China’s plans for a new security law in Hong Kong have put thousands of people on the streets. They are resisting the interference with the city’s autonomy.
China’s plans to enact its own security laws for Hong Kong have sparked new protests in the Chinese Special Administrative Region. A large contingent of security forces attacked thousands of protesters with tear gas in the main shopping district of Causeway Bay on Sunday. According to local media reports, there were also arrests. Some demonstrators held banners saying, among other things, “Heaven will destroy the Chinese Communist Party”. There were also calls for independence.
The police had warned in advance that demonstrations would be broken up as illegal gatherings. Because of the Corona pandemic, the densely populated Asian economic and financial metropolis is also subject to distance rules that allow groups of no more than eight people. In anticipation of possible protests, the police had also mobilized water cannons.
The new demonstrations were sparked by the Chinese leadership’s plans to enact their own laws to protect national security in Hong Kong. The Chinese People’s Congress, which has been in session since Friday, is expected to adopt a resolution at the end of its plenary session on Thursday, giving the Standing Committee of the Parliament a mandate to enact such a law, to be annexed to the Hong Kong Basic Law. This would allow the People’s Congress to bypass the Hong Kong Parliament.
The law targets activities that are considered subversive or could aim at independence. It also opposes foreign interference. “If necessary” Chinese security forces should be stationed and deployed in Hong Kong. The plan met with fierce criticism in Hong Kong and internationally. It is seen as a massive interference in the autonomy of the former British crown colony.
The last British governor Chris Patten accused China of treason. “What we see is a new Chinese dictatorship,” Patten told The Times. “I think the people of Hong Kong have been betrayed by China. China is deceiving, it’s trying to twist things to its advantage.” Britain must stand up more and make it clear that China is destroying the joint declaration on Hong Kong deposited at the United Nations.
Since being returned to China in 1997, Hong Kong has been governed autonomously as a separate territory under Chinese sovereignty on the principle of “one country, two systems”. Since last summer, the metropolis has been experiencing week after week of demonstrations directed against its own government, police operations perceived as brutal, and the growing influence of Beijing.