China passes the Hong Kong security law that authorities fear will break political freedoms and floor the way for China to bond its control over the semi-autonomous empire.
China passes the Hong Kong security law Controversy
Beijing’s top lawmaking body has consistently passed a sweeping national security law for Hong Kong banning acts of retirement, ruin, terrorism and cooperation with foreign forces to endanger national security.
The law, approved by the National People’s Congress Standing Committee on Tuesday, is expected to carry a maximum penalty of life in jail. “The passing of the national security law is a painful moment for the people of Hong Kong and represents the greatest threat to human rights in the city’s recent history,” said Joshua Rosenzweig, the head of Amnesty International’s China Team. “From now on, China will have the power to impose its laws on any criminal suspect it chooses,” he said.
Officially not confirmed
The passing of the law has not been officially confirmed, and details remain unclear. But RTHK reports that possible maximum sentencing for crimes under the law will be “much higher” than ten years imprisonment.
Hong Kong’s Chief Executive Carrie Lam refused to comment on the progress of the bill in her weekly press conference on Tuesday morning, saying it would be “inappropriate” to respond to questions while the NPC meeting is still in progress.
On Sunday, the standing committee began a special meeting fast-tracking the bill, which was passed on the last day of the three-day session.
When standing committee passed the law
The Post has been told the Basic Law Committee, which advises Beijing on Hong Kong’s mini-constitution, would meet “immediately after the standing committee passed the law to discuss its insertion into Annex III of the Basic Law”.
A source familiar with the situation had said Xinhua, the official state news agency, would publish the details later, marking the first time the law is fully disclosed to the public.
Countries, including the U.K., have criticized Beijing over the law, which they say will infringe on the rights of Hong Kong citizens. The European Parliament this month voted for the EU to take China to the International Court of Justice if the national security law is imposed on Hong Kong, Reuters reported. For more Politics news click here.