The citizens of Hong Kong have been protesting for well over a year, to prevent the Chinese government from assuming more control over their governance.
The history of Hong Kong, a city that was ruled under the ‘one country two governments’ system for several decades, has been rewritten by the Chinese Communist Party on 30th June with the Hong Kong security law. The mainland government has passed a rather arbitrary set of laws that is being called “the end of Hong Kong” by international critics.
The Hong Kong “security” law has a set of 66 articles that criminalize any acts of breaking away from the country, collusion with foreign elements, undermining the government’s authority, and committing any acts of violence. These acts will be punished with severe punishment, the worst one being a lifelong prison sentence.
While the acts that the law claims to be preventing may depict that the law is a necessity, the actual wording of the legislature is arbitrary and experts even claim that some articles are compromising the freedom of speech of the citizens of Hong Kong.
A good example of the same is the article 55 of the law. It states that security operatives from mainland China have the authority and the right to investigate Hong Kong’s criminal cases that may be considered “complex”, “serious”, or “difficult”.
International journalists and critics argue that these terms are highly subjective in nature, and can be molded to suit the agenda of the Chinese government.
The law has many other similar provisions that will allow the mainland Chinese government unchecked control over the governance of the city of Hong Kong.
The law has provisions that allow for trials to be held in secret and without a jury. It also empowers Hong Kong’s Chief Executive, who reports directly to Beijing, to handpick judges for various trials. If that’s not enough, the law also makes provisions for hand over of entire cases to the mainland government.
Donald Clark, a blogger that has been focussing on Chinese issues for many years, recently wrote, “If you’ve ever said anything that might offend the PRC (People’s Republic of China) or Hong Kong authorities, stay out of Hong Kong”.
As world governments and critics warn against this law, the Chinese government has slammed their criticism. Zhang Xiaoming of the Hong Kong and Macao Affairs Office of the State Council, recently said to such critics and governments “It’s none of your business”.
Even as this happens, other nations are extending a hand of help towards the citizens of Hong Kong. In the spirit of the same, the United Kingdom has extended an offer of citizenship to almost three million Hong Kong residents.
Currently, Hong Kong citizens are only provided visa free access to the country. However, now, they can visit the UK for five years and in the sixth year, apply to become a citizen of the UK. During this five year period, visitors from Hong Kong will have the right to study and hold a job in the kingdom.
The UK government has been known to publicly oppose this law and has been pressuring the Chinese government to roll it back. Since that isn’t happening, the kingdom has found another way to help Hong Kong citizens that are recognised as British Overseas Citizens.