China has passed a controversial security law giving it new powers over Hong Kong, deepening worries for the town’s liberty, and the BBC has learned.
Last month China announced it would impose the legislation, which criminalises any action of secession, subversion, terrorism or collusion with foreign forces.
The move comes following angry protests last season – sparked by yet another law – that turned into a pro-democracy movement.
Critics say that the new law poses a much larger danger to Hong Kong’s identity.
They warn it’ll undermine Hong Kong’s judicial independence and ruin the city’s liberty, which aren’t accessible mainland China.
Hong Kong was given back to China from British control 1997, but using a special arrangement which guaranteed certain freedoms.
The invoice has sparked demonstrations in Hong Kong and attracted international condemnation because it had been declared by Beijing in May.
However China claims the law is required to handle separatist action, subversion, terrorism and collusion with overseas components – and rejects criticism as interference in its affairs.
The safety law has been fast-tracked to come in effect prior to Wednesday, which marks the anniversary of the handover from Britain to China and is generally marked by large scale political protests.
It had been passed unanimously on Tuesday afternoon from the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress in Beijing and will be expected to be inserted to Hong Kong’s Basic Law after in the afternoon.
Among the city’s most prominent activists, Joshua Wong, responded by saying he’d stop the pro-democracy band Demosisto he dared till today.
Fellow activists Nathan Law and Agnes Chow also said they would stop the group.
What’s the law?
China hasn’t officially confirmed that the law was passed, and the text of this bill has not been made public, but a few details have surfaced.
It might make criminal any action of secession, subversion of their central authorities, terrorism and collusion with foreign or outside forces.
A new federal safety office in Hong Kong would cope with national security cases, but might also have other forces like overseeing instruction about national safety in Hong Kong schools.
The Hong Kong authorities is going to be asked to execute most authorities under law, but Beijing is going to have the ability to overrule the Hong Kong government in some instances.