The new national security law passed by Beijing is “the most important event” for Hong Kong since the transfer of sovereignty to China in 1997, defended the chief executive of the semi-autonomous territory today.
“National security law is a turning point between chaos and good governance,” said Carrie Lam at a ceremony to mark the 23rd anniversary of the former British colony's return to China.
This text constitutes “the most important event in the relations between the central government and Hong Kong since the transfer”, he maintained.
Enacted Tuesday by Chinese President Xi Jinping, after being adopted by the Standing Committee of the National People's Assembly, the new law allows punishing four types of crimes against state security: subversive activities, secession, terrorism and collusion with foreign forces that put national security is at risk.
In this area, mainland China has the competence to deal directly with this matter, in three hypotheses: if they are complex cases of foreign interference, if they are classified as “very serious” and if “serious and real threats” jeopardize security national.
The law came into force, just over a year after major protests began in Hong Kong against the influence of the central government.
Such legislation, imposed in a few weeks by Beijing, ignoring the Hong Kong legislative council, makes the Hong Kong opposition fear an unprecedented decline in freedoms in this territory of 7.5 million inhabitants, which currently benefits from a semi-autonomous status. .
At the United Nations, 27 states have asked China to reconsider the law, saying it “threatens” freedoms in Hong Kong.
Carrie Lam, loyal to Beijing, said otherwise. The new law “will not weaken Hong Kong's judicial independence and high degree of autonomy, and will not undermine the freedoms and rights of the people of Hong Kong,” he said in the speech.
Criticism by foreign governments constitutes “slanderous and malicious attacks,” he added.
The legislation enacted on Tuesday by Beijing allows punishing separatist, “terrorist” activities, subversion or even foreign interference in Hong Kong, the scene of violent pro-democracy protests in 2019, which resulted in more than nine thousand arrests.
Crimes against national security are now subject to life imprisonment in Hong Kong.
Hong Kong returned to China in 1997 under an agreement that guaranteed the territory 50 years of autonomy and freedoms unknown to the rest of the country, under the “One country, two systems” principle.
As with Macau since 1999, Hong Kong has agreed a 50-year period with a high degree of autonomy, at the executive, legislative and judicial level, with the central Chinese government being responsible for foreign relations and defense.
JMC // JMC
The Hong Kong Government says Beijing's law is a “most important event” post-transfer appears first in Vision.