Bar Association: Beijing cannot impose security law

It is the Legco that must legislate on the matter. Compliance with the UN Convention on civil and political rights is at risk. The central government cannot interfere in affairs that are the exclusive responsibility of the city authorities. The independence of the judges is threatened.

Hong Kong (AsiaNews) - Beijing cannot impose the security law under discussion at the National People's Congress (NPC) on the city, according to the Bar Association.

it notes that under the Basic Law, the Chinese government controls only Hong Kong's foreign policy and defense. It is up to the Legco - the local Parliament - to legislate on national security issues.

Hong Kong has not yet equipped itself with such a legislative instrument. In 2003, a bill on the subject was withdrawn after strong opposition from citizens, which saw it threatening their rights. According to Hong Kong lawyers, the law wanted by Beijing could violate the UN Convention on civil and political rights, to which the Basic Law expressly refers.

The Chinese central government cannot interfere in affairs that fall under the jurisdiction of the former British colony. This means that if Beijing wants to deploy its own security officers to the city, they will have to comply with the laws of Hong Kong and not those of the motherland.

The new law also requires Hong Kong courts to intervene in preventing, stopping and punishing actions that threaten national security. The Bar Association notes that this provision violates the independence of the judicial system, a key element of the special autonomy granted to the city after its return to Chinese hands.

In the plans of the Chinese regime, the new measure will be approved by the NPC Standing Committee and promulgated by the Hong Kong executive. For almost a year, the region with special status has been shaken by pro-democracy demonstrations, which Beijing condemns as subversive.

In June 2019, Hong Kong lawyers were among the first to demonstrate against the (later withdrawn) bill on extradition, which kicked off months of demonstrations in favor of democratic freedoms.

Yesterday hundreds of people took to the streets against the proposed security law, the first real demonstration after months of lockdowns in which the government prohibited gatherings of more than 8 people. Police arrested 180 demonstrators; at least 10 activists were injured and taken to hospital.