Hong Kong fears end of democracy as China moves toward security law

China introduces new security bill in parliament to tighten controls over Hong Kong

The proposal, which was unveiled late Thursday, would ban "treason, secession, sedition and subversion".

China's announcement at its National People's Congress that it was planning a security law for Hong Kong is being called a violation of the "one country, two systems" formula introduced in 1997 and supposed to last for 50 years.

In a show of support for demonstrators, the US Congress a year ago overwhelmingly approved a law that would end Hong Kong's preferential trade access to the world's largest economy if it is no longer certified as enjoying autonomy - which Beijing promised before regaining control of the then British colony in 1997.

Critics say the law would strip Hong Kong of autonomy and rights not seen in other parts of China.

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo labelled the proposal as "disastrous".

Specifically, China has ordered the national legislature to pass a new law for Hong Kong, bypassing the island's Legislative Council.

Hong Kong is what is known as a "special administrative region" of China.

This move is a clear indication that China is breaking its promise to keep Hong Kong a semi-autonomous city. After years of lobbying, the USA passed the Hong Kong Human Rights and Democracy Act.

Since mid-April, amid the Covid-19 crisis, the Chinese and Hong Kong authorities have heightened their assault on Hong Kong's pro-democracy movement, and Beijing has escalated its efforts to impose direct control over the city's governance.

In the U.S., President Donald Trump warned that the country would react "very strongly" if China went ahead with the security law.

The national security legislation neither hinders foreign investors from investing in Hong Kong, nor prevents local residents from enjoying the freedoms accorded to them by law, he said.

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National security is the bedrock underpinning the stability of the country, the spokesperson stated, stressing establishing a sound legal framework and mechanism serves the fundamental interests of all Chinese, including Hong Kong compatriots.

Former Hong Kong leader C.Y. Leung defended the move in an interview with Chinese state broadcaster CCTV.

How do people in Hong Kong feel about it?

The NPC's decision authorizes the body's Standing Committee to draft the legislation, following which the committee will add it into Annex III of Hong Kong's Basic Law, the city's functional constitution.

Hong Kong extradition law protests on June 12, 2019.

It "seems to be increasingly the case that Beijing can treat and interpret the Basic Law in whatever way it likes", he continues.

If these special agents are allowed to operate in Hong Kong according to the law, more and more cases of covert abduction or punishment outside the law can be expected. We don't. America has all kinds of law enforcement agencies that are tasked to deal with national security threats. "It also provides that rights and freedoms, including those of the person, of the press, of assembly, of association and others, will be ensured by law in Hong Kong and that the provisions of the two United Nations covenants on human rights shall remain in force".

The Chinese Communist Party is claiming the law is about "safeguarding national security", and so not fit for the LegCo but for the mainland National People's Congress, whose annual meeting starts Friday.

"This is nearly like a nuclear option, which once you use it, everyone will get hurt, and it will be very hard to build Hong Kong back up again", Kwok told the conservative Heritage Foundation by videoconference.

"What we are seeing is a new Chinese dictatorship", said Patten, a former chair of the Conservative party and cabinet member under Thatcher and her successor, John Major.

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