Hong Kong marks 23 years as new “anti-protest” law imposed by Beijing goes into effect
The National Security Act targets separatism, sectarianism and terrorism with life imprisonment.
Hong Kong was returned to China from Britain in 1997, but an agreement called for some independence for at least 50 years.
Critics, however, say the law is the end of Hong Kong, and has put an end to this freedom.
“[China] He promised the people of Hong Kong 50 years of independence, and gave them only 23, “said Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.
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The city leader, however, said the law would “restore stability” in 2019 after widespread protests.
“The National Security Act is considered the most significant development in the relationship between the central government and Hong Kong since the law was passed,” said Chief Executive Carrie Lam.
Will there be protests on the anniversary?
Every year, pro-democracy protests are held on the anniversary, usually attended by decades or thousands of people.
However, for the first time since the handover, authorities have banned the march – citing a ban on the virus in a gathering of more than 50 people.
Some leaders disobeyed the ban and promised to march in the afternoon.
“We march every year … and we will continue to march,” pro-democracy activist Laing Kok-hong told Reuters.
But a pro-democracy activist warned that “we have a good chance of being arrested.”
“Complaints will not be light, please judge in your favor,” said Social Democrat League leader Sang Qing-shing.
City police officials are on standby, insiders told the South China Morning Post that they said about 4,000 officers were ready to handle any unrest.
What does the new law say?
Under the new law – which applies to both permanent and temporary – the offenses of segregation, abolition of policy, terrorism and alliances with foreign forces can be punishable by a minimum of three years in prison, a maximum of life.
Protesters often targeted the city’s infrastructure during the 2014 protests – under the new law, damaging public transport facilities could be considered terrorism.
Beijing will set up a new security office in Hong Kong with its own law enforcement staff – none of which will come under local authority.
Hating the central government of China and the regional government of Hong Kong is now a crime under Article 29.
- Life imprisonment for violating Hong Kong’s security laws
- Beijing will set up a new security office in Hong Kong
What was the reaction?
Minutes after the law was passed, pro-democracy activists began resigning, fearing the punishment the law would allow.
Democrat leader Joshua Wang said, “Economy and undefined legislation will turn the city into a secret police state.
The political party he founded – the Demosisto – was also disbanded.
An opposition legislator told the BBC the move deprived the city of its rights.
Opposition MLA Ted Hui said, “We are being deprived of our rights, our freedom is gone, our rule of law is gone, our judicial freedom is gone.”
In the United States, lawmakers on both sides have introduced a bill to grant refugee status to Hong Kong residents at risk of persecution, local media reported.
Under the National Security Act, several of the protests that rocked Hong Kong in the past year can now be marked as confusion or isolation … and could result in life in prison.
The city’s pro-Beijing leader, Kerry Lam, said the law was in force
Political activists resigned and a pro-democracy protester, who asked not to be named, told me that ordinary people are now deleting posts on social media.
Many people are simply stopping talking about politics, and stopping talking about freedom and democracy, because they want to save their own lives.
They want to save their freedom and avoid being arrested.
A contact with me, a lawyer and human rights activist, sent me a message shortly after the law was passed.
Please delete everything in this chat, he wrote.