Critics fear an end to freedoms in Hong Kong. Massive resistance is forming against China’s plans for controversial security laws.
The Chinese plan to enact its own security laws for Hong Kong has met with harsh criticism in China’s Special Administrative Region and worldwide. The pro-democracy forces in the Asian economic metropolis called on Saturday for the seven million inhabitants to oppose the plans.
US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo spoke in Washington of a “knell for autonomy”, with Beijing “unilaterally and arbitrarily imposing national security legislation in Hong Kong”. The EU also distanced itself clearly from the plan.
International human rights groups said that enacting the laws would be “the end of the one-country, two-system agreement” under which the former British crown colony has been governed autonomously since its return to China in 1997. Freedom House, the US organization that promotes human rights and democracy worldwide, warned that such security laws would pose a threat to democracy supporters, activists, journalists, and members of religious groups and minorities persecuted in the People’s Republic.
China’s government had presented a decision at the annual session of the People’s Congress in Beijing, which began on Friday, to give it’s Standing Committee a mandate to enact a law to protect national security in Hong Kong. It is aimed at activities that are classified as subversive or could aim at independence. The law is also directed against foreign interference. It even provides that Chinese security bodies may establish field offices in Hong Kong “if necessary”.