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China Enacts Security Law, Asserting Control Over Hong Kong

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Beijing’s top legislative body has unanimously passed a sweeping national security law for Hong Kong, a controversial move that could effectively criminalize most dissent …
Beijing’s top legislative body has unanimously passed a sweeping national security law for Hong Kong, a controversial move that could effectively criminalize most dissent in the city and risks widening the rift between China and western countries who have criticized the law.
The news was reported by NOWNews — a Hong Kong cable television station — the city’s public broadcaster and a slew of local newspapers, including Wei Wen Po and Ta Kung Pao, two pro-Beijing outlets which often signal official Chinese policy. Beijing state media have yet to confirm the law was passed.
National security cases relating to subversion, secession, terrorism or foreign interference can now be tried by a special agency, likely to bet up within Hong Kong’s police force, and subject to a more constrained judicial process in which Hong Kong’s Beijing-backed chief executive can select the judges overseeing the cases. The law also allows Beijing to set up its own security force on Hong Kong soil to investigate security cases and collect intelligence.
The law will likely take effect on July 1, which is also the anniversary of Hong Kong’s 1997 handover from British to Chinese rule.
“The legal firewall, if you like, that separates the two systems [of Hong Kong and Beijing] is now gone,” said Alan Leong, a former chair of Hong Kong’s bar association and chair of Hong Kong’s Civic party. “We are allowing the long arms of the Chinese Communist Party to reach Hong Kong.”
Beijing has defended the law by arguing such a measure is needed to restore stability to Hong Kong, which has been rocked by sometimes violent protests over the last year stemming first from a now-shelved extradition bill and general dissatisfaction with Beijing’s heavy-handed governance.
Pro-Beijing legislators in Hong Kong tried to pass a similar but more limited national security measure in 2003 but the measure was rescinded after an estimated half-million peaceful protesters took to the streets in opposition.

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