China set to implement controversial security law in HK, likely to escalate protest
The draft resolution will be introduced as a motion and discussed during the opening session of China’s Parliament, National People’s Congress (NPC) on Friday.Updated: May 21, 2020 21:32 IST
China will introduce a draft resolution for a new national security law in Hong Kong proscribing secession, terrorism and foreign interference in the specially administered region (SAR), a top official announced late on Thursday night.
The move could escalate tension in the city, which has seen largescale pro-democracy protests since last June.
The draft resolution will be introduced as a motion and discussed during the opening session of China’s Parliament, National People’s Congress (NPC) on Friday.
The announcement was made at a late-night press conference by the NPC spokesperson, Zhang Yesui.
The passing of the motion is expected to be a formality as NPC is largely a ruber-stamp parliament under the ruling Communist Party of China.
Zhang said that because of new circumstances and need, the NPC is exercising the power enshrined in the constitution to establish and improve a legal framework and mechanism for safeguarding national security and upholding the institutional framework for ‘one country, two systems’.”
He added: “Hong Kong is an inseparable part of the People’s Republic of China
The NPC is the country’s highest organ of state power. National security is the bedrock underpinning the stability of the country. Safeguarding national security serves the fundamental interest of all Chinese, and Hong Kong patriots included.”
“This also shows that the central government would safeguard China’s core interests at all costs,” a state media report said.
The writing in of the new security law into Hong Kong’s special charter, or Basic Law, could see the mainland’s control over the SAR tighten substantially.
The city has violent protests since last June on that very issue: Beijing’s apparent tightening of control over the city and its impact on freedoms including that of free speech and expression.
The “one country, two systems” system that governs Hong Kong has
t been thrown into question by student-led pro-democracy protests that went on for months last year and have shown signs of building up again in recent weeks
The new law would ban all seditious activities aimed at toppling the central government and external interference in Hong Kong’s affairs. It would also target terrorist acts in Hong Kong, an earlier report by the South China Morning Post said.
The move to introduce the draft resolution comes as the city’s delegates to the
NPC sessions, beginning Friday, were said to have met Xia Baolong, director of the State Council’s (China’s cabinet) Hong Kong and Macau Office (HKMAO) on Thursday evening.
The implementation of the new law – if it is carried out – would “…mark a significant departure from Beijing’s earlier decision to allow Hong Kong to draft and enact the legislation within its own legislature,” the SCMP report said.
Separately, China said Thursday it supports improving the system and mechanism related to the constitution and basic law of Hong Kong and Macau.
The former European colonies (Hong Kong was under the British and Macau under the Portuguese) returned to Chinese rule in the late 1990s under a system aimed at preserving their economic systems and ensuring their autonomy, known as “one country, two systems”.