Tuesday, June 2, 2020

Beijing prepares to impose national security law on Hong Kong

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Beijing's patience has indeed reached its limit. "We will establish and refine the legal system and law enforcement mechanisms for the protection of state security in special administrative regions (Hongkong and Macao) and put constitutional responsibility on their government "Chinese Premier Li Keqiang said on Friday May 22 at the opening of the National People's Congress. In other words, " we are taking care of it ! " Beijing seems to have taken note of the fact that, despite its ceaseless foot calls, the government of Carrie Lam, the chief executive, had neither the will nor the political capacity to adopt article 23 of the Basic Law, the mini-Constitution that governs the functioning of Hong Kong institutions.

However, the adoption of this article called "national security" supposed to punish treason, sedition, subversion and secession, always postponed since the handover of Hong Kong to China, in 1997, is, in the eyes of Beijing, urgent and essential: it would provide Hong Kong with the legal arsenal necessary to control any form of dispute. Beijing has therefore grown tired of begging on all counts. The central government took the lead and decided to impose its own legal arsenal of security laws so as to partially bypass the Parliament of Hong Kong. One possibility raised by Hong Kong deputies in the Chinese Assembly would be to drop the new law in Annex III of the Basic Law, which in principle concerns the fields of defense and diplomacy, as was the law punishing any contempt for the Chinese national anthem, under discussion in Parliament. Jurists warned in 2019 that Annex III had already operated as a "Back door" legislative initiative to introduce this controversial law, setting a dangerous precedent …

This new gesture of hostility towards the Hong Kongers is by far the most brutal since the handover of the former British colony

National People's Assembly spokesman Zhang Yesui said on Thursday evening that the move was " absolutely necessary " to protect the framework principle "One country, two systems", the basis of the handover of the former British colony to the mother country, according to which, for at least fifty years, until 2047 therefore, Hong Kong would enjoy a high degree of autonomy in the management of its internal affairs. Most non-Chinese observers, however, believe that this decision strongly undermines the principle "One country, two systems".

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