China unveils National Security Law details

Chinese human rights lawyer
Chen Guangcheng stands up
for Hong Kong at an NBA
game last year.
(Photo: ChinaAid)

(Hong Kong—June 22, 2020) Beijing unveiled details of Hong Kong’s National Security Law in a draft version of the legislation on Saturday. The news furthered fears that Hong Kong’s rights will soon be curtailed.

The draft makes significant changes to Hong Kong’s previous partial autonomy from China. It grants the Chinese Communist Party’s security department the right to exert power over some Hong Kong criminal cases deemed related to national security. Other criminal trials will be conducted in front of judges appointed by Hong Kong’s Chief Executive—a position that will now also be selected by and subordinate to Chinese leadership.

Many are regarding this as a severe overwrite of agreements reached between Britain and China prior to the Hong Kong handover in 1997. The agreements require China to allow Hong Kong to have its own judicial, legislative, and economic systems until 2047.

The national security law also opens the possibility for religious people and activists to be targeted by authorities in mainland China. Uprisings have been common in Hong Kong over the past year as Beijing has continually encroached on the territory’s rights, and experts now fear those who have participated in protests might be prosecuted under the new law.

Beijing is expected to pass the law soon.

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