support China's national security legislation for HKSAR: FM spokesperson

Cheryl Sanders
July 2, 2020

Critics say the law, approved by Chinese President Xi Jinping, effectively puts an end to the "one country, two systems" principle enshrined in the 1985 Joint Declaration, a legally binding agreement signed by the United Kingdom and China which protected certain freedoms in the territory for at least 50 years. "And so long as we keep that foremost in our minds, I'm confident that the freedom-loving peoples of the world will prevail".

"China through this national security legislation is not living up to its promises to the people of Hong Kong".

"Even the bravest people in Hong Kong are anxious that the law is going to get them", she said.

The national security legislation in the HKSAR is by no means a human rights issue, still less should it be politicized, Zhao said.

British Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab said his government was deeply concerned over reports of the law's passage, saying that would be a grave step.

The UK has committed to make it easier for the estimated 350,000 Hong Kong residents who are British National Overseas (BNO) passport holders to come to the UK, as well as almost 2.6 million others who are eligible to BNO status.

The law makes secession, subversion, terrorism, and collusion with foreign forces offences punishable by life in prison, allows Chinese security agencies to operate in Hong Kong, as well as the extradition of local criminals to the mainland.

He said punishments would not include the death penalty, but did not elaborate on further details.

Early Wednesday helicopters flew across Victoria Harbour carrying Chinese and Hong Kong flags, while a barge chugged past hailing the law in giant Chinese characters on scaffolds. A game of cat and mouse reminiscent of last year's often violent demonstrations followed, with protesters blocking roads before running away from riot police charging with batons, only to re-emerge elsewhere. "While the bystanders offered no helping hand, suspects fled", the department wrote.

Those protests evolved into calls for greater democracy, paralysing parts of the city and paving the way for Beijing to directly impose national security law on Hong Kong, a move that has drawn condemnation from some Western governments.

During huge pro-democracy demonstrations previous year, the city's legislature was besieged and trashed by protesters.

He said the new office abided by Chinese law and that Hong Kong's legal system could not be expected to implement the laws of the mainland.

Drafting of the law took place amid intense secrecy, with even top Hong Kong officials reportedly not given advance notice of its specifics.

"The law is a birthday gift to [Hong Kong] and will show its precious value in the future", Zhang said, adding the law would not be applied retroactively.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson on Wednesday held China in "clear and serious breach" of the Sino-British agreement under which Hong Kong had been handed over to the Chinese authorities and confirmed that a citizenship route will now be offered to Hong Kong's British National (Overseas) passport holders.

Equity investors shrugged off concerns about Hong Kong where police arrested more than 300 people protesting sweeping new laws introduced by China to snuff out dissent.

Some pro-Beijing officials and political commentators say the law is aimed at sealing Hong Kong's "second return" to the motherland after the first failed to bring residents to heel.

Meanwhile, Demosisto, a pro-democracy group that Law helped found, was one of several organizations that dissolved on Tuesday after multiple core activists withdrew their membership over fears of repercussions under the new law.

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