China’s National People’s Congress (NPC) has ordered a new law to be written, taking away from the autonomy of Hong Kong. Following this order, a National Security Law will be imposed on Hong Kong, seriously damaging the freedom of its people and jeopardizing the semi-autonomous status the country has hitherto had, since its return to Chinese governance in 1997.
The law was passed on the 28th of May and has since attracted the criticism of Britain, the United States, Australia, Canada and the EU. Subsequently, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson and U.S. President Donald Trump conceded that this move would undermine Hong Kong’s autonomy; Trump had already alluded that the new legislation could result in the conclusion of Hong Kong’s special trading status with the USA.
Human Rights organizations focused on China have observed that the new national security law will deal a severe blow to the rights of the people in Hong Kong, and that arrests and harsh sentences can be expected for acts such as protesting, speaking out, and running for office.
Commenting on the legislation in place, China stated that it was intended to manage “splittist, subversion of state power, terrorism or interference by foreign countries or outside influences in Hong Kong.”
The plan for the national security law was approved with 2,878 votes for, one against and six abstentions. This will be drafted in the months to follow.
Following this invasion of Hong Kong’s autonomy, neighbouring Taiwan, after proceeding to condemn the law also declared that it would welcome refuge-seeking people of Hong Kong. Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen said that her government has a special project in place to provide financial support and aid for those seeking to procure residency rights, homes, and employment. Japan joined in the solidarity and proclaimed that it too would join forces with the other allies to address the situation.
China stated that it is drafting the national security law for Hong Kong which will cover acts of secession, subversion of state power, organizing and carrying out terrorist activities, and activities that interfere with internal affairs of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR).