A man strolls through Hong Kong Bay, a day after the Chinese government released the National Security law it plans for the cityISAAC LAWRENCE / .
Hong Kong holds its breath before next week the Chinese Legislative, bypassing the autonomous parliament, impose on it a controversial National Security law that will prevent any “separatist” or “terrorist” activity, the “subversion of state powers ”And the“ interference of foreign powers. ”For many in this territory, they fear that these rules could mortally injure the principle of“ one country, two systems ”, which guarantees this international financial center liberties that do not exist in mainland China and that should govern until 2047.
Throughout the day, small acts of protest have taken place in some Hong Kong shopping malls, where several dozen people have gathered to chant slogans and sing “Glory to Hong Kong”, the anthem of the protests against Beijing and the Government autonomous who paralyzed the city last year. A larger mobilization is being prepared for this Sunday: a joint communiqué from various groups of protesters invited both peaceful participants and “brave ones” to take part in a protest, the radicals who in the protests last year clashed with the Police . At a press conference broadcast on Facebook, a group of activists under the name Citizens’ Press Conference claimed that “under this decree, Hong Kong will be a piece of burned land.”
In a statement, 380 district councilors – the lowest level of government in Hong Kong, but where the pan-democratic opposition dominates 17 of the 18 districts, after a resounding victory in the municipal elections last November – declared themselves ready to resist the new measures, which they believe will “lead Hong Kong into the abyss.”
The bill will be examined this Monday and Tuesday within the National People’s Congress (ANP) and on Thursday the 3,000 delegates of this body will put it to a vote, without any doubt that it will be approved. The measure will be registered in an annex to the Basic Law, the Hong Kong mini-constitution.
One of the issues that has raised the most concern among pan-democratic camp politicians, protesters and their supporters, is that the law opens a way for Chinese intelligence services to officially begin operating in Hong Kong. According to critics, this step can lead to arbitrary arrests, that those arrested remain in the custody of the authorities indefinitely, and even torture. The new law “makes the principle of one country, two systems remain mere talk and Hong Kong’s freedoms disappear,” say pan-democratic councilors.
With this move, China – which watched in fury as last year’s protests morphed into peaceful marches to demand the withdrawal of an extradition bill in often violent protests against its control and self-government – seeks to prevent any activity that consider “separatist”, “terrorist”, “subversion against the powers of the State” or “foreign interference”. Four categories that he repeatedly applied to the 2019 protests.
In statements to the People’s Advisory Council, a body that advises the Legislature and also holds its meetings this week at the Great Hall of the People, Deputy Prime Minister Han Zheng, responsible for Hong Kong affairs within the Chinese government, has stated that the The measure will only be directed against “a small group of people who harm national security.” According to Han, quoted by the South China Morning Post, the future law will clean up the environment for doing business and help protect the property and physical integrity of citizens.
The autonomous government headed by Carrie Lam has promised to support Beijing in defending national security. Former local chief executive Leung Chung-ying has defended the new law and the possibility of creating a special secret police force, speaking to .. “Singapore has a secret police. We do not. The United States has all kinds of bodies whose mission is to defend national security against possible threats. We do not. So it is not surprising that, as part of the efforts to fill the legal vacuum regarding national security, we have to establish that type of body, ”he said.
The position of the United Kingdom
The former Hong Kong governor during his time as a British colony, Chris Patten, has accused the Chinese Government of betraying the people of that territory and has stated that the United Kingdom has a moral, legal and economic obligation to defend it. “The West must stop prostrating itself before Beijing in exchange for an illusory pile of gold,” the politician who last saw the United Kingdom flag drop in the colony in 1997, when London returned the territory to China, told The Times newspaper. after more than 150 years in office, Rafa de Miguel reports.
So far, the British Government has decided to express its protest against the tightening of Chinese laws in Hong Kong, which seek to curb the democratic movement of its inhabitants, in conjunction with other Commonwealth (Commonwealth of Nations) nations. In a text announced at the same time by the foreign ministers of Australia and Canada this Friday, the “deep concern” of these countries for the Chinese government movement is expressed: “Approve these laws on behalf of Hong Kong without the direct participation of neither its citizens nor its legislative or judicial powers go directly against the principle “one country, two systems” under which Hong Kong was guaranteed a high degree of autonomy “.