0 Shares 70 Views

'The end of Hong Kong': Experts say China's push to pass strict national security laws further erodes the city's autonomy

May 22, 2020
0 71
china military flagchina military flag
China’s national flag is raised during the opening ceremony of the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games at the National Stadium, August 8, 2008. The stadium is also known as the Bird’s Nest.

Jerry Lampe/Reuters

  • On Friday, China began to move forward with controversial national security laws for Hong Kong. 
  • Chinese authorities have not yet released the full details of the proposal, though it will likely outlaw the promotion of secession, subversion and foreign interference.
  • It’s unclear what happens next and how Hong Kong will react.
  • Experts say Beijing’s decision to implement these laws unilaterally rather than through Hong Kong’s own legislature “represents a major blow to Hong Kong’s freedoms and autonomy.” 
  • Visit Insider’s homepage for more stories.

China is moving forward with a set of controversial national security laws for Hong Kong aimed at cracking down on anti-Beijing sentiment and further eroding the region’s autonomy.

Chinese authorities have not yet released the full details of the proposal, which is set to be discussed at the annual and largely rubber-stamp National People’s Congress (NPC) that reopens on Friday.

<p class="canvas-atom canvas-text Mb(1.0em) Mb(0)–sm Mt(0.8em)–sm" type="text" content="According to the BBC, Wang Chen, the vice-chairman of the Standing Committee of the NPC, explained that the proposal will have seven articles, including one that state’s Hong Kong "must improve" national security.&nbsp;” data-reactid=”26″>According to the BBC, Wang Chen, the vice-chairman of the Standing Committee of the NPC, explained that the proposal will have seven articles, including one that state’s Hong Kong “must improve” national security. 

“When needed, relevant national security organs of the Central People’s Government will set up agencies in Hong Kong to fulfill relevant duties to safeguard national security in accordance with the law,” the draft states, according to the BBC.

<p class="canvas-atom canvas-text Mb(1.0em) Mb(0)–sm Mt(0.8em)–sm" type="text" content="On Friday, Hong Kong's government signaled support for the legislature and said it would cooperate with China in order to enforce the laws in Hong Kong.&nbsp;” data-reactid=”28″>On Friday, Hong Kong’s government signaled support for the legislature and said it would cooperate with China in order to enforce the laws in Hong Kong. 

‘The end of Hong Kong’

Critics have likened the move to bullying and say it could have dire consequences on the city. 

Maya Wang, a senior China researcher for Human Rights Watch, said that the bill could spell the end of Hong Kong.

<p class="canvas-atom canvas-text Mb(1.0em) Mb(0)–sm Mt(0.8em)–sm" type="text" content=""The end of Hong Kong is alarming not only for its people but also for the world," she said, according to Hong Kong Free Press news website.” data-reactid=”32″>”The end of Hong Kong is alarming not only for its people but also for the world,” she said, according to Hong Kong Free Press news website.

“Today’s Hong Kong, tomorrow’s the world: Hong Kong has been the safe [harbor] for dissent; it’s the light, the conscience, the voice that speaks truth to an increasingly powerful China.” 

hong kong protest baby.JPGhong kong protest baby.JPG
A child sits in carrier wearing a mask as anti-government protesters hold hands to form a human chain in a sign of solidarity in Kowloon Bay, Hong Kong, China, November 30, 2019.

Leah Millis/REUTERS

<p class="canvas-atom canvas-text Mb(1.0em) Mb(0)–sm Mt(0.8em)–sm" type="text" content="Pro-democracy leader Joshua Wong tweeted that the move was "retaliation" for the last several months of protest spurred by the deeply unpopular extradition bill proposal that was ultimately shelved indefinitely.” data-reactid=”46″>Pro-democracy leader Joshua Wong tweeted that the move was “retaliation” for the last several months of protest spurred by the deeply unpopular extradition bill proposal that was ultimately shelved indefinitely.

<p class="canvas-atom canvas-text Mb(1.0em) Mb(0)–sm Mt(0.8em)–sm" type="text" content=""Beijing's move is a direct retaliation on #hongkongers' efforts to arouse awareness over the past one year," he said in a tweet. "[Hong Kongers] will not scare off in the face of wolf warrior policy."&nbsp;” data-reactid=”47″>”Beijing’s move is a direct retaliation on #hongkongers’ efforts to arouse awareness over the past one year,” he said in a tweet. “[Hong Kongers] will not scare off in the face of wolf warrior policy.” 

<h2 class="canvas-atom canvas-text Mb(1.0em) Mb(0)–sm Mt(0.8em)–sm" type="text" content="What is it?” data-reactid=”48″>What is it?

<p class="canvas-atom canvas-text Mb(1.0em) Mb(0)–sm Mt(0.8em)–sm" type="text" content="While Hong Kong technically operates under a "One Country, Two Systems" rule with China, its relationship with the mainland is growing more fraught as time passes.&nbsp;” data-reactid=”49″>While Hong Kong technically operates under a “One Country, Two Systems” rule with China, its relationship with the mainland is growing more fraught as time passes. 

<p class="canvas-atom canvas-text Mb(1.0em) Mb(0)–sm Mt(0.8em)–sm" type="text" content="Hong Kong operated under British colonial rule for more than 150 years until its sovereignty was passed on to China in 1997 through an agreement called "the Basic Law." This allows Hong Kong to maintain its own political, legal, and economic systems separate from China until 2047.” data-reactid=”50″>Hong Kong operated under British colonial rule for more than 150 years until its sovereignty was passed on to China in 1997 through an agreement called “the Basic Law.” This allows Hong Kong to maintain its own political, legal, and economic systems separate from China until 2047.

hong kong carrie lamhong kong carrie lam
Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam gives a press conference in Hong Kong on June 18, 2019.

HK01

<p class="canvas-atom canvas-text Mb(1.0em) Mb(0)–sm Mt(0.8em)–sm" type="text" content="The Basic Law, or Hong Kong's mini-constitution, already calls for the city to enact national security laws to prohibit "treason, secession, sedition [and] subversion" against the Chinese government. It is referred to as Article 23.” data-reactid=”63″>The Basic Law, or Hong Kong’s mini-constitution, already calls for the city to enact national security laws to prohibit “treason, secession, sedition [and] subversion” against the Chinese government. It is referred to as Article 23.

Here is what it states in full: 

“The Hong Kong Special Administrative Region shall enact laws on its own to prohibit any act of treason, secession, sedition, subversion against the Central People’s Government, or theft of state secrets, to prohibit foreign political organizations or bodies from conducting political activities in the Region, and to prohibit political organizations or bodies of the Region from establishing ties with foreign political organizations or bodies.”

While the article already exists as a part of the basic law, it has never been enacted.

<p class="canvas-atom canvas-text Mb(1.0em) Mb(0)–sm Mt(0.8em)–sm" type="text" content="Hong Kongers have been vigilant about it being used to tighten China's control over the city. In 2003, the Hong Kong government attempted to put forward a national security bill under Article 23, which resulted in mass protests. The bill was eventually withdrawn and shelved indefinitely.” data-reactid=”70″>Hong Kongers have been vigilant about it being used to tighten China’s control over the city. In 2003, the Hong Kong government attempted to put forward a national security bill under Article 23, which resulted in mass protests. The bill was eventually withdrawn and shelved indefinitely.

<p class="canvas-atom canvas-text Mb(1.0em) Mb(0)–sm Mt(0.8em)–sm" type="text" content="This new proposal would be tacked on to the Basic Law, according to the BBC, which also means that China would be modifying the agreement without Hong Kong’s approval.” data-reactid=”71″>This new proposal would be tacked on to the Basic Law, according to the BBC, which also means that China would be modifying the agreement without Hong Kong’s approval.

Why bring it up now?

China has grown increasingly overbearing in its policies towards Hong Kong in recent years, leading to heightened calls for the city to move towards full democracy.

Ben Bland, a research fellow at the Lowy Institute in Australia and the author of “Generation HK: Seeking Identity in China’s Shadow,” told Business Insider that China’s decision to bring Hong Kong’s national security laws into the spotlight again is a response to last year’s protests.

“Beijing is moving now as part of a wider crackdown following last year’s unprecedented pro-democracy protests,” he said.

hong kong protesthong kong protest
Riot police detain a protester during a demonstration on August 5, 2019 in Hong Kong.

Anthony Kwan/Getty Images

Bland added that the COVID-19 outbreak has preoccupied foreign governments and provided them with an opportunity to clamp down on its province gone rogue.

“The timing is also favorable with foreign governments distracted by the COVID-19 crisis,” he said. 

What happens next?

It’s unclear what happens next. According to Bland, Beijing’s decision to implement these laws unilaterally rather than through Hong Kong’s own legislature “represents a major blow to Hong Kong’s freedoms and autonomy.” 

“Beijing has been intensifying the pressure on the city over the last decade and this moves the campaign of repression to a new, more concerning phase,” he said. 

Maple Yau, a 23-year-old involved in Hong Kong’s pro-democracy movement, told Business Insider that it was “hard to tell” if renewed protests will take place at this stage. 

“Suppression in Hong Kong is now harsher than ever,” he said. “The logic of China is that if you don’t support the communist party, then you are jeopardizing the national security of China.”

<p class="canvas-atom canvas-text Mb(1.0em) Mb(0)–sm Mt(0.8em)–sm" type="text" content="Read the original article on Insider” data-reactid=”100″>Read the original article on Insider

You may be interested

'You will move, or you will die': A frightened truck driver's viral Facebook post says truckers will 'defend themselves' by running over protesters
Entertainment
37 views
Entertainment
37 views

'You will move, or you will die': A frightened truck driver's viral Facebook post says truckers will 'defend themselves' by running over protesters

Webby - June 2, 2020

People react after a tanker truck drove into a crowd peacefully protesting the death of George Floyd on the I-35W bridge over the Mississippi River on May…

China's state media says US can now 'enjoy' protests after criticizing China's handling of unrest in Hong Kong
Entertainment
40 views
Entertainment
40 views

China's state media says US can now 'enjoy' protests after criticizing China's handling of unrest in Hong Kong

Webby - June 2, 2020

Police face off with activists during a protest march near the Manhattan Bridge on Sunday, May 31, 2020, in New York.MoreAP Photo/Kevin HagenChina has been furious at…

Iranian 'spy' scientist flies home after release from US prison, raising hopes of prisoner swap
Entertainment
34 views
Entertainment
34 views

Iranian 'spy' scientist flies home after release from US prison, raising hopes of prisoner swap

Webby - June 2, 2020

Iranian scientist Dr Sirous Asgari is due to arrive in Tehran tomorrowMoreThe families of British dual nationals imprisoned by Iran today criticised the Foreign Office for “complete…

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published.

Most from this category