China's top lawmakers have drafted Hong Kong security law




China's top legislature has begun drafting a national security law for Hong Kong, which critics say will weaken the legal and political institutions in the semi-autonomous region.


The bill was presented to the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress on Thursday and covered four categories of crimes: legacy, undermining state power, cooperation with foreign or external forces to undermine local terrorism and national security, the official Xinhua News Agency said.

Details on the definition of those crimes or the applicable penalties are not provided. It is not clear whether the legislation will be passed at the current three-day meeting of the committee, which is scheduled to end on Saturday.

"In recent years with Hong Kong and beyond against each other's hostile powers, the lack of relevant legal systems and enforcement mechanisms in the [Hong Kong Special Administrative Region] poses major dangers to China's national security," Xinhua said in a comment.

Li Janshu, a third-party official of the ruling Communist Party and head of the National People's Congress, chaired the Standing Committee meeting, which serves as a complete and largely official congressional congress.

'Serious concern'
Congress passed a lawmaking decision at the end of last month's meeting.

Hong Kong's Basic Law, by its mini-constitution, requires the legislature of the region to enforce security legislation, but no administration has attempted to do so, as mass protests in 2003 led to the then chief executive Tung - forcing the Hwa administration to quit. Attempt to do so.

Legal experts say Beijing's justification for the law is controversial, and critics say Hong Kong-ruled "one country, two systems" doctrine has been destroyed since its return to China in 1997.

China launched action last year in the wake of widespread and sometimes violent anti-democratic protests in the region, allowing the public to be brought to mainland China for trial when the administration tries to introduce a bill. Beijing sees rallies governed by the National Security Act as an attempt to separate Hong Kong from the rest of the state.

The United States said the law was passed that would give the former British colony special powers. Britain said it would provide passports and citizenship to three million Hong Kong residents.

On Wednesday, the G7 major economies voiced their "serious concerns" about the law, saying it would overturn Beijing's international commitments and the region's constitution.

Beijing has been criticized for interfering with its internal affairs.

"We urge the relevant parties to study the constitution of the People's Republic of China and the Hong Kong SAR Basic Law and to look at national security legislation intentionally," said Zhao Lijian, a spokesman for the Chinese Foreign Ministry.

Officials in China and Hong Kong have called for reducing the dangers of the law, saying it does not affect the general Hong Kong public.

A Hong Kong delegation led by Chief Executive Officer Carrie Lam discussed the legislation with the central government earlier this month. Regional Justice Secretary Theresa Cheng said the Security Act protects the rights and freedoms of Hong Kong people and strengthens the "one country, two systems" framework.

Support Taiwan

Hong Kong activist Joshua Wong said Thursday that opposing the law "maybe my last testimony when I am free."

Speaking at an online event promoting democracy and the market economy in Copenhagen, Denmark, he said, "Our long journey to democracy will be strong for a long time."

Meanwhile, Taiwan has announced it is setting up an office to provide assistance to those seeking to leave Hong Kong.

According to a statement from Taiwan's Mainland Affairs Council, the office maintains the island's relations with Taiwan, including those who want to travel to Taiwan, including schools, employment, investment, entrepreneurship, and immigration.

Taiwan's self-governing island is a democracy, which China sees as its own.

Earlier this month, the Hong Kong Legislature passed a controversial bill that made it a crime to insult the Chinese national anthem.

Senior opposition figures were also arrested for participating in the demonstrations and began to question whether national security legislation would be used to disqualify pro-democratic candidates in the September elections for the Beijing-controlled Legislative Council.

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