Beijing passed a national security law for Hong Kong on Tuesday. The law seriously puts Hong Kong’s autonomy into question.
What We Know:
- According to the state-run news agency Xinhua, the National People’s Congress passed the law Tuesday, bypassing Hong Kong legislature. The law contains six articles and 66 clauses. It makes secession, subversion of the government, terrorism, and collusion with foreign forces punishable with up to life in prison. China never made a draft of the law public.
- Hong Kong’s Chief Executive Carrie Lam praised the law on Tuesday, saying it was a “constitutional duty” to uphold national security. President Xi Jinping signed the law a day before the 23rd anniversary of Hong Kong’s sovereignty from British rule. The day usually draws large pro-democracy protests, but this is the first time the police will not permit peaceful demonstrations.
- The law is expected to further fuel the civil unrest which escalated last year. Opponents of the law say it ends the “one country, two systems” principle, which is how Hong Kong retains limited democracy and civil liberties. Many protesters and organizations have vowed to demonstrate against the law on July 1. However, the pro-democracy group Demosisto said it is dissolving with the law now in effect.
- UK Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab and European Council President Charles Michel criticized the law. Raab said Hong Kong “clearly is at threat” and Michel said “we deplore this decision”. Officials from NATO, Japan, and the U.S. also condemned the law.
Last year, a now-scrapped bill was introduced in Hong Kong allowing extraditions to China. Protesters retaliated with mass demonstrations and rallies. The pro-democracy movement is growing with more people demanding rights.