The Chinese Communist Party wants to take full control of city affairs. Pro-democracy and anti-government activists could be detained and taken to China. The legislation threatens religious freedom. For Pro-Beijing advocates, the city needs a law to fight terrorists and separatists.
Hong Kong (AsiaNews) – The National People's Congress, which opened its annual session today, plans to adopt a national security law for Hong Kong. This comes after almost a year of pro-democracy protests, which have shaken the Special Administrative Region. For the rulers of mainland China, such actions are subversive. Hong Kong shares plunge 5.6 per cent on China security law fears, the biggest drop in the past five years. The Diocesan Commission for Justice and Peace also criticised the new law. Below are the reactions to the proposed legislation.
Trade union leader and former member of Hong Kong’s Legislative Council Lee Cheuk-yan
It is the complete disruption of Hong Kong's autonomy. With the new law, the Chinese Communist Party can create a local office for national security. It is a sign that it wants to take full control of city affairs.
Pro-democracy lawmaker Dennis Kwok
Beijing is killing Hong Kong and is using the pretext of fighting the pandemic to prevent people from protesting. For the city, it is the saddest day since its return to Chinese sovereignty in 1997.
Pro-democracy lawmaker Tanya Chan of the Civic Party
Today is the saddest day in the history of the city. The rights and freedoms enjoyed in Hong Kong represent a problem for the Chinese government, which is why it plans to eliminate them. If Beijing deploys its national security officers, pro-democracy and anti-government activists could be detained and taken to China.
Democratic Party lawmaker Helena Wong
The law weakens the city’s government, given that it will not be able to regulate the action by the mainland’s security forces.
Jacky Hung, member of the Justice and Peace Commission of the Diocese of Hong Kong
We are concerned that the law will be used to suppress religious freedom. Hong Kong should adopt universal suffrage before adopting national security laws.
Pro-democracy activist Joshua Wong
China wants to take everything in Hong Kong, and end every link between the city and the international community. But Demosisto (the pro-independence party Wong founded in 2016 with other students) will continue to fight for the Hong Kong Human Rights and Democracy Act, although this could lead to indictments and annihilation.
Legal expert Johannes Chan, University of Hong Kong
This is the end of the "one country, two systems" principle on which Hong Kong's autonomy from China is based. It means that every Chinese law is also applicable to the city, whose courts still follow common law. There is even a risk that Hong Kong citizens accused of attacking national security could be tried by a Chinese military court.
Lord Patten, Hong Kong’s last British governor
This is outrageous, an attack on Hong Kong's autonomy. The security law violates the Sino-British Declaration of 1985, which governed the city's transition from British to Chinese rule. The latter requires China to respect Hong Kong's rights and democratic freedoms until 2047. The United Kingdom and the United States are expected to protest with China.
Pro-Beijing New People’s Party
Hong Kong has been reunited with the motherland for the past 23 years. it is a constitutional duty to defend national security, ensure territorial integrity and protect the country’s interests. The city needs a law to counter terrorists and separatists who have threatened China and Hong Kong’s autonomous administration in the past year. A national security law would enhance the principle of “One Country, Two Systems.”