Trudeau says he is concerned by China’s Hong Kong security law

Trudeau says he is concerned by China’s Hong Kong security law

"The United States strongly urges Beijing to reconsider its disastrous proposal, abide by its global obligations, and respect Hong Kong's high degree of autonomy, democratic institutions and civil liberties, which are key to preserving its special status under U.S. law", Pompeo said in a statement.

It is also a way for China to send a message to the USA, which is debating whether to continue granting Hong Kong special trade status under the Hong Kong Human Rights and Democracy Act, passed past year to pressure Beijing into respecting the city's rights.

"If China is so stupid as to believe that they can do away with Hong Kong and they don't need an worldwide financial center, then of course there's nothing which one could do to dissuade them to do otherwise", he said.

He added: "Any effort to impose national security legislation that does not reflect the will of the people of Hong Kong would be highly destabilizing, and would be met with strong condemnation from the United States and the global community".

They will not affect the legitimate rights and freedoms enjoyed by Hong Kong residents under the law, they added, calling on all Hong Kong residents to support the legislation. Police took down their information and issued penalty tickets as they said they breached Hong Kong's ban on gatherings of more than eight people, a restriction induced to contain the virus, local outlet Apple Daily reported.

Pro-democracy activists fear that China pushing through the law could mean "the end of Hong Kong" - that is, the effective end of its autonomy and these freedoms.

"It is the beginning of direct rule by Beijing, sidelining the authority of the Hong Kong government and the legislative council as designated by the basic law", said Prof Ho-Fung Hung, a lecturer in political economy at Johns Hopkins University in the US.

Martin Lee, considered the grandfather of Hong Kong's democracy movement, made a similar point to the Heritage Foundation, warning that Beijing could renege on Trump's cherished trade agreement.

That article says Hong Kong "must improve" national security, before adding: "When needed, relevant national security organs of the Central People's Government will set up agencies in Hong Kong to fulfil relevant duties to safeguard national security in accordance with the law".

"Treason, sedition and subversion" are all open to a very wide interpretation.

Riot police stand guard near a group of pro-democracy protesters in Hong Kong who are stopped for breaking restrictions on social distancing during the coronavirus pandemic

Opposition legislator Dennis Kwok also warned reporters yesterday that the law would be the "end of one country, two systems". Up to now, the worst charge most arrested protesters have faced has been for rioting. That too could encompass wide-ranging acts and activities that the authoritarian rulers on the mainland consider far more menacing than those in Hong Kong, or for that matter elsewhere.

It will then be forwarded to the NPC's Standing Committee, China's top legislature, which is expected to finalise and enact the law by the end of June.

The United States cannot stop China from doing this, but it can fight back.

A thumping win at the local district election ballot box in November previous year for pro-democracy parties appeared to be the final straw.

Mr Wang said the security risks had become "increasingly notable" - a reference to last year's protests. If these measures are passed, Hong Kong's separate political status will be a mere fig leaf covering the reality of Communist despotism. "It is very important for Hong Kong to prosper stably on the basis of 'one country, two systems.' I want to emphasize this again".

Beijing's hardening policies also show that it has not understood what caused discontent in Hong Kong in the first place, he said.

The United States reacted swiftly to China's announcement, with State Department spokeswoman Morgan Ortagus warning that imposing such a law on Hong Kong would be "highly destabilising, and would be met with strong condemnation from the United States and the worldwide community".

State Department spokesperson Morgan Ortagus said in a statement: "We urge Beijing to honor its commitments and obligations in the Sino-British Joint Declaration".

This was enshrined in the Basic Law, which runs out in 2047.

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