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China passes sweeping Hong Kong national security law

Beijing’s high lawmaking physique, the National People’s Congress (NPC), handed the legislation unanimously on Tuesday morning native time, bypassing Hong Kong’s legislature, Chinese state-run Xinhua information company reported.

The passing of the laws has been clouded in secrecy and particulars of the legislation itself stay scant. According to Xinhua, the legislation accommodates six articles and 66 clauses and can go into impact instantly.

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

Hong Kong’s Chief Executive Carrie Lam stated on Tuesday night that she welcomed the introduction of the laws.

“Safeguarding national security is the constitutional duty of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR). The HKSAR Government welcomes the passage of the national security law by the NPCSC today,” Lam stated in a press release.

“The national security law will come into effect later today,” she added.

Lam stated the laws shall be “applied by way of promulgation,” which bypasses town’s legislature.

She repeated earlier remarks, saying the legislation “seeks to practically and effectively prevent, curb and punish four types of crimes seriously endangering national security.”

Lam confirmed that these embody: “acts of secession, subversion of state power, terrorist activities, and collusion with foreign or external forces to endanger national security.”

The chief govt stated that devoted items within the Hong Kong Police Force and the Department of Justice shall be liable for implementing the laws.

Lam added: “I am confident that after the implementation of the national security law, the social unrest which has troubled Hong Kong people for nearly a year will be eased and stability will be restored, thereby enabling Hong Kong to start anew, focus on economic development and improve people’s livelihood.”

In a video handle to the United Nations Human Rights Council in Geneva earlier on Tuesday, Lam stated the legislation will “have no retrospective effect” — a significant concern for a lot of democracy activists within the metropolis, particularly for these dealing with costs referring to the protests final 12 months.

Additionally Lam stated that Hong Kong authorities would train jurisdiction over offenses underneath the legislation, “except in rare specified situations,” suggesting that some circumstances could be tried in mainland .

China’s State Council Information Office stated it will will maintain a press briefing on the nationwide safety legislation in Beijing on Wednesday morning.

The laws has been broadly criticized by opposition lawmakers in Hong Kong, human rights teams and politicians worldwide, with many saying it is going to cement Beijing’s direct management over the semi-autonomous metropolis. Many fear it may very well be used to focus on political dissidents, activists, human rights attorneys and journalists amid the central authorities’s persevering with crackdown on civil society underneath Chinese President Xi Jinping.

Activists have vowed to display towards the legislation on July 1, the anniversary of the territory’s handover from British colonial rule to China in 1997. The day has develop 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 legislation’s passing is predicted to gasoline additional anger and protests within the metropolis, which was rocked by over six months of more and more violent anti-government unrest final 12 months.

Opponents of the legislation 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 management.

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

Chinese Communist Party officers and state media have defended the legislation as important to defending nationwide safety within the wake of final 12 months’s protests and a 17-year failure by the Hong Kong authorities to cross comparable laws, because the final effort was met with mass protests in 2003.

In a blueprint of the laws revealed by Chinese state media Xinhua on June 22, mainland Chinese officers shall be allowed 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 legislation would guarantee “the long-term prosperity and stability of Hong Kong,” and that it will “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.”

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

Additionally, Hong Kong’s high official, the Chief Executive, will decide which judges hear nationwide safety circumstances, whereas mainland Chinese 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 lead to trials on the mainland.

Ultimately, the blueprint makes clear that nationwide safety legislation trumps native legal guidelines. If there’s a battle with present Hong Kong legislation, the nationwide safety legislation will prevail.

Reaction from Hong Kong and all over the world

Many within the metropolis have decried the shortage of transparency over the laws. In a letter to the Hong Kong authorities, Philip Dykes, chairman of the Hong Kong Bar Association said the secrecy of the law was “genuinely extraordinary” and referred to as on the federal government to clarify how residents’ minimal rights shall be assured.
Joshua Wong, an activist who helped lead large 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, Hong Kong democracy group Demosisto, which was fashioned as a political celebration by Wong in 2016, stated it is going to “disband and cease all operation as a group given the circumstances.”

It comes after Wong and different activist leaders, Nathan Law and Agnes Chow, stated they might be withdrawing from Demosisto due to the risk posed by the legislation.

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 time.

China to impose tit-for-tat visa restrictions on US officials over Hong Kong
Jimmy Lai, a Hong Kong media tycoon recognized for his outspoken help of town’s pro-democracy motion, stated the legislation “spells a death knell to Hong Kong because it supersedes our law and our rule of law.”
“The democratic movement will have to adjust its strategy because it’s a fact that a lot of the people in the democratic movement are scared — either they find ways to leave or emigrate or to sidestep the movement.” Lai, who was arrested in February in relation to a protest march, stated he would keep within the metropolis and “keep on fighting.”

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

“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,” stated the top of Amnesty International’s China Team, Joshua Rosenzweig.

Taiwan’s President Tsai Ing-wen stated experiences on China passing the safety legislation “proves that ‘one country, two systems’ is not credible.” Tsai stated that Taiwan will begin an workplace from July 1, which is able to “provide humanitarian aid for our friends in Hong Kong.”

In Japan, Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga referred to as the passing of the legislation “regrettable.”

On Monday, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announced an end to the exports of US-origin protection tools and dual-use applied sciences to Hong Kong. Pompeo stated the transfer was essential 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 … We can no longer distinguish between the export of controlled items to Hong Kong or to mainland China,” Pompeo stated.

This 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 now not autonomous from China because of Beijing imposing the nationwide safety legislation on town.

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

CNN’s James Griffiths, Steven Jiang, Jadyn Sham, Eric Cheung, Isaac Yee, Nectar Gan, and Jessie Yeung contributed to reporting and writing.

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