China Passes Hong Kong National Security Legislation

Published by Matt Fishman on

The People’s Republic of China has passed legislation for “establishing and improving the legal system and enforcement mechanism” of Hong Kong, in order to “safeguard national security”.

Chinese Congress Chairman Li Zhanshu commented how this law will “uphold and improve the “one country, two systems” system” and is in the “fundamental interests of… Hong Kong compatriots”.

In response, the United States of America, Australia, Canada, and the United Kingdom have released a joint statement, arguing that this “law would undermine the One Country, Two Systems framework”. (The one country, two systems framework refers to the Sino-British Joint Declaration which allowed “the socialist system and socialist policies [of China to] not be practised in the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region and that Hong Kong’s previous capitalist system and life-style shall remain unchanged for 50 years.”)

The four countries further stated how the national security legislation subjects Hong Kong citizens to Chinese prosecution of “political crimes”, and “undermines” the rights of Hong Kong people.

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo also remarked that Hong Kong clearly no longer maintains a high degree of autonomy from China.

A spokesperson for China’s Office of Hong Kong Affairs, however, explained that “rights and freedoms” enjoyed by Hong Kong citizens will not be impacted by the law. Instead, he says Hong Kong ’s national security legislation serves as “a high-hanging sword for the very few who carry out acts that endanger national security”.