China unveils details of the national security law to Hong Kong

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Pedestrians pass in front of an advertisement sponsored by the government of promoting a new national security law on June 30, 2020 Hong Kong, China.Billy H. C. Kwok | Getty Images

BEIJING – The chinese central government has adopted a new security law radical for Hong Kong, which came into force a few hours before the 23rd anniversary of the transfer of the city from the United Kingdom to China on Wednesday.The national security act strengthens the control of Beijing over Hong Kong, a semi-autonomous region with greater democratic freedoms and the alignment on the international standards of trade that the continent. This special status has made Hong Kong a hub is attractive to many international companies wishing to tap into the market of Greater China.

“Some of the recent events in Hong Kong represents a deviation from “one country, two systems'”, said Wednesday at a press conference, Zhang Xiaomin, deputy executive director of Hong Kong and the bureau of Macao of the Council of State Affairs.

He was referring to the framework that allows Hong Kong a degree of autonomy in legal and economic, that other chinese cities do not possess. Hong Kong, a special administrative region of China, was a british colony which returned to chinese rule in 1997.

“The goal is not to take the’ pro-democratic Hong Kong as an imaginary enemy. The aim is to fight against a narrow category of crimes against national security, ” said Zhang, according to an official English translation of his remarks in mandarin. “The ‘one country two systems’ has already spoken to the volumes of the tolerance policy of the central government. “

“People with different opinions, they may continue to exist for a long time in Hong Kong … You should not use this (difference in views) as a pretext to … to transform Hong Kong into a safe haven of forces, anti-China ,” he said.

Under the new legislation, many of the activities carried out by the protesters in Hong Kong during the past year are punishable by law. What started as mass protests largely peaceful anti-draft extradition act controversial there are more than 12 months have turned into violent clashes with the police.

An official English translation of the new law stipulates that a person who acts in view of “undermining national unification” of Hong Kong with the mainland will incur a penalty of up to life imprisonment, depending on the severity of the offence. The financial support of such activities is also a crime.

The safety act also sets out generally what might be regarded as criminal offences by the “terrorist organizations” and those who collude with foreign entities.

The text also indicates that those who are not permanent residents of Hong Kong may be expelled if they violate the law.

Under chinese president Xi Jinping, the decision of Beijing to go ahead with the law comes despite strong criticism from Europe and the United States.

The president of the Council of the EU, Charles Michel, said on Tuesday that “we deplore this decision,” according to a Reuters report.

The administration of u.s. president Donald Trump has also taken action to eliminate the status of trade special Hong Kong with the largest economy in the world, starting with restrictions on the export of defence and access to high-technology products.

Other aspects of the law have indicated how Beijing would strengthen its hand in the affairs of Hong Kong.

In accordance with the law, a new office for the maintenance of national security located in Hong Kong will not be subject to the authority of the special administrative region. Zhang said Wednesday that many of the cases handled by the office of the national security that might involve State secrets.

A national security adviser appointed by the central government shall attend the meetings of a committee for the safeguarding of the national security of the special administrative region of Hong Kong, according to the law.

Hong Kong will also promote the education in national security in the schools and in the media, in accordance with the law.

– Lilian Wu of CNBC contributed to this report.

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