The details of the proposed legislation go beyond what was proposed in 2003. In addition to criminalizing “treason, segregation, treason (and) oppression” against the central government, it allows Chinese national security organs to operate in the city. Perform related duties to protect national security in accordance with the law. “
With the NPC being approved later this month and soon to be announced in Hong Kong, the law will have a profound effect on the entire Hong Kong community, from the city’s beautiful and defiant political sphere to media, education and international business.
Hong Kong has always prided itself on the observance of the rule of law, with its independent judiciary and civil liberties beyond what is allowed across the border in mainland China. The type of punishment, covert confinement and naked political prosecution common in the mainland is almost unheard of in the city.
These rights were guaranteed by a fundamental law – the city’s original constitution – and an agreement between China and the United Kingdom in 1997 when Hong Kong was granted Chinese rule. Hong Kong, unlike China, is also a party to international treaties that guarantee various civil liberties.
The new law challenges them all. By criminalizing a wider range of misinterpreted actions, it allows the authorities to go to the appropriate level of anti-urbanism.
Allowing China’s security apparatus to operate in the city will also increase illegal violence. China’s dissenters and activists are often threatened with disappearance by authorities or arrested around sensitive events, and many journalists and lawyers are dragged into “tea” with security services, during which they receive thinly veiled threats of potential consequences. Their work.
At a news conference convened by opposition lawmakers on Friday, Democratic legislator Helena Wang said the local government “cannot control the actions of agents in Hong Kong.”
Her colleague Claudia Moe told CNN that the news proves that Beijing “will do anything to control Hong Kong at any cost.”
“It’s clear that Beijing doesn’t care what people think,” she said.
Law enforcement in Hong Kong can prove to be a nightmare for city courts – they work separately for the Chinese legal system and are freed from political pressure on mainland judges.
However, this does not mean that the law is in danger of being overturned. The NPC is the court of final appeal in Hong Kong and can issue “commentary” on any constitutional issue, particularly rewriting basic law on the fly.
The chaos and uncertainty that the new regulations can create, and the long battle in the courts, will be a big blow to the city’s reputation for upholding the rule of law, which has long been recognized as an international Hong Kong finance and business hub.
The chilling effect
Unlike the proposed extradition bill, which overturned unrest last year, the scope and effects of the anti-treason law may be widespread and community-wide. Expect a major chilling effect on the city’s media and political arenas – journalist groups have long warned that self-censorship will increase as pressure from Beijing and newspapers and television stations come under Chinese ownership.
The fate of the city’s large international press corps is unclear. Currently, foreign journalists are free to work in Hong Kong without interrupting the type of visa and other restrictions imposed on their colleagues in China, but there are already indications that it will expire before the new law. New restrictions on reporting in Hong Kong can be seen by many media outlets moving away from the city, which has traditionally been the basis for reporting on the wider Asian region.
The crackdown on the city’s legislature, where pro-democracy legislators hold one-third seats, may also be the result. In recent years, lawmakers have been expelled from the body and some candidates have been barred from standing for political reasons. The new law could give Hong Kong executives widespread pay to remove lawmakers from their posts or to prosecute them for violating key legislation for national security reasons.
The effects of the proposed change will also be felt outside the city. US Senators are expected to issue an assessment of whether the city has sufficient autonomy from China to justify a particular trade status under the Hong Kong Democracy and Human Rights Act (HKDA). Beijing is skipping Hong Kong’s parliament and it is difficult to see how the legislature would not make the decision on its behalf.
Beijing can count on the fact that the coronavirus epidemic has undermined the ability and determination of the international community to put pressure on Hong Kong – particularly in the UK, which is heavily dependent on new and increased trade with China outside the European Union. Its the Flagging Economy.
With coronavirus sanctions still in place in Hong Kong, the time it is taking full control of its domestic epidemic means that people are less willing to attend large-scale protests than last year.