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World China imposes sweeping national security law as Hong Kong marks handover anniversary

08:05  01 july  2020
08:05  01 july  2020 Source:   cnn.com

Hong Kong: Suspects arrested by Chinese agents possibly tried in China

 Hong Kong: Suspects arrested by Chinese agents possibly tried in China HONG-KONG-EVENTS-CHINA: Hong Kong: Suspects arrested by Chinese agents possibly tried in China © Reuters / THOMAS PETER HONG KONG: SUSPECTS ARRESTED BY CHINESE OFFICERS POSSIBLY JUDGED IN CHINA BEIJING / HONG KONG (Reuters) - Suspects arrested by Beijing's newly-established security office in Hong Kong could be tried in mainland China, a senior Chinese official said on Wednesday, which should feed concerns when a decried security law came into force in the territory.

Hong Kong was handed back to China from Britain in 1997, but under an agreement supposed to protect "With sweeping powers and ill-defined law , the city will turn into a secret police state Under the national security law , many of the acts of protest that have rocked Hong Kong over the

China plans to push through sweeping national security laws for Hong Kong at its annual meeting of parliament, in a move US State Department spokeswoman Morgan Ortagus warned that imposing such a law would be “highly destabilising, and would be met with strong condemnation from the

Hong Kong woke up to a new reality on Wednesday, after China's central government imposed a sweeping national security law late the night before that critics say has stripped the city of its autonomy and precious civil and social freedoms, and cements Beijing's authoritarian rule over the territory.

a group of people holding signs: Pro-democracy prostesters march during a rally against a new national security law in Hong Kong on July 1, 2020, on the 23rd anniversary of the city's handover from Britain to China. - China imposed a sweeping national security law on Hong Kong on June 30, a historic move that critics and many western governments fear will smother the finance hub's freedoms and hollow out its autonomy. (Photo by DALE DE LA REY / AFP) (Photo by DALE DE LA REY/AFP via Getty Images) © DALE DE LA REY/AFP/Getty Images Pro-democracy prostesters march during a rally against a new national security law in Hong Kong on July 1, 2020, on the 23rd anniversary of the city's handover from Britain to China. - China imposed a sweeping national security law on Hong Kong on June 30, a historic move that critics and many western governments fear will smother the finance hub's freedoms and hollow out its autonomy. (Photo by DALE DE LA REY / AFP) (Photo by DALE DE LA REY/AFP via Getty Images)

The law came into effect in Hong Kong in the lead-up to July 1 -- the 23rd anniversary of the handover of Hong Kong from British rule to China -- and dramatically broadens the powers of both local and mainland authorities to investigate, prosecute and punish dissenters.

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  Hong Kong Bans Protest Movement’s Rallying Cry for ‘Revolution’ The Hong Kong government has declared illegal a key slogan chanted by hundreds of thousands of protesters, in the latest sign that authorities plan to use a new Beijing-drafted national security law to enforce limits on free speech. require(["medianetNativeAdOnArticle"], function (medianetNativeAdOnArticle) { medianetNativeAdOnArticle.

Beijing has reportedly passed a wide-reaching national security law for Hong Kong , which many The passing of the law comes a day before July 1, the anniversary of Hong Kong 's handover from Chinese officials and state media have defended the law as vital to protecting national security in

HONG KONG (Reuters) - Beijing unveiled the national security law it is imposing on Hong Kong on Tuesday, punishing China ’s central government will exercise jurisdiction over the enforcement of the national security The law comes on the eve of the anniversary of Hong Kong ’s handover , when

Speaking after the annual flag raising ceremony on Wednesday, Hong Kong's top official, Chief Executive Carrie Lam, said the law is a "crucial step to ending chaos and violence that has occurred over the past few months" in the city.

"The national security law is the most important development in securing ties between China and the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region since the handover," she said, framing criticism of the law as "vicious attacks."

The stringent new legislation and its 66 articles were kept secret from the public until the law went into effect and appear to offer the government, courts, police and authorities a roadmap to quash any hint of the mass anti-government protests that rocked the city last year.

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  Democracy activists' books unavailable in Hong Kong libraries after new law Democracy activists' books unavailable in Hong Kong libraries after new lawThe sweeping legislation, which came into force on Tuesday night at the same time its contents were published, punishes crimes related to secession, subversion, terrorism and collusion with foreign forces, with punishments of up to life in prison.

New Security Law Gives China Sweeping Powers Over Hong Kong . The law , approved in Beijing A billboard promoting China ’s national security law in Hong Kong on Monday.Credit Lam Yik Fei It will impose harsh penalties on anyone who urges foreign countries to criticize or impose sanctions

A controversial national security law giving Beijing unprecedented powers over Hong Kong has gone into effect, according to Late on Tuesday, China unveiled the full details of a sweeping anti-sedition law after The 'real' handover : Hong Kong fears looming laws will end 'one country, two systems'.

In vague language, the law criminalizes secession, subversion, terrorism, and collusion with foreign powers. People who are convicted of such crimes can face sentences up to life in prison.

Activists have vowed to demonstrate against the law on Wednesday -- traditionally a day of protests in the city. For the first time since handover, however, police have not given permission to protesters to hold peaceful demonstrations.

Large red and yellow signs appeared on barges in the city's harbor reading: "To celebrate the national security law."

There was a heavy police presence across Hong Kong's central district and around the city's Legislative Council on Wednesday morning. The night before police commanders were told in a training session that anybody seen waving an independence flag or chanting for independence will be arrested, a police source said. In addition, the source said anybody searched and found to have independence flags in their possession will be arrested.

Hong Kong: Arrests under security law have started

 Hong Kong: Arrests under security law have started Some 370 people were arrested on Wednesday less than 24 hours after the text was promulgated © SOPA Images / SIPA / SIPA Police arrest protester in Hong Kong , July 1, 2020. REPRESSIONS - Some 370 people were arrested Wednesday less than 24 hours after the promulgation of the text Beijing will soon have been firm. Less than 24 hours after the national security law imposed on Hong Kong came into force, the police made the first arrests under the text.

HONG KONG — Beijing formally enacted security laws for Hong Kong on Tuesday, paving the way for one of the most profound changes to the governing Rogers lived in the territory during the British handover and said the national security law 's passage was "heartbreaking" and had "decimated"

Today marks 23 years of Chinese rule in Hong Kong . President Xi Jinping signed a landmark security law for the city to quell dissent. The legislation takes effect and promises secret trials, life imprisonment for some cases of state subversion and terrorism and has been described by the U.S. as draconian.

Nevertheless, a handful of protesters gathered in Wan Chai district, near to where the flag raising ceremony was held, and could be heard chanting "the people will never forget" and "smash the national security law."

Here are some of the key takeaways of the law:

  • The law establishes four new offenses of secession, subversion, terrorism, and collusion with foreign powers. The maximum penalty for each is life imprisonment.
  • The Chinese central government will establish its own law enforcement presence in Hong Kong, labeled the "Office for Safeguarding National Security."
  • A secretive national security committee for Hong Kong will also be established, comprised of Hong Kong government officials and an adviser appointed by the Chinese central government. According to a summary published by the Hong Kong government, this group's work "shall not be disclosed to the public," and "decisions by the Committee shall not be amenable to judicial review."
  • Activities such as damaging public transport and public services "in order to pursue political agenda" can be considered terrorism -- a provision that appears to target protesters who last year disrupted traffic and the city's infrastructure.
  • A terrorism charge can also include the vaguely worded provision of "other dangerous activities which seriously jeopardize public health, safety or security."
  • The law targets perceived foreign interference in Hong Kong. Throughout the protests, the Chinese government blamed "foreign forces" for interfering in the city's affairs. The law states that anyone who "steals, spies, obtains with payment, or unlawfully provides state secrets or intelligence" to a foreign country, institution, organization or individual will be guilty of an offense under collusion with foreign powers.
  • The law also makes it an offense for people to call on a foreign country, institution, organization or individual to impose sanctions or blockades on Hong Kong. The US said it would impose visa restrictions on current and former Chinese officials over Hong Kong.
  • Working with a foreign government, institution, organization or individual to incite hatred against the Hong Kong or Chinese Central government is now a offense.
  • The law can also be applied to non-permanent residents in Hong Kong and those who are in violation of the law will be deported, regardless of conviction. It also applies to non residents overseas who violate the national security law while abroad. This raises the prospect of foreign nationals being charged for suspected crimes committed while overseas should they visit the territory.
  • Those convicted of a national security crime in court cannot stand for elections or hold public office.
  • Hong Kong's Chief Executive now has the power to appoint judges to handle cases related to national security. National security cases involving state secrets can be tried without a jury.
  • Hong Kong courts will oversee national security cases but Beijing can take over prosecution in certain circumstances, applying Chinese law and prosecution standards.
  • However the law does not make clear whether the cases Beijing rules on can be held in the mainland. The anti-government protests last year were sparked over a proposed law that would allow extradition to mainland China.
  • Trials will be held in an open court but when the case involves "state secrets or public order" it can be moved behind closed doors.
  • A new national security unit will be set up in the Hong Kong Police Force that will have the power to search properties, intercept information and perform covert surveillance without a warrant. It can also recruit members from outside of Hong Kong -- potentially allowing mainland officers to operate in the city.
  • The law also directs the Hong Kong government, along with the new commission, to strengthen its management over foreign news agencies and non-government organizations.
  • Ultimately, the national security law trumps local laws: the new legislation states that if there is a conflict with existing Hong Kong law, the national security law will prevail.
a group of people posing for a picture: Hong Kong's Chief Executive Carrie Lam following a flag-raising ceremony to mark the handover on July 1, 2020. © ANTHONY WALLACE/AFP/AFP via Getty Images Hong Kong's Chief Executive Carrie Lam following a flag-raising ceremony to mark the handover on July 1, 2020.

Reactions

The legislation has been widely criticized by opposition lawmakers in Hong Kong, human rights groups and politicians worldwide. Many worry it will be used to target political dissidents, activists, human rights lawyers and journalists amid the central government's continuing crackdown on civil society under Chinese President Xi Jinping.

Senate approves final sanctions bill to punish China over Hong Kong

  Senate approves final sanctions bill to punish China over Hong Kong The US Senate has approved a final version of legislation that would punish China for moves that lawmakers fear will crush democratic freedoms in Hong Kong. © ANTHONY WALLACE/AFP/Getty Images Attendees from various forces stand next to a banner supporting the new national security law during a flag-raising ceremony to mark China's National Day celebrations early morning in Hong Kong on July 1, 2020.

A billboard promoting China ’s national security law in Hong Kong on Monday. Some critics said the law was a potentially fatal blow to the “One Country, Two Chinese officials and policy advisers have described the security law as part of a “second return” for Hong Kong , one, they suggest, that will

Beijing Unanimously Passes Hong Kong 's Feared National Security Law . On the international front, Hong Kong ’s pro-Beijing Chief Executive Carrie Lam, who over the course of Under the handover agreement, Hong Kong was meant to enjoy 50 years of a “high degree of autonomy” under the “one

Opponents of the law say it marks the end of the "one country, two systems" -- a principle by which Hong Kong has retained limited democracy and civil liberties since coming under Chinese control.

Crucially, those freedoms include the right to assembly, a free press, and an independent judiciary, rights that are not enjoyed on the Chinese mainland.

Jimmy Lai, a Hong Kong media tycoon known for his outspoken support of the city's pro-democracy movement, said the law "spells a death knell to Hong Kong because it supersedes our law and our rule of law."

Rights group Amnesty International said the legislation "represents the greatest threat to human rights in the city's recent history."

"The speed and secrecy with which China has pushed through this legislation intensifies the fear that Beijing has calculatingly created a weapon of repression to be used against government critics, including people who are merely expressing their views or protesting peacefully," said the head of Amnesty International's China Team, Joshua Rosenzweig.

United States Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said it was a "sad day for Hong Kong, and for freedom-loving people across China" with the imposition of the national security legislation in Hong Kong.

He said the law "destroys the territory's autonomy and one of China's greatest achievements."

China says could respond further to Canada halting extradition with Hong Kong .
China says could respond further to Canada halting extradition with Hong KongChinese foreign ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian made the remarks during a daily briefing.

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