On Wednesday, the newly elected chief executive of pro-Beijing Executive Council leader Carrie Lam declares Hong Kong’s latest plans to build a host of new National Security crimes. While presiding over her first session of the new “only patriots” legislature, she announced that the government would ensure new legislation based on Article 23 of the Hong Kong constitution, which stems the foundation for the region’s disputable National Security Law (NSL).
Addressing the opening of the new legislature that excludes any political opposition, Lam said that list of the crimes formulated by the Beijing-imposed National Security would enable some new laws. Although she has not given many details about the offences which will add to the list, Article 23 includes treason, sedition, and theft of state crime. The list already comprises crimes like subversion, secession, and conspiracy with foreign forces. Article 23 also prohibits conducting any activities by foreign political organizations and maintaining relations with local political entities.
The prevailing National Security Law of Hong Kong was imposed in June 2020 in response to the mass protest a year before, forbidding what Beijing adjudges secession, subversion, terrorism, and conspiracy with foreign forces. Approximately 150 people, including Journalists and academics, activists, and lawmakers were detained in the uprising crackdown, while some fled into exile abroad after pro-democracy protests. Amnesty International even declared the law “decimated” Hong Kong’s future and freedom, which promises to be respected and safeguarded by Beijing for 25 years when the territory was returned to the nation in 1997.
Thus, to bring a reformed law that would ensure Hong Kong’s security, Lam confirmed that her government would draft a “local legalization” that captures the meets of Article 23 of mini-constitution, which enforce city to pass its own National Security Law. She also commented that with the staunch support of CG, Hong Kong has returned on the correct path of one country, two systems.
China imposed its law claiming to restore order and peace after pro-democracy protests by the people of Hong Kong. The law not only illegally detained the protestors but also affected what China called a “tiny minority”. Over time, the law has begun mirroring Hong Kong as an authoritarian nation. There has been increased dissent for criminalizing much offence, setting new legal models, and igniting sanctions by the western governments that have burned the autonomy of the city and its people.
The law also empowered mainland China and helped it to gain full access to the security apparatus of Hong Kong. The government enjoyed the privilege to openly freeze the assets of any company or adjudge an individual to be a national security threat. Therefore, the maximum number of people facing National Security Charges have vocalized political views. In 2003, the Hong Kong government tried to release its own National Security law, but it sparked huge protests and ultimately aborted. Due to which Beijing imposed its law directly in 2020. It is quite unlikely that the city government would face any opposition in passing the latest law as under “patriots only”, it has cleared any opposition. The legislature is the first to summon under electoral rules stated by China to ensure that only “patriots” come to political office in Hong Kong.
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