China Proposes Law That Will Crack Down On Opposition Activity In Hong Kong, Bypass City’s Legislature
The Chinese Communist Party announced Thursday that the country’s legislature will propose sweeping new national security laws for Hong Kong that sidestep the city’s own lawmaking body, crack down on opposition to Beijing, and deal a sharp blow to the territory’s autonomy.
1/ On the eve of HK’s Tiananmen massacre vigil, Beijing is now scrapping its promise of #1country2systems by circumventing HK’s legislature and directly imposing the most controversial national security law #article23 upon Hong Kong.
— Joshua Wong 黃之鋒 ???? (@joshuawongcf) May 21, 2020
In a news briefing late Thursday, spokesman for the National People’s Congress Zhang Yesui said that it will be deliberating on a bill “establishing and enhancing the legal framework and enforcement mechanisms for safeguarding national security” in Hong Kong. (RELATED: Fight Breaks Out In Hong Kong Parliament As Pro-Beijing Party Gains Control Of Key Position)
China had pledged to keep Hong Kong’s capitalist system and way of life unchanged for 50 years under the “one country, two systems” principle agreed upon with the U.K. in 1997, which handed the city back to Beijing after more than a century of colonial rule.
The agreement also created a mini constitution for Hong Kong, known as the Basic Law, which required the city to enact its own national security legislation. An attempt by China to bypass the city’s lawmakers and implement national security laws was last attempted in 2003.
Beijing’s move has long been under consideration but was repeatedly derailed by months of massive protests in the city against the Communist Party’s attempts to reassert political control that drew crowds of almost 2 million.
The protests started over opposition to a Chinese extradition bill but have evolved into a larger battle over Hong Kong’s autonomy. Most recently, fights broke out on the floor of the Hong Kong legislature as pro-Beijing lawmakers pushed a bill that would criminalize “abusing” the Chinese national anthem.
The announcement led to bipartisan condemnations by members of the United States Congress.
Beijing’s announcement of yet another attempt to bring an end to the “one country, two systems” framework in #HongKong is deeply alarming. Attempting to circumvent the HK legislature shows a complete disrespect for the rule of law.
— Nancy Pelosi (@SpeakerPelosi) May 21, 2020
Chairman Xi and his Communist thugs once again show their disregard for Hong Kong’s promised autonomy and freedom. There must be consequences for Beijing’s tyrannical actions against the people of Hong Kong.https://t.co/AWOIJHh6OI
— Tom Cotton (@SenTomCotton) May 21, 2020
The Chinese legislature, which begins deliberations on Friday, is expected to rubber stamp the proposed law next week.
“I feel sick,” said Dennis Kwok, a pro-democracy lawmaker in Hong Kong. “This basically means the end of ‘One Country, Two Systems.’”