Canada, Australia, and the United Kingdom recently suspended its extradition treaty with Hong Kong and promised to provide a safe haven for Hong Kongers. The United States Senate also unanimously passed a bill to protect human rights in Hong Kong. This Bill will punish businesses and people that back China’s effort to control financial hub city.
This all come days after China passed a new national security law to control Hong Kong amid the huge protests in the city.
Since February 2019, Hong Kong has witnessed several deadly clashes with security forces on the streets. City police have been cracking down against the people’s gathering and those are chanting the pro-democracy slogans. Hundreds of the demonstrators have been arrested and numbers of pro-democracy leaders have been forced to leave the city since the new national security law came into force.
The critics believe that China will treat Hong Kong as its motherland territory where there will be no freedom of expression and no freedom of the press. China’s new security law will not only dilute the city’s democratic ethos and values but also erode the city’s judiciary system.
So Let’s take a look over China’s controversial new national security law and know what is this law about?
China has been trying to restrictions on Hong Kong by imposing tough national security laws over the past few years. But it could never pass due to huge deadly protests by demonstrators in Hong Kong. It has also been opposed by the US and European countries. But China finally passed National Security Law on 1 July without even discuss with people of Hong Kong that will allow mainland China’s state security agencies to operate the city.
The controversial law includes four main offences: secession, subversion, terrorism, and collusion with foreign forces to endanger national security.
Secession: If any individual or any group planning and trying to change the status of China or involving in the separation of any part of the country, will be punished by the Chinese government.
Subversion: Under this offence people could get life imprisonment for undermining the power of the central government and damaging government buildings or properties.
Collusion: Working with any foreign country or with external elements will be a serious offence under this law. The Chinese authorities will consider any collusion with any foreign force as a threat to national security.
Terrorism: Chanting against the Chinese government and gathering for the purpose of violence will be considered as a terrorist act.
In 1842, China ceded Hong Kong during the First Opium War.
In 1898, China gave Hong Kong to Britain on lease for 99 years.
In 1984, Britain signed an agreement to return Hong Kong to China in 1997 with creating with the formulation of ‘One Country Two System’ policy.
In 1997, Hong Kong handed over to China by Britain.
The international community calls it a handover and withdrawal agreement while the people of China call it integration. However, the 150-year-old British rule ended from Hong Kong on 30 June 1997.
A Timeline of Hong Kong Protest
2003: The first ray of spark for the city’s reforms emerged in 2003 when thousands of people took to the streets against Artice 23. This law says the city must enact national security legislation to prohibit treason and secession against the Chinese government.
2014: Hong Kong witnessed the largest pro-democracy rally in a decade after China ruled out that they will decide the candidate in the upcoming city’s parliament elections.
2016: A massive pro-democracy rally conducted in central Hong Kong against China’s intervention in the city’s electoral system.
2019: Last year pro-democracy leaders, activists, students, journalists, social workers, and thousands of people took to the streets after the Hong Kong government announced that criminal suspects of the city will be extradited to mainland China for trial in courts. This resulted in huge violence across Hong Kong and thousands of anti-government protesters taken to custody. But this protest posed directly challenge to their political masters in Beijing
The communist nation of China doesn’t allow any kind of protest under its territory. Beijing believes gathering against the government and chanting slogans like ‘Liberated Hong Kong’ and ‘Revolution for our times’ cannot be allowed in any part of the country.
China may have promised to protect Hong Kong’s rights and people’s freedom, but Beijing leadership never accepted wholeheartedly, as it goes against their communist ideology. China wants any governor or whoever is ruling Hong Kong must be loyal with their party and the central government of China. But this is not acceptable for Hong Kongers, especially young leaders who want one person one vote system to elect their future governor. And therefore Beijing has clearly been frustrated by the demonstrators.
1. Extradition bill to be withdrawn.
2. There should be a fair investigation of the violent and barbaric behavior of the police, the culprits should be punished.
3. The protesters should not be labeled rioters and all charges against them should be withdrawn.
4. The electoral hierarchy of the Legislature Council and the Chief Executive will be arranged.
China’s tough law is really scary and it will take Hong Kong in a new direction in coming years. It would not only effectively curb protests and freedom of expression but it will also impact on city’s economic growth.
Meanwhile, many foreign tech giants, including Google and Facebook are planning to leave the city amid the fear of new security law. Hong Kong will also lose its special economic status by major foreign economies as China wants to control the city. Recently, Donald Trump issued an order to end Hong Kong’s special status with the US.
The political and economic future of Hong Kong will also remain certain under this law.