China Approves Hong Kong National Security Bill
China’s parliament approved policies Thursday to inflict a security law on Hong Kong that has ratcheted up stresses with the US and sparked new protests over concerns the town is losing its exclusive rights.
The vote by the National People’s Congress (NPC) pushed the US and Britain to summon for the United Nations Security Council to engage informally on Friday to address the issue.
And it came hours after Washington withdrew the special status given on Hong Kong, covering the way for the region to be removed of trading and economic privileges. US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo declared that the status had been reversed because China was not acknowledging its handover arrangement with Britain to allow Hong Kong a great sovereignty level.
China made the security law a superiority at its yearly NPC concourse after massive pro-democracy protests shook the financial hub for seven months last year.
The law would punish retraction, the overthrow of state power, terrorism, and acts that jeopardize national security and concede mainland security bureaus to work openly in Hong Kong.
Delegates supported plans for the law with a nearly unanimous vote and passionate ovation.
Li Zhanshu — the chairman of the NPC committee which can now draft the law — said the move was “in line with the elemental interests of all Chinese people, including Hong Kong compatriots.”
Hong Kong’s embattled chief, Carrie Lam, said she greeted the resolution being carried.
As required within the resolution, Lam said she would present regular reports to Beijing and “step up implementation and public schooling for safeguarding national security.”
But the law has faced intense critique.
The US tried on Wednesday to call for a formal meeting of the Security Council to discuss the move but was blocked by China.
It joined forces with Britain a day later to try again, this time calling for an informal, closed-door videoconference of the Security Council in a format that allows any member to promote different issues and which China cannot, in principle, oppose.
The meeting is set to go ahead Friday morning; diplomats told AFP.- US action -Under a US law passed last year aimed at supporting Hong Kong’s pro-democracy movement, Washington must certify that Hong Kong still enjoys the guarantees of freedom made by Beijing when it negotiated with Britain to require back the colony.
But Beijing’s proposed security law “lies in direct conflict” with those commitments and put China in violation of its international obligations, the US and Britain said during a joint statement with allies Canada and Australia on Thursday.
A day earlier, Washington signaled that the town could lose its trading privileges — including lower tariffs than the mainland — with the world’s largest economy.
President Donald Trump said he would be announcing “what we’re doing concerning China” at a press conference on Friday, saying he was “not happy” with Beijing but giving no specific details.
David Stilwell, the top State Department official for East Asia, stressed that the United States did not want to hurt the people of Hong Kong, adding: “This decision was made by the govt in Beijing, and not by the US.
“China’s foreign ministry office within the financial center stated Thursday that the US withdrawing Hong Kong’s special status was “the most brutal, the foremost unreasonable and hence the most shameless.”
Washington’s move came after fresh protests broke call at Hong Kong on Wednesday over another controversial proposed rule that criminalizes insults to the anthem.
Police fired pepper ball rounds at protesters and arrested quite 300 people, mostly for unlawful assembly.
“But a spokesperson from Beijing’s liaison office in Hong Kong declared a warning to the radicals “not to engage with fire,” in remarks defending the security law provided by state news bureau Xinhua.
Under the “one country, two systems” principle recognized before it’s returned from Britain to China, Hong Kong is proposed to be guaranteed liberties until 2047 that is refused to those on the region.
The mini-constitution that has ruled Hong Kong’s activities since the handover requires the territory’s executives to determine national security laws.
But an attempt to try to so in 2003 was shelved after massive protests by Hong Kongers.