Tuesday, 02 June, 2020

Hong Kong opposition and activists slam China's planned security law

Ginger Lawrence | 23 May, 2020, 00:40

Chief Executive Carrie Lam said the city would fully cooperate with China to enact the legislation, hours before a planned evening demonstration amid residents' concerns over the future of "one country, two systems", the principle by which the Asian financial hub is overseen by Beijing.

Prominent pro-democracy figures in Hong Kong echoed HRW's sentiments.

Dennis Kwok, a pro-democracy lawmaker in Hong Kong, told a US-based audience on Friday that the territory's opposition forces appreciated USA efforts and urged continued vigilance, voicing fear for police crackdowns in the coming days. "Apart from the impact on freedom of speech ... it also tells us how useless the Legislative Council is because the National People's Congress standing committee can totally bypass it", said a 17-year-old student who did not want to give his name. But we have this law this year, and it will be a turning point.

This also leaves Hong Kong's huge democracy movement helpless to block the legislation, as it did last year's extradition bill that would've sent the accused to the mainland for "justice". If these measures are passed, Hong Kong's separate political status will be a mere fig leaf covering the reality of Communist despotism.

Lin, who now serves as deputy secretary general of Taiwan's ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP), suggested the island's government reach out to friendly countries such as the United States in order to set up a framework for cooperation, or an worldwide team to support Hong Kong, CNA reported.

FENG: You can hear how emotional he is on the video. According to Lam, the proposed legislation would not affect Hong Kong's judicial independence or that of its legal entities, adding that Beijing's intention was to tackle illegal activities that the government believed had damaged national security. Beijing believes nearly a year of mass protests and, at times, paralysing confrontations on the streets shows that now it is needed more than ever.

But this law is really being seen as the final blow to Hong Kong's institutions.

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Beijing's hardening policies also show that it has not understood what caused discontent in Hong Kong in the first place, he said.

Hong Kong's value to China would drop considerably if its entrepreneurial people left and the city itself would no longer attract USA investment. This time, Beijing's taking no chances.

Pro-democracy activists fear that China pushing through the law could mean "the end of Hong Kong" - that is, the effective end of its autonomy and these freedoms.

INSKEEP: Just to be clear, is there any doubt that this law is going to pass the National People's Congress? The security law is a responsible measure the central government took to deal with the grave situation in Hong Kong and it doesn't contradict with Article 23 of the Basic Law, the group said.

The Globe and Mail reported Friday that the Canadian Security Intelligence Service and USA law enforcement authorities are warning academics and corporations in both countries that they are at increased risk of having their data and technology stolen, especially research on vaccines and other treatments for the coronavirus.

Hong Kong's main stock market index tumbled the most in nearly five years after Beijing's plan was revealed.

Laws that harm democracy, human rights and Hong Kong's freedom under the guise of national security will increase societal instability and heighten risks for global citizens in the city, Taiwan's Mainland Affairs Council said in an emailed statement.