Outrage in Hong Kong as China pushes security law

Cornelia Mascio
Mag 23, 2020

At its annual National People's Congress, China's lawmakers put forward a proposal to enact new legislation to strengthen "enforcement mechanisms" in Hong Kong, which was rocked past year by seven months of massive and sometimes violent pro-democracy protests that crippled the city. A protest movement was born and for months the city was engulfed in violent street battles, in what has been described as Hong Kong's worst crisis since the 1997 handover of the former British colony to Chinese control.

"The United States strongly urges Beijing to reconsider its disastrous proposal, abide by its worldwide obligations, and respect Hong Kong's high degree of autonomy, democratic institutions, and civil liberties, which are key to preserving its special status under U.S. law", he said, adding that the USA stands "with the people of Hong Kong".

In an interview with DW News hours later, prominent democracy activist Joshua Wong said Beijing had "totally violated procedural justice".

On internet threads and chat apps used by the pro-democracy movement, there were calls to resume the protests of a year ago that were largely subdued in recent months because of coronavirus restrictions.

More importantly, it will likely allow Beijing to bypass LegCo if it chooses to, declaring that the NPC's Standing Committee "is authorised to draft laws related to the establishment and completion of. the legal system and enforcement mechanisms for the preservation of national security".

"We will fully and faithfully implement the policy of one country, two systems, under which the people of Hong Kong govern Hong Kong and the people of Macau govern Macau, with a high degree of autonomy for both regions", he said, speaking to about 3,000 delegates.

However, a huge pro-democracy movement has built in the face of fears China has been steadily eroding those freedoms.

The move is also significant in that China's central government appears to have all but given up hope that Hong Kong's administration will succeed at passing local legislation on such a law, amid a hostile political environment and deeply divided city, the report said.

Local pro-democracy lawmaker Tanya Chan said Beijing had "shown zero respect for Hong Kong people".

"Many Hong Kongers must be as angry as us now, but we must remember not to give up", she added. In reaction, the Hong Kong stock market closed down more than 5%.

"A broad-brush interpretation of this law would signal the end of Hong Kong as we know it", Patterson said. China has sovereignty in Hong Kong, but it's supposed to guarantee those rights.

Millions of Hong Kong residents took to the streets to protest against the legislation, which was eventually shelved by pro-Beijing Chief Executive Carrie Lam.

Under the same agreement, Hong Kong had to enact is own national security laws - this was set out in Article 23 of the Basic Law.

President Donald Trump has said the United States would react strongly if China followed through with its proposals, without giving details, the BBC reported.

"I don't know what it is, because nobody knows yet". "If it happens, we'll address that issue very strongly".

In a show of support for demonstrators, the US Congress previous year 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.

Pompeo said that Beijing's latest moves would "inevitably" influence the State Department's decision.

Kwok said the most effective leverage would be to stress how investors would be spooked by the narrowing of autonomy in Hong Kong, one of the world's pre-eminent financial capitals.

Under Chinese President Xi Jinping's leadership, China has chosen the second approach.

Senator Pat Toomey, who spearheaded the legislation, described Hong Kong as "the canary in the coal mine for Asia". For months, hundreds of thousands of Kong Kongers risked their lives and their livelihoods by protesting efforts by the city's pro-Beijing leaders to extend China's direct power over their citizens.

Altre relazioniGrafFiotech

Discuti questo articolo

Segui i nostri GIORNALE