China’s proposed security laws could subvert the remaining freedoms of Hong Kong for which citizens protested massively and violently for 7 months.
Beijing: A proposal to establish new Hong Kong security law was submitted to China’s rubber-stamp on Friday, state media said, a move expected to provoke fresh protests in the semi-autonomous financial hub.
Officials in Beijing said the National People’s Congress, China’s legislature, would evaluate a plan to establish new laws and an enforcement mechanism for maintaining national security in the special administrative region.
The statement provided no details but signalled that the new law would allow China’s central government more constitutional justification to directly counter to the large anti-Beijing protests that upended Hong Kong for much of the past year.
The proposal has been condemned by the United States and Hong Kong pro-democracy figures as an assault on the city’s freedoms.
It was tabled on the opening day of the week-long National People’s Congress, Xinhua news agency said.
The move sends the message that expression of political dissent or freedom of speech in Hong Kong is now at higher risk than ever, endangering a press that has operated largely unfettered by political restrictions.
The action could spur China’s worsening relations with the United States, which has long criticized China over the erosion of Hong Kong’s autonomy.
Beijing authorities are already defending themselves from claims of negligence and cover-up in the early stages of the COVID-19 outbreak, which is considered to have emerged in Wuhan late last year.
Hong Kong witnessed seven months of massive and sometimes violent protests last year against Beijing’s growing control.