|Protestors gathered in Hong Kong last year to call for increased
freedoms. (Photo: ChinaAid)
(Hong Kong—June 30, 2020) Chinese President Xi Jinping signed Hong Kong’s new National Security Law today. This occurred just hours before the 23rd anniversary of Hong Kong’s handover to China.
Xi signed the law before Hong Kong was able to see a draft of it. China unveiled new details about the measures just today.
The new legislation has outlawed secession, inciting secession, subversion, terrorism, and collaboration with foreign powers. Under it, people deemed in violation of national security can be sentenced to up to life in prison.
This is especially concerning, as a similar national security law in mainland China is often used to target peaceful religious people and human rights activists. Many experts fear it will be wielded against Hong Kong’s protestors, who have taken to the streets over the past year to call for increased freedoms.
In addition, the law is being implemented in a way that bypasses Hong Kong’s own legislature. This is a grave violation of the conditions set into place between Britain and China during the handover process. Namely, these conditions were that Hong Kong would be governed by its own legislative and judicial system and have its own economic system.
In response to the law, Britain has offered some Hong Kong residents a path to British citizenship.
Weeks ago, as some details of the law were first emerging, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and President Donald Trump declared Hong Kong no longer autonomous from China.