Beijing, June 30: China has passed the controversial national security law for Hong Kong. This has raised fears that the law could be used to override existing legal processes and also erode the city’s civil and political freedom.
The National People’s Congress, Beijing’s top law making body passed the law unanimously on Tuesday morning, bypassing Hong Kong’s legislature.
China’s state run Xinhua had earlier reported that the law would criminalise offences such as secession, subversion agains the central Chinese government, terrorism and colluding with foreign forces.
Reports say that the possible maximum sentencing for crimes under the law will be much higher than 10 years imprisonment. The passing of the law comes a day before July 1, the anniversary of Hong Kong’s handover from British colonial rule to China in 1997. For the first time since the handover the police this time have not given permission to protesters to hold peaceful demonstrations.
The legislation has been heavily criticised by the opposition lawmakers in Hong Kong, human rights groups and politicians worldwide. They said that this law would cement China’s direct control over the semi-auto city. Many also worry that the law could be used to target political dissidents. This is a fear that stems from China’s judicial track record.
RTHK reported that the national security law will be applied to the SAR via promulgation after the SAR authorities include the relevant national security law into Annex III of the basic law.
This means that it is not legitimate to set up of mainland security agencies in Hong Kong as well as a committee to appoint judges to deal with relevant national security cases.