Hong Kong holds silent protest against new Chinese security law

Hong Kong holds silent protest against new Chinese security law

China is pushing forward acontroversial security lawthat would enforce punishment for subversion and other offenses in Hong Kong.

"Beijing has passed the sweeping #nationalsecuritylaw".

Since the end of May, many Hongkongers and government officials around the world have criticized Bejing's proposal, saying that it would spell the end of the city's autonomy, which was guaranteed when the territory reverted from British to Chinese rule in 1997.

"But the government has been trying to eradicate [political opposition] since past year without national security legislation, so we have been mentally prepared for this to happen at any time".

Beijing said on Monday it will impose visa restrictions on USA individuals with "egregious conduct" on Hong Kong-related issues, mirroring US sanctions against unnamed Chinese officials deemed responsible for curbing freedoms in the city.

Police arrested 53 people on Sunday at the scene of a rally against the national security legislation, which will see China's feared state security police stationed in the city to oversee the law's implementation.

"The US is attempting to obstruct China's legislation for safeguarding national security in the HK SAR [Hong Kong Special Administrative Region] by imposing the so-called sanctions, but it will never succeed", he said.

Student activists also say their teachers have asked them to stop taking interviews with the foreign press, or engaging with any activism once the national security law passes.

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Chinese lawmakers voted unanimously to push through the law on the eve of the 23rd anniversary of Hong Kong's handover on July 1, 1997, according to official Communist Party-backed media outlets in Hong Kong.

The announcement came after Pompeo warned that Washington would "move away" from agreements that the United States has with Hong Kong that are "different from those we have with Beijing". "Targeted sanctions will not, by themselves, change the stance of the Chinese government towards Hong Kong".

The U.S. Commerce Department said it was suspending "preferential treatment to Hong Kong over China, including the availability of export-license exceptions".

Rights groups, many western governments and the Unitied Nations' rights body have expressed alarm over the law.

Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam has defended the law, asserting earlier this month that the measure "will only target an extremely small minority of illegal and criminal acts and activities".

In addition, the city's police force has also set up a separate national security department to bring cases under the law, and its justice bureau will follow suit.

"That is just completely contrary to the notions of law that we had in Hong Kong, which is law as an accessible, transparent process, where before you enact a law you discuss, you get the draft out, you debate it", said Wilson Leung, a commercial litigator and a council member of Hong Kong's bar association, which has criticized the national security law and demanded greater transparency in the drafting process.

The fallout from the law is already being felt in Hong Kong. The city's business community could now be subject to the same arbitrary application of national security rules that exist across the border in China.

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