At the flag raising ceremony of the Golden Bauhinia Square in Hong Kong, China on June 15, 2020, the Hong Kong honor guard raised the Chinese flag and the Hong Kong flag.
Guan Ying|Getty Images
According to reports, the highest decision-making body of the Chinese parliament According to local media reports, the bill passed the controversial Hong Kong National Security Law.
Reuters quoted a report from Hong Kong Cable Television that the law had been unanimously passed by the Standing Committee of the National People̵
Beijing stated that the law is intended to prohibit division of the country, subversion of state power, terrorist activities and foreign interference. The law was introduced at the annual Chinese parliamentary meeting in late May and caused protests in Hong Kong because of fears that the city’s freedom would be eroded.
It was before the anniversary of the handover of Hong Kong from Britain to mainland China on July 1, 1997.
Hong Kong was a former British colony. Under the jurisdiction of the “one country, two systems” framework, it has greater autonomy than other Chinese cities, including limited voting rights and a largely independent legal and economic system. The Special Administrative Region was returned to China in 1997.
Before the law was passed, the Eurasian Group said that passing the law before the anniversary of the handover may indicate Beijing’s desire to “contain the protests that preceded the September election of the Hong Kong Legislative Council”.
Little is known about the details of the bill, but many people are worried about Beijing’s violation of Hong Kong’s rights and freedoms, partly because the move will bypass Hong Kong’s own lawmakers. Fifty years after the handover, Hong Kong was given a high degree of autonomy.
After Hong Kong saw an extended period of protest (sometimes even violent) against the currently withdrawn extradition bill, this was also seen as a way for China to gain more control.
At the same time, companies see the necessity of the security law, but want to know its meaning and how it will be implemented, David Dodwell, executive director of the Hong Kong APEC Trade Policy Group, told CNBC in early June.
Reuters reported that it will set up a national security office in Hong Kong to collect intelligence and deal with related crimes, and will allow the city’s head, Lin Zhengyue, to appoint a specific judge to try national security cases.
Lin said she would not do this, but would choose a set of judges that the judiciary could choose.
She also said that the new law will not infringe on the way of life in Hong Kong, but will target “a small proportion of illegal and criminal acts.”
— CNBC’s Huileng Tan, Yen Nee Lee, and Tucker Higgins contributed to this report.