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Critics say new security laws will infringe on Hong Kong’s autonomy

The Thaiger

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Critics say new security laws will infringe on Hong Kong’s autonomy | The Thaiger
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Hong Kong’s embattled leader Carrie Lam has tried to reassure rattled residents and international investors that proposed national security laws won’t trample on the city’s rights and freedoms. She has joined the chorus of reassuring support for Beijing’s attempts to find better ways to control the destabilising protests that have disrupted the city for seven months over the past year.

Lam pleaded to concerned residents about the need to wait for the details of the proposed legislation.

The PR offensive follows Beijing’s plans last week for new national security legislation for Hong Kong that aims to “tackle secession, subversion and terrorist activities” and could even see Chinese intelligence agencies set up a presence in the city.

Lam, the 4th and current Chief Executive of Hong Kong since 2017, maintained that China’s plans to impose a new security law on Hong Kong will “only target a handful of lawbreakers”.

Following months of disruptive, often-violent pro-democracy protests in 2019, Beijing says it needs to enact legislation banning “secession, subversion, terrorism and foreign interference” in the international finance hub.

But many Hong Kong residents, business associations and Western governments have expressed fear the proposal could be a death blow to the city’s treasured freedoms and lifestyle and usher in an end to the semi-autonomous city running its own affairs – the promise made by China when the former British colony was ‘handed back’ to Chinese control after running the trading city from 1842 to 1997, including a formal 99 year lease.

The announcement of Beijing’s plans for the new law, which would bypass Hong Kong’s legislature, sparked a huge drop on the Hong Kong stock exchange last Friday, the biggest in 5 years.

But Carrie Lam, often seen as playing a puppet role for the Chinese government, says fears the city’s “business-friendly freedoms were at risk were totally groundless”.

“The proposed law only targets a handful of law-breakers. It protects the vast majority of law-abiding, peace-loving residents”.

Chinese leadership has portrayed the protests as a “foreign-backed plot to destabilise the motherland” and has justified the new security law as a necessary way to crack down on “terrorism and calls for independence”. But protesters have maintained that their rallies were the only way to voice their opposition in a city with no universal suffrage.

Protesters again took to Hong Kong’s streets last Sunday after the security law announcement but were again dispersed by police armed tear gas and water cannon in the worst clashes in months. They’ve accused Beijing of timing the introduction of the laws during the coronavirus restrictions in Hong Kong to reduce their capacity for unrest sparked by the new legislation.

The proposed laws have drawn international condemnation, including pointed and official criticisms from the UK, US and Australian leaders. The US has even threatened sanctions if the new laws are enacted.

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Hong Kong

HK man arrested for allegedly stabbing officer in security law protests

Jack Burton

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HK man arrested for allegedly stabbing officer in security law protests | The Thaiger
PHOTO: Hong Kong police turned out in force to quash protests of China's new security law - The Thaiger

Police in Hong Kong arrested a man aboard a flight to London this morning on suspicion of stabbing a police officer during protests of the Chinese territory’s new security law. About 370 people were arrested during and after yesterday’s protests against the new laws, imposed by China to curb activities surrounding the anti-government protests that have racked Hong Kong for over a year. 10 of them were arrested for allegedly violating the new law, some of whom were in possession of material advocating Hong Kong’s independence.

The law, which took effect Tuesday, outlaws secessionist, subversive and terrorist acts, and “collusion with foreign forces” intervening in the city’s affairs. It has brought concern from the Special Administrative Region’s former colonial ruler Britain and other governments. Critics say it effectively ends the “one country, two systems” framework, under which the city was promised a high degree of autonomy when it reverted to Chinese rule in June 1997.

Police yesterday posted a photo on Twitter of a police officer bleeding from his arm, claiming that he was stabbed while making arrests during the protests and that the suspects fled.

The 24 year old suspect, surnamed Wong, was arrested on a London-bound Cathay Pacific flight, according to a police officer who spoke anonymously as he was not authorised to speak publicly. He said Wong bought the ticket yesterday and boarded the flight with no check-in luggage. He did not respond to air crew who called him by name, and was not in his designated seat. Police identified him after a sweep of the plane. Local media report that a relative tipped police off to his travel plans.

In a related development, Britain announced yesterday that it is extending residency rights for up to 3 million Hong Kong citizens eligible for the British National Overseas passport, saying that it will “uphold its historic duty to the former British colony”. Those eligible will be allowed to live and work in the UK for 5 years, before applying for settled status and subsequently for citizenship. China today threatened “counter measures”.

Australian PM Scott Morrison said today his government is considering a similar move, and Taiwan has opened an office to help Hong Kongers relocate to Taiwan for work and other purposes.

SOURCE: AP

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World

Australia and UK may offer a safe haven to Hong Kong citizens

Anukul

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Australia and UK may offer a safe haven to Hong Kong citizens | The Thaiger
PHOTO: Law.com

Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison says Australia is “actively considering” providing a safe haven for Hong Kong citizens to migrate to the country after controversial national security laws enforced by China have come into effect.

Yesterday, hundreds of people were arrested after protesters took to the streets to protest the new laws introduced by China to suppress dissidents.

When asked if he was upset by the crackdown on demonstrators in Hong Kong and whether Australia should offer a safe haven for local residents, Morrison said, “The answer to both questions is yes and yes.”

Also in the UK, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said that he would give qualified people in Hong Kong a path to citizenship that would enable them to settle in the United Kingdom.

SOURCE: ABC News

 

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Hong Kong

Beijing passes new Hong Kong security law

The Thaiger

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Beijing passes new Hong Kong security law | The Thaiger
PHOTO: A lone figure in Hong Kong as the Special Administrative Region faces new security laws - CNN.com

China has passed the controversial new national security law for Hong Kong in what critics believe could be the start of a wave of ‘mainland’ political repression. The National Standing Committee, China’s top lawmaking body, approved the legislation. The passing of the new law has been reported on Now TV, RTHK and the South China Morning Post.

Chinese officials maintain that the law bans “subversion, secession, terrorism and colluding with foreign forces” and is needed to return stability to Hong Kong following 12 months of pro-democracy protests that shut down suburbs, the airport and universities.

But critics say it will signal the end of Hong Kong’s unique “political freedoms” and reduce the Special Administrative Region’s autonomy citing similar laws used to subdue dissent in mainland China. Beijing bypassed Hong Kong’s local legislature to pass the new law. It has been signed off just 6 weeks after being announced. At this stage Hong Kong residents are yet to review the contents of the new law. Hong Kong has a population of around 7.4 million.

Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam, criticised for being a pro-Beijing ‘puppet’, has made no official comment whether the new law had been passed or not.

“I think at this moment, it is not appropriate for me to comment on any questions related to the national security law.”

SOURCE: Thai PBS World

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