Global outrage erupts over China's ‘draconian‘ security law for Hong Kong

Protesters holding banners in support of Hong Kong pro-democracy demonstrators attend a rally against the Chinese government's newly announced national security legislation for Hong Kong, at Taipei main train station in Taiwan May 23, 2020.

China is preparing to set up national security agencies in Hong Kong to deal with pro-democracy agitators, the state media reported on Saturday, a day after Beijing introduced a controversial national security law to firm up control over the former British colony.

The Office of the Commissioner of the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs in the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) issued May 21 a strong denunciation, stating that Patten had distorted the "One Country, Two Systems", and the Basic Law, in a statement "Spokesperson of the Commissioner's Office: Chris Patten Will Be Condemned to Everlasting Infamy".

Top Chinese and Hong Kong officials are attempting to reassure the worldwide community that the security bill announced Thursday won't impact the former British colony's status as a financial hub.

He also vowed that "any decision impinging on Hong Kong's autonomy and freedoms ... would inevitably impact our assessment of One Country, Two Systems and the status of the territory".

United States government officials have said the legislation would end the Chinese-ruled city's autonomy and would be bad for both its and China's economies.

Zhang Jian, director of Hong Kong/Macau Department of Shanghai International Studies Institute, offered a contradictory stand, telling VOA that Hong Kong's independence movement and "foreign forces" involvement make the new national security legislation urgent and necessary.

Pompeo said the move would amount to a "death knell" for Hong Kong's political and economic semi-autonomy and signaled that the United States might punish Beijing.

One protestor, Eddie Chu, was removed by security.

COVID-19: Number of global cases rises above 4mn
Over 1.3 million of the cases are in the United States, well ahead of Spain, the country with the next most cases at 222,857. United Kingdom and Italy have seen over 30,000 deaths each, while Spain and France have clocked over 25,000 deaths.

Fears that China is steadily eroding Hong Kong's freedoms were fuelled in 2015, when five booksellers in the city who were publishing salacious titles about China's leaders vanished and then resurfaced in custody on the mainland.

Hong Kong's financial markets and independent courts have long provided global companies, entrepreneurs and the Chinese elite with a lucrative refuge from the mainland's high taxes, capital controls and party-run justice system. "We don't. So it's not surprising that as part of the efforts to fill the national security legal gap, we need to have a body", he said in an interview with Reuters.

She acknowledged that some details of the sweeping legislation expected to be rubber-stamped soon by the National People's Congress had yet to be decided.

A heavy crackdown will not tackle the grievances driving the protest movement, which over the a year ago only escalated as the city's police force turned to increasingly aggressive tactics, the worldwide group said.

"They promised 'one-country, two-systems, but the content of the security law is basically implementing 'one country, one system, '" she said.

Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam, center, and other officials attend a press conference in Hong Kong after returning from China's NPC meeting.

China's foreign ministry said Hong Kong is China's internal affair and "no foreign country has the right to intervene".

USA government officials have said the legislation would end the Chinese-ruled city's autonomy and would be bad for both Hong Kong's and China's economies. It could also ban people who work for or receive funding from these organizations from entering Hong Kong.

  • Sonia Alvarado