China passes sweeping Hong Kong nationwide safety regulation: report

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Beijing’s high lawmaking physique, the Nationwide Individuals’s Congress (NPC), handed the regulation unanimously on Tuesday morning native time, bypassing Hong Kong’s legislature, by way of a not often used constitutional backdoor, according to Hong Kong public broadcaster RTHK, citing unnamed sources.

Chinese language state-run Xinhua information company beforehand reported the regulation would criminalize offenses equivalent to secession, subversion in opposition to the central Chinese language authorities, terrorism, and colluding with international forces.

A draft of the regulation had not been made public forward of its passage, that means the vast majority of individuals in Hong Kong haven’t seen particulars of a regulation that may now govern their lives.

The passing of the regulation has not been formally confirmed and particulars stay unclear. However RTHK experiences that potential most sentencing for crimes underneath the regulation will likely be “much higher” than 10 years imprisonment.

Hong Kong’s Chief Government Carrie Lam refused to touch upon the progress of the invoice in her weekly press convention on Tuesday morning, saying it might be “inappropriate” to answer questions whereas the NPC assembly remains to be in progress.

The laws was extensively criticized by opposition lawmakers in Hong Kong, human rights teams and politicians worldwide, with many saying the regulation will cement Beijing’s direct management over the semi-autonomous metropolis. Many fear the regulation could possibly be used to focus on political dissidents, a concern that stems from China’s judicial monitor report and the central authorities’s persevering with crackdown on civil society underneath President Xi Jinping.

The passing of the regulation comes a day earlier than July 1, the anniversary of Hong Kong’s handover from British colonial rule to China in 1997. It has change into an annual day of protests within the metropolis, however for the primary time since handover police haven’t given permission to protesters to carry peaceable demonstrations.

“One country, two systems”

The regulation’s passing is predicted to gas additional anger and protests within the metropolis, which was rocked by over six months of more and more violent anti-government unrest final yr.

Opponents of the regulation say it marks the end of the “one country, two systems” — a precept by which Hong Kong has retained restricted democracy and civil liberties since coming underneath Chinese language management.

Crucially, these freedoms embody the correct to meeting, a free press, and an impartial judiciary, rights that aren’t loved on the Chinese language mainland.

Chinese language officers and state media have defended the regulation as very important to defending nationwide safety within the wake of final yr’s protests and a 17-year failure by the Hong Kong authorities to move comparable laws, because the final effort was met with mass protests in 2003.

In a blueprint of the regulation revealed by Chinese language state media Xinhua on June 22, the regulation will enable mainland Chinese language officers to function in Hong Kong for the primary time and provides Beijing the facility to override native legal guidelines.

In a statement final week, Lam stated the regulation would guarantee “the long-term prosperity and stability of Hong Kong,” and that it might “only target an extremely small minority of people.” She stated the proposed invoice was “in line with the rule of law” and the “rights and freedoms which are applicable in Hong Kong under the Basic Law and relevant international covenants.”

In accordance with the blueprint, the regulation will enable Beijing to determine a nationwide safety workplace, staffed by mainland safety companies to oversee native authorities in policing the regulation. A nationwide safety fee can even be arrange, with a Beijing-appointed adviser and working underneath “the supervision of the central government.”

Moreover, Hong Kong’s high official, the Chief Government, will choose which judges hear nationwide safety circumstances, whereas mainland Chinese language authorities will be capable of “exercise jurisdiction” over circumstances in particular circumstances — a controversial clause that raises the prospect that sure crimes in Hong Kong might end in trials on the mainland.

In the end, the blueprint makes clear that nationwide safety regulation trumps native legal guidelines. If there’s a battle with current Hong Kong regulation, the nationwide safety regulation will prevail.

Response from Hong Kong and around the globe

Many within the metropolis have decried the shortage of transparency over the regulation. In a letter to the Hong Kong authorities, Philip Dykes, chairman of the Hong Kong Bar Affiliation said the secrecy of the law was “genuinely extraordinary” and referred to as on the federal government to clarify how residents’ minimal rights will likely be assured.
Joshua Wong, an activist who who helped lead huge pro-democracy protests in Hong Kong in 2014 said on Twitter that it “marks the end of Hong Kong that the world knew before.”

He stated Hong Kong “will continue to fight for our freedoms and democracy for the city’s next generations. When justice fails, our fight goes on.”

Following information of the laws passing, Wong introduced he was standing down from democracy group Demosisto, which he fashioned in 2016, due to the risk posed by the regulation. He was joined by fellow activist leaders Nathan Legislation, who was faraway from the native legislature in 2016, and activist Agnes Chow.

Wong and different activists have met with international diplomats and testified earlier than the US Congress on Hong Kong’s freedoms because the large-scale pro-democracy protests broke out final summer season.

China to impose tit-for-tat visa restrictions on US officials over Hong Kong

Rights group Amnesty Worldwide stated the laws “represents the greatest threat to human rights in the city’s recent history.”

“From now on, China will have the power to impose its own laws on any criminal suspect it chooses,” stated the top of Amnesty Worldwide’s China Group, Joshua Rosenzweig.

“The speed and secrecy with which China has pushed through this legislation intensifies the fear that Beijing has calculatingly created a weapon of repression to be used against government critics, including people who are merely expressing their views or protesting peacefully,” he stated.

On Monday, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announced an end to the exports of US-origin protection gear to Hong Kong. Pompeo stated the transfer was obligatory to guard American nationwide safety because the tensions between the US and China proceed to escalate.

“As Beijing moves forward with passing the national security law, the United States will today end exports of US-origin defense equipment and will take steps toward imposing the same restrictions on US defense and dual-use technologies to Hong Kong as it does for China,” Pompeo stated. “The United States is forced to take this action to protect US national security. We can no longer distinguish between the export of controlled items to Hong Kong or to mainland China.”

That is the primary motion the US authorities has taken to upend the particular standing commerce relationship between the US and Hong Kong, following the willpower that Hong Kong was not autonomous from China as a result of Beijing imposing the nationwide safety regulation on town.

It comes as Beijing on Monday said it would impose visa restrictions on sure People in response to Washington’s transfer final week to position comparable limits on Chinese language officers over Hong Kong.

It is a creating story

CNN’s James Griffiths, Jadyn Sham, Nectar Gan, and Jessie Yeung contributed to reporting and writing.




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