An hour before the 23rd anniversary of Hong Kong’s transfer from Britain to China, the Dragon rolled out an all-encompassing National Security Law for the island city to clamp down on voices of dissent and pro-democracy movement which had grabbed international headlines.
The ‘Law of the People’s Republic of China on Safeguarding National Security in the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region’ came into effect after being unanimously passed by the Chinese parliament. The law gives sweeping powers to Beijing in Hong Kong has come in from sharp criticism from the United States and UK. India too is keeping a close watch on the developments in Hong Kong.
As per the new law, Secession, Subversion, Terrorist Activities and Collusion with a Foreign Country or with External Elements to Endanger National Security, have been classified as offences. All offences can now invite life imprisonment as the maximum punishment. penalties.
While collusion includes as an offence “provoking by unlawful means hatred among Hong Kong residents” towards Beijing or city government, terrorism includes “sabotage of means of transport, transport facilities, electric power or gas facilities, or other combustible or explosible facilities” and “attacking or damaging the premises and facilities” of Hong Kong city government. The law also paves the way for prosecution of people who are not residents of Hong Kong for committing an offence under the law outside Hong Kong.
Dubbing the law as “draconian”, the United States House of Representatives approved Hong Kong-based sanctions, penalising banks who engage in business with Chinese officials. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said, “The law is a brutal, sweeping crackdown against the people of Hong Kong, intended to destroy the freedoms they were promised.”
The U.S. Congress has long been united in a bipartisan mission to hold Beijing accountable for its human rights abuses. The Hong Kong Autonomy Act, passed by the House today, is an urgently-needed response to China’s so-called “national security” law. https://t.co/VvWIPMvG2A
— Nancy Pelosi (@SpeakerPelosi) July 2, 2020
US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo too said the law ends free Hong Kong and exposes the true face of China.
The CCP’s draconian national security law ends free Hong Kong and exposes the Party’s greatest fear: the free will and free thinking of its own people.
— Secretary Pompeo (@SecPompeo) June 30, 2020
The United Kingdom too has reacted strongly with British Prime Minister Boris Johnson describing the law as a “serious and clear breach” of the 1985 “Sino-British Joint Declaration”. In response to this new law, UK has decided to offer millions of Hong Kong residents citizenship.
Visibly concerned, Australia too is “actively considering” offering citizenship to Hong Kong residents and Prime Minister Scott Morrison said it would soon be discussed in the Cabinet.
Today I updated the House on the grave and disturbing situation in Hong Kong. We will continue to bring together our international partners to stand up for the people of Hong Kong, to call out the violation of their freedoms, and to hold China to their international obligations. pic.twitter.com/Yj27b8aAfO
— Dominic Raab (@DominicRaab) July 1, 2020
China-supported Global Times however put out a series of tweets to say how the development was being deliberately seen through a coloured lens by the West whereas the ground reality was absolutely different.
— Global Times (@globaltimesnews) July 1, 2020
Should the majority of Hongkongers be worried that their individual rights & freedom might be eroded by the law? Is it really the death sentence to Hong Kong and would it risk turning the city into a police state? Here are some false claims and solid facts https://t.co/d9t67L1HVY pic.twitter.com/bpyrGTEO8k
— Global Times (@globaltimesnews) July 2, 2020
With around 38,000 Indians residing in Hong Kong, India while speaking out at the United Nations said that it is keeping a “close watch”. India’s ambassador and permanent representative to the UN Rajiv Chander said, “Given the large Indian community that makes the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region of China its home, India has been keeping a close watch on recent developments. We have heard several statements expressing concerns about these developments. We hope the relevant parties will take into account these views and address them properly, seriously and objectively.”
#WATCH | Given the large Indian community that makes #HongKong its home, India has been keeping a close watch on recent developments… : Rajiv K Chander, #India‘s ambassador & permanent representative to the UN in Geneva pic.twitter.com/HDAOsMi7XG
— NewsMobile (@NewsMobileIndia) July 1, 2020
Will the global condenmnation cut ice with China?
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