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China is set to impose a national security law on Hong Kong to punish subversion in the city China is set to impose a national security law on Hong Kong to punish subversion in the city More
Deanna Wagner | 29 June, 2020, 15:55

The top decision-making body of China's parliament is deliberating a draft national security law for Hong Kong.

China's National People's Congress is now in the final stages of drafting the law - details of which have not been revealed - and is expected to pass it this week, perhaps even by Tuesday.

Under the proposed law, the Central Government in Beijing would be allowed to set up a national security office in Hong Kong to collect and analyse intelligence and deal with criminal cases related to national security.

Eight days before the three-day meeting, the NPC standing committee released more details about the draft proposal: Beijing would have jurisdiction over certain cases under exceptional circumstances; the regime would also establish a national security agency in the city; and the chief executive, a position now held by pro-Beijing leader Carrie Lam, would appoint judges to hear national security-related cases.

The event came a day after Hong Kong police refused permission for an annual march that is held on July 1 to mark the handover of the city from Britain to Chinese authorities 23 years ago.

"National security law (s) overseas often have life imprisonment as the maximum sentence".

However, chanting and slogans were shouted towards police and later scuffles broke out in Mong Kok, prompting police to use pepper spray to subdue parts of the crowd.

Since the protests began a year ago, around 9,000 people have been arrested and more than 500 people have been charged with rioting.

Over 10 million coronavirus cases registered worldwide: AFP tally
U.S. deaths now exceed 125,000, approximately one-quarter the world total of nearly 499,000. The US continues to be the country with the highest number of infections and fatalities.

"Beijing continues to undermine human rights and fundamental freedoms in Hong Kong by putting pressure on local authorities to arrest pro-democracy activists and disqualify pro-democracy electoral candidates", Pompeo said.

With the world focused on the pandemic, Beijing thinks this is their opportunity to steamroll Hong Kong, " said Senator Josh Hawley, the resolution's sponsor.

Pro-democracy activists are also anxious the new law could make it hard for them to run in Legislative Council elections. He did not specify which U.S. individuals have been targeted.

Hong Kong enjoys semi-autonomous control in the region due to the Sino-British Joint Declaration, which established sovereignty after the British released Hong Kong from imperial rule and handed it over to China in 1997.

Last week, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said that Washington is imposing visa restrictions on officials of the Communist Party of China (CPC) "believed to be responsible for undermining freedoms in Hong Kong". "The US government already has a lot of legal weapons against Hong Kong".

However, China's official Xinhua News Agency said a Hong Kong government spokesman had called legislation approved by the U.S. Senate on Thursday that would impose mandatory sanctions on people or companies that back efforts to restrict Hong Kong's autonomy totally unacceptable.

In response to the bill passage, the Hong Kong government issued a statement on Friday, calling on the U.S. Congress to "immediately stop interfering" in its "internal matters".

"We urge the U.S. to immediately correct its mistakes, withdraw the decisions and stop interfering in China's domestic affairs", she said.