China recently introduced a new national security law that many fear will dramatically reduce freedom in Hong Kong. The new law bans “treason, secession, sedition and subversion” across China. Critics fear that many pro-Democracy activities could be made illegal with a broad interpretation of the prohibited behaviors.
The new law contains an introduction and seven articles. For the pro-Democracy movement, article four is the most concerning. It states that Hong Kong needs to improve national security by saying, “When needed, relevant national security organs of the Central People’s Government will set up agencies in Hong Kong to fulfill relevant duties to safeguard national security in accordance with the law.” Many Hong Kong residents fear that this will end the city’s independent court system and weaken the rule of law.
“This is the largest nuclear weapon the Chinese Communist Party has used in its mutual destruction of Hong Kong,” said pro-Democracy advocate Jimmy Sham.
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On Tweeter, prominent Hong Kong Democracy advocate Joshua Wong has been condemning the new law as a violation of the Sino-British Joint Declaration that went into effect in 1985. The declaration transferred Hong Kong from British colonial rule to Chinese jurisdiction under a “one country, two systems” model, which was intended to protect Hong Kong’s civil liberties and partial independence. Wong is now arguing that because China is breaking this agreement, the “one country, two systems” model is no longer possible, a position that could be labeled as a form of secessionism.
On May 22nd, Wong posted the following on Tweeter. “1.3/ The promise of “2systems” can no longer be held. The claim of “foreign collusion” will doubtlessly lead to arbitrary political prosecutions since the law is now enforced not by local courts but by a newly established secret police body, just like China.”