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World China Enacts Sweeping Powers to Silence Hong Kong’s Dissidents

22:16  30 june  2020
22:16  30 june  2020 Source:   bloomberg.com

US Senate votes in favor of sanctions law against China for Hong Kong

 US Senate votes in favor of sanctions law against China for Hong Kong © ANTHONY WALLACE In the dispute over the autonomy status of Hong Kong, the US Senate has passed a sanctions law against China. The Chamber of Congress voted unanimously for the text, which provides for punitive measures against anyone who undermines the autonomy of the Chinese Special Administrative Region. In the dispute over the autonomy status of Hong Kong, the US Senate has passed a sanction law against China.

(Bloomberg) -- Beijing asserted broad new powers over Hong Kong to rein in those who criticize its rule -- from pro-democracy protesters to news agencies to overseas dissidents -- laying out a new national security law that activists and business groups warned endangered the city’s appeal as a financial hub.

The legislation passed by lawmakers in China and signed by President Xi Jinping allows for potential life sentences for crimes including subversion of state power and collusion with foreign forces. It extends to actions committed by anyone, whether or not they are Hong Kong residents, anywhere in the world and appears to cover even non-violent tactics employed by protesters in a wave of unrest that gripped the former British colony last year.

Hong Kong. Washington announces visa restrictions for Chinese officials

 Hong Kong. Washington announces visa restrictions for Chinese officials © MANDEL NGAN / POOL / AFP Mike Pompeo on June 24, 2020. This Friday, June 26, the United States announced a "visa restriction" for Chinese officials. Donald Trump had promised to punish Communist Party officials who questioned Hong Kong's autonomy. The United States announced on Friday, June 26, visa restrictions to limit the entry into the United States of Chinese officials considered responsible for questioning the autonomy of Hong Kong .

China had flagged its intent to impose the law on Hong Kong for weeks, exasperated by the persistent protests which began in opposition to Hong Kong’s plan -- ultimately reversed -- to allow extraditions to the mainland. Even so, it had released few details in advance of the planned legislation. The text of the law, which was made available late Tuesday right as it came into effect, and so far in Chinese only, prompted immediate criticism, adding to the concerns of pro-democracy groups that China’s control over the city will become all-encompassing.

While Li Zhanshu, chairman of China’s legislature, repeated government assurances the law, which runs to 66 articles across 18 pages, would “punish extremely few while protecting the majority,” the U.K. accused Beijing of going back on its promise to preserve Hong Kong’s “high degree of autonomy” under an arrangement known as “one country, two systems”. Prime Minister Boris Johnson said he was “deeply concerned” about the move, while the Trump administration vowed “strong actions” if Beijing didn’t reverse course.

Hong Kong marks handover anniversary as national security law takes effect

  Hong Kong marks handover anniversary as national security law takes effect Hong Kong marks handover anniversary as national security law takes effectThe contentious law will punish crimes of secession, subversion, terrorism and collusion with foreign forces with up to life in prison, heralding a more authoritarian era for China's freest city.

a man holding a sign: Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam Holds News Conference © Bloomberg Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam Holds News Conference

Carrie Lam on June 30.

Photographer: Lam Yik/Bloomberg

Hong Kong’s business community, democracy activists and Beijing-appointed leaders alike were relegated to largely being observers as Chinese lawmakers completed the carefully orchestrated rollout of the legislation that will shape the city’s future. Chief Executive Carrie Lam, who had defended the law even as she acknowledged she hadn’t seen a full draft, said the local police force and Department of Justice were ready to enforce it.

“I am confident that after the implementation of the National Security Law, the social unrest which has troubled Hong Kong people for nearly a year will be eased and stability will be restored,” Lam said.

The measure to punish acts of secession, subversion, terrorism and collusion with foreign forces comes on the eve of the anniversary of Hong Kong’s return to Chinese rule in 1997. The organizer of an annual July 1 march that drew more than half a million people last year lost a last-minute appeal Tuesday to hold the event after being denied permission by police, who cited coronavirus risk and the potential for violence.

Hong Kong Makes First Arrest Under New National Security Law

  Hong Kong Makes First Arrest Under New National Security Law Hong Kong police made their first arrest on Wednesday less than 24 hours after China imposed a sweeping new national security law in the territory. © Bloomberg A barge displays the words 'celebrate the new national security law' in Hong Kong on July 1. Bloomberg A man was arrested for holding a Hong Kong independence flag in the central Causeway Bay neighborhood, the police force tweeted Wednesday. The legislation has raised fears about the financial hub’s autonomy from the mainland and the preservation of its basic freedoms, including of speech and the press.

Some in the pro-democracy camp vowed to march regardless, and despite the threat of arrest. Prominent activists, including former student leaders Joshua Wong and Agnes Chow, cut ties with political groups Tuesday in an apparent attempt to avoid implicating each other. Opposition lawmakers have expressed concern the law will be used to bar them from seeking office in a legislative election in September.

Highlights from Hong Kong’s national security law:
All four crimes carry maximum sentences of life.Applies to actions after the law’s implementation.Covers Hong Kong residents or companies and non-residents anywhere.Terrorism charges include “serious disruption” of transportation networks.Collusion provision includes advocates of foreign sanctions.Subversion includes overthrowing Hong Kong government organs and attacking its offices.Violators are barred from seeking or holding public office for an unspecified period.Gives Beijing power to prosecute “complex” cases relating to foreign influence or other “serious circumstances.”Allows closed trials in cases involving state secrets or other subjects “not fit for open trial.”Allows justice minister to opt out of jury trials in some cases.Grants immunity to Chinese agents performing duties in Hong Kong.Calls for stronger “management” of news agencies and foreign NGOs.

“It’s worse than I feared,” pro-democracy lawmaker Claudia Mo said early Wednesday. Mo cited provisions suggesting “that there could be secret or in-camera trials, Beijing agents here can enjoy immunity from everything, that if one is found guilty you could be chucked out of public office, that they will ‘strengthen management’ of foreign media in Hong Kong.”

Hong Kong: UK will honor passport promise to eligible residents

  Hong Kong: UK will honor passport promise to eligible residents The United Kingdom said Wednesday it would offer a path to citizenship for eligible Hong Kong residents and condemned China's new security law as a threat to the city's freedom.The United Kingdom said Wednesday it would offer a path to citizenship for eligible Hong Kong residents and condemned China's new security law as a threat to the city's freedom.

Hong Kong Girds for More Gridlock as China, Protesters Dig In © Bloomberg Hong Kong Girds for More Gridlock as China, Protesters Dig In

Demonstrators use metal bars to break a window at the Legislative Council building during a protest in Hong Kong on July 1, 2019.

Photographer: Justin Chin/Bloomberg

Hong Kong police were prepared to begin enforcing the law as soon as Wednesday, news outlet HK01 reported, citing an unidentified official. Waving independence flags or banners and shouting pro-independence slogans would be considered an offense under the law, HK01 said.

President Donald Trump warned last month that if Beijing didn’t back down the U.S. would start rolling back Hong Kong’s preferential trade status, while the U.K. and Taiwan have offered new paths to residency for the city’s 7.5 million inhabitants.

On Monday, the Trump administration made it harder to export sensitive American technology to Hong Kong, suspending regulations allowing special treatment to the territory over dual-use technologies like carbon fiber used to make both golf clubs and missile components. And on Tuesday the Federal Communications Commission designated Huawei Technologies Co. and ZTE Corp. as national security threats, a step toward driving the Chinese manufacturers from the U.S. market where small rural carriers rely on their cheap network equipment.

China-Sanctions Bill on Hong Kong Law Passed by U.S. House

  China-Sanctions Bill on Hong Kong Law Passed by U.S. House The U.S. House of Representatives passed by unanimous consent a bill imposing sanctions on banks that do business with Chinese officials involved in cracking down on pro-democracy protesters in Hong Kong. © Bloomberg A demonstrator kneels on the ground as he is arrested by riot police during a protest in Hong Kong, China, on Wednesday, July 1, 2020. China described Hong Kong's new security law as a "sword of Damocles" hanging over its most strident critics, after Beijing asserted broad new powers to rein in sources of opposition, from pro-democracy protesters to news agencies to overseas dissidents.

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian said no country had the right to interfere in Hong Kong’s affairs, threatening “necessary retaliatory measures” against the U.S. “The U.S. wants to use the so-called sanctions to obstruct China’s legislative process to safeguard national security in Hong Kong. Such an attempt stands no chance of succeeding,” Zhao said.

For more on Hong Kong unrest:
U.S. Halts Some Hong Kong Trade Benefits Over China LawWhat Are the New Laws China Is Pushing for Hong Kong?: QuickTakeHong Kong Stocks Unfazed After China Approves Security LawHong Kong Has Been Tested Before, But Never Like This

The law brings yet more uncertainty as Hong Kong faces its deepest recession on record after last year’s protests and the global pandemic. Unemployment has risen to a 15-year high, while investors are putting money elsewhere. Some expatriates and Hong Kong residents have said they’re considering leaving the city.

Hong Kong’s freedoms have become increasingly tenuous as Xi grows more confident in China’s ability to withstand foreign pressure and Hong Kong protesters embrace more radical positions such as independence. Beijing’s steady moves to integrate the city boiled over into historic and sometimes violent protests last year, after Lam attempted to pass a bill allowing extraditions to the mainland.

Chinese officials have said the security law is necessary to ensure peace following last year’s chaos, which included vandalism of subway stations, regular use of Molotov cocktails and a brief occupation of Hong Kong’s international airport.

Taiwan advises its residents not to go to Hong Kong or to China

 Taiwan advises its residents not to go to Hong Kong or to China HONG-KONG-EVENTS-TAIWAN: Taiwan advises its residents not to go to Hong Kong or to China © Reuters / JAMES POMFRET TAIWAN RECOMMENDS ITS INHABITANTS TO GO TO HONG KONG OR CHINA TAIPEH (Reuters) - The Taiwanese authorities on Thursday advised their fellow citizens not to go or transit through Hong Kong but also Macao and mainland China following the promulgation of the law on security came into effect in the former British colony.

“Beijing is determined to signal strength and resolve even when doing so might harm China’s economic and reputational interests in the U.S., Europe and now India,” said Rush Doshi, director of the Brookings China Strategy Initiative. “This approach, however, clearly reduces the space for bargaining with others.”

Surveys show a majority of Hong Kong residents oppose the law. The American Chamber of Commerce in Hong Kong said more than 80% of the companies it surveyed were concerned or very concerned about the legislation -- although some companies have begun to endorse the law after HSBC Holdings Plc came under pressure for remaining silent and backed it.

China didn’t publish the full draft law before its passage or allow a public debate, which is required under the Basic Law, Hong Kong’s mini-constitution. The process also bypassed Hong Kong’s elected Legislative Council.

The new law goes further toward revising the “one country, two systems” framework designed to protect Hong Kong’s liberal institutions and Common Law legal system. The legislation will let Chinese security agents operate in Hong Kong, allow China to prosecute some cases and give Lam the power to pick judges to hear national security matters.

“Laws that would have fundamental differences to our way of life have been passed thousands of miles away by people we know nothing about, with contents of this legislation which we know nothing about,” pro-democracy lawmaker Dennis Kwok said at an evening briefing. “That’s no way to treat a civilized, educated international city such as Hong Kong, but this is it. The way they’ve done it is the most ruthless, undignified assault on the freedom, human rights and the rule of law of Hong Kong.”

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©2020 Bloomberg L.P.

Senate passes sanctions bill targeting China over Hong Kong law .
The Senate passed legislation on Thursday to slap sanctions on Chinese officials who restrict Hong Kong's autonomy. The legislation, which is now headed to President Trump's desk, would impose penalties on individuals who infringe on Hong Kong's semi-independence from China, as well as the banks who do business with them. "All of the prosperity and the elevation of human dignity that comes from human freedom and Democratic values from one model, that is the model that is up against the dark shadows of the authoritarian governments that are constantly pushing to systemically erode, corrode and warp the values and freedoms that we cherish. ...

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