Beijing’s Security Law Comes Into Effect in Hong Kong Amid Chorus of Criticism
Hong Kong ProtestsFrank Fang

Beijing’s controversial national security law will take effect immediately after two ceremonial votes on June 30 by the standing committee of China’s rubber-stamp legislature.

Unusually, neither Beijing nor the Hong Kong government has publicized the text of the law—though the Chinese regime disclosed several additional details last week, such as the Hong Kong leader will have the power to appoint judges to hear national security-related cases.

Current Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam, in a statement issued on June 30 at around 6:50 p.m. local time, welcomed Beijing’s formal passage of the law, and said it would “come into effect later today.”

She added that her government will promulgate the law in the government gazette “as soon as possible” to officially enable its implementation.

Beijing formally began the process of drafting a national security law for Hong Kong on May 28, after the rubber-stamp legislature, the National People’s Congress (NPC), conducted a ceremonial vote. The law would criminalize those who engage in activities connected to “subversion, secession, terrorism, and foreign interference” against the Chinese Communist Party (CCP).

The NPC standing committee, which oversees the body, tabled the bill on Monday. The following morning, it formally voted unanimously for the bill’s passage, then voted again for it to be annexed to Hong Kong’s mini-constitution, the Basic Law.

With the security law, Lam claimed that the “social unrest” in Hong Kong “will be eased and stability will be restored,” repeating phrases used in Beijing’s propaganda that characterize the ongoing pro-democracy protest movement.

John Lee, Hong Kong’s Security Secretary, said in a statement that a police “dedicated unit” will be set up under the national security law to be “equipped with effective enforcement power to discharge the enforcement duties.”

Soon after Lam’s statement, the pan-democracy camp of the city’s local legislature, known as the Legislative Council (LegCo), held a press conference criticizing Beijing and the law.

pan-democracy camp
Members of the pan-democracy camp hold a press conference at Hong Kong’s Legislative Council on June 30, 2020. (Hong Kong branch of The Epoch Times)

“This is the end of ‘one country, two systems,’” said Dennis Kwok, a lawmaker of the Civic Party, referring to the framework by which Beijing promised to preserve the city’s autonomy upon Hong Kong’s transfer of sovereignty from Britain to China in 1997.

Kwok said what Beijing had done was a “ruthless way of taking away the freedoms and human dignity of the Hong Kong people.”

It was an “undignified assault on the freedoms, human rights, and the rule of law of Hong Kong,” Kwok said.

Lawmaker Tanya Chan said the law was equivalent to issuing a “death certificate” for “one country, two systems, and that Hong Kong will now be under the rule of “one country, one system.”

Many governments, including Japan, South Korea, Taiwan, the UK, and the European Union expressed concerns following the formal passage of the law.

As fundamental rights and the rule of law appear threatened by these extraordinary actions in #HongKong, we join calls for the urgent establishment of a UN human rights mechanism on #China

— BHRC (@BarHumanRights) June 30, 2020

Joining the international criticism was NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg, who said during a Tuesday virtual forum, “It is clear that China does not share our values—democracy, freedom, and the rule of law,” according to Reuters.

Stoltenberg added: “We see this in Hong Kong, where the new security law undermines its autonomy.”

Chris Patten, the last governor of Hong Kong and a patron of the British NGO Hong Kong Watch, criticized Beijing in a statement.

“This decision, which rides rough-shod over Hong Kong’s elected legislature, marks the end of one-country, two-systems. It is a flagrant breach of the Sino-British Joint Declaration,” Patten said, referring to the treaty that governed Hong Kong’s handover.

Patten warned: “The separation of powers is in danger of being shattered and the courts politicized by the provision that the Chief Executive will herself choose the judges for national security cases.”

From The Epoch Times