China has passed its controversial Hong Kong security law, further strengthening China’s totalitarian policies in Hong Kong.
The new law, according to Chinese government, will deal with issues of terrorism, subversion and foreign interference. However, its critics say that the Chinese government will use it to will also effectively curtail protests and freedom of speech and will be an absolute tool to suppress public dissent.
As per the details, the bill, whose draft has not yet been made public, was passed unanimously by the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress. It will see that a new office in Hong Kong will deal with national security cases, but will also have other powers such as overseeing education about national security in Hong Kong schools.
Additionally, Hong Kong city will now have a national security commission with an advisor appointed by China. Meanwhile Hong Kong’s Chief Executive (CE) will be able to appoint judges to hear national security cases.
Antony Dapiran – a resident of Hong Kong and author, took to social media to criticize the law stating that the law will indirectly give sweeping powers to China over Hong Kong, and the role of local authorities will become nominal and limited.
“Clearest indication of the role for the Chief Executive & Hong Kong Government under Beijing’s new order: HK authorities will be responsible for minor administrative matters only. All other shots are called by Beijing directly,” he tweeted.
Furthermore, Amnesty International has also criticized the law and termed it as ‘the greatest threat to human rights in the city’s recent history’.
Hong Kong has been a battle ground against the Chinese influence and intervention over its government and in its internal matters. In 2019, the Hong Kong government, under Chinese pressure, proposed to introduce a new ‘extradition law’ which resulted in huge wave of protests that saw millions of people demonstrating on the streets of Hong Kong for the next several months.