China's highest legislative body, the National People's Assembly, will address, during its plenary session, which kicked off today, Hong Kong's national security law.
The bill aims to ban “betrayal, secession, rebellion (and) subversion” in Hong Kong, in response to the pro-democracy protests that have shaken the former British colony since last year.
In a statement, Carrie Lam assured that the project “would not affect the legitimate rights and freedoms enjoyed by the people of Hong Kong” and justified the Chinese parliament's intervention in the constitutional affairs of the territory by the violence that occurred during the demonstrations last year.
“The emergence of several incidents involving explosives and firearms poses a risk of terrorist attacks,” he said.
Lam is in Beijing on the occasion of the opening of the annual session of the National People's Assembly (APN), which will vote on the bill on Thursday.
Article 23 of the Basic Law, the Hong Kong mini-constitution, stipulates that the city should proceed with legislation in this direction, but this has proved difficult, given the resistance of the Hong Kong population, who fear a reduction in their freedoms.
In mainland China, courts often resort to national security law, including accusations such as “separatism” or “subversion of state power”, to arrest dissidents or activists who defy Chinese Communist Party rule.
Hong Kong was returned by the United Kingdom to China in 1997 and the formula 'one country, two systems', also used in Macau, was applied in the territory, which guarantees the two regions a high degree of autonomy at the executive, legislative and judicial levels.
Hong Kong has been the scene of demonstrations for six months, started in protest against a proposal to amend the extradition law, which would allow criminals to be extradited to countries without prior agreements, such as mainland China.
The Hong Kong Government eventually withdrew the proposal, yielding to one of the demands of the protesters. But the decision was not enough to stop anti-government protests in favor of democratic reforms and against Beijing's alleged growing interference in the territory.
With legislation passed by the APN, where about 70% of the 3,000 deputies are members of the Chinese Communist Party, China is effectively circumventing the Hong Kong government, undermining the relative autonomy granted to the territory, one of the largest financial markets on the planet, and essential in the flow of capital and investment between China and the rest of the world.
JPI // FPA
Hong Kong content promises to “cooperate fully” with Beijing in national security law appears first in Vision.