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SEPTEMBER 2020

Beijing Passes Hong Kong National Security Law

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Beijing Passes Hong Kong National Security Law

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On June 30th, Beijing’s National People’s Congress Standing Committee voted in favor of Hong Kong’s national security law.

The South China Morning Post reported that the 162 members of the Standing Committee unanimously voted in favor of the law within 15 minutes of their meeting starting.

On June 28th, the standing committee began a special meeting fast-tracking the bill, which was passed on the last day of the three-day session.

Now, Basic Law Committee, which advises Beijing on Hong Kong’s mini-constitution, would meet “immediately after the standing committee passed the law to discuss its insertion into Annex III of the Basic Law.”

All Hong Kong delegates to the nation’s top advisory body, the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference, and the NPC, have been asked to attend a meeting, believed to be a briefing on the bill, at the central government’s liaison office on June 30th.

The law is expected to come into effect on July 1st, the 23rd anniversary of the city’s handover to China from British rule.

Also, on June 30th, Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam gave her weekly media briefing and refused to answer any questions regarding the bill until it was passed by the NPCSC, and had been listed in Annex III, for her government to promulgate it.

“It would be inappropriate for me to answer any questions and explain [the law] at this stage,” she said.

“What I can say is that when the law has been approved … My principal officials and myself will try our best to respond to questions about the law, especially those related to implementation and enforcement.”

Lam said any warnings from the US or other foreign governments to impose sanctions over the matter “would not scare Hong Kong”, and the Hong Kong government would fully cooperate with Beijing on any potential countermeasures.

“A group of Hongkongers have always begged for foreign governments, especially the US, to intervene local affairs or to sanctions over Hong Kong … we are always ready if the central government retaliates, and we will fully cooperate if there are any sanctions taken by the central government,” she said.

Shortly after the law was passed, Joshua Wong, a leading activist, announced he was resigning as leader of pro-democracy group Demosisto and would continue his fight privately.

Hu Xijin, the editor-in-chief of the state-run Global Times, said on Twitter that the law had been passed and its heaviest penalty was life imprisonment. More details of the legislation, which is said to include six chapters and 66 articles, are expected on July 1st.

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