Hong Kong: Pompeo condemns China’s law as ‘death knell’ for freedoms

Hong Kong: Pompeo condemns China’s law as ‘death knell’ for freedoms

With the world distracted by the COVID-19 pandemic, the Communist Party of China is moving to enact a new national security law that could have severe ramifications over Hong Kong's freedoms and a high degree of autonomy under the "one country, two systems" policy.

At its annual National People's Congress, China's lawmakers put forward a proposal to enact new legislation to strengthen "enforcement mechanisms" in Hong Kong, which was rocked previous year by seven months of massive and sometimes violent pro-democracy protests that crippled the city.

"Hong Kong has flourished as a bastion of liberty".

He wrote on Twitter: "Appalling power grab by China over Hong Kong".

In an interview with DW News hours later, prominent democracy activist Joshua Wong said Beijing had "totally violated procedural justice".

The United States also maintains export control offices and academic exchanges in Hong Kong separate from mainland China.

The stock selloff was widespread in Hong Kong, with more than two-thirds of the Hang Seng index's 50 members setting new four-week lows on Friday.

The law was submitted at the annual National People's Congress (NPC), which largely rubber-stamps decisions already taken by the Communist leadership, but is still the most important political event of the year.

Beijing tried to introduce a similar law in 2003 but shelved the initiative due to mass protests.

Now Lam is arguing in lockstep with Beijing's talking points, saying that the new law is necessary for security and is in the interest of all Hong Kong residents.

In a statement, she announced that the Hong Kong government will "complete the legislation as soon as possible to discharge its responsibility of safeguarding national security".

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Other proposals he made were a joint reaction to China's security law by the ruling and the opposition camps at the Legislative Yuan, and the drawing up of more assistance measures for Hong Kong citizens.

Trump had only reluctantly signed the Hong Kong act, which was strongly opposed by Beijing, as he was negotiating a deal to end a trade war with China.

Martin Lee, a leading pro-democracy politician and barrister who helped draft the Basic Law in the 1980s, said the legislation was a contravention of the "one country, two systems" model as envisioned by Deng Xiaoping.

DW correspondent Phoebe Kong tweeted that the security law was "listed under annex 3 of basic law, bypassing scrutiny of the local legislature". Under the Sino-British Joint Declaration, which set the terms of Hong Kong's transfer to Chinese rule, the regime agreed to grant the city autonomy and freedoms not enjoyed in the mainland, under the formula of "one country, two systems".

The Globe and Mail reported Friday that the Canadian Security Intelligence Service and US law enforcement authorities are warning academics and corporations in both countries that they are at increased risk of having their data and technology stolen, especially research on vaccines and other treatments for the coronavirus.

The notion of "terrorism" also features in this proposed law. Up to now, the worst charge most arrested protesters have faced has been for rioting.

Mr Wang said the security risks had become "increasingly notable" - a reference to last year's protests.

Activists called on supporters to take to the streets tomorrow to protest against the new law.

A proposed march at noon in the center of the city did not materialize after only a handful of protesters turned up with riot police marking their presence on the streets.

Members of the Consultative Conference will "tell the world about how China, as a responsible major country, has taken firm action and contributed to global co-operation in the fight against the COVID-19 epidemic", Wang Yang, the chairman of the body, said in a report to the opening session.

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