Left Menu
Development News Edition

Activists believe Beijing's proposed national security law will snatch away Hong Kong of its independent rights

Beijing's endorsement of a national security law tailoring Hong Kong from acts of secession, subversion, terrorism or conspiring with foreign influences, activists believe, will soon lead to an imposition of arbitrary detentions and crackdowns on free speech and dissent like in mainland China.

ANI | Hong Kong | Updated: 29-05-2020 16:05 IST | Created: 29-05-2020 15:58 IST
Activists believe Beijing's proposed national security law will snatch away Hong Kong of its independent rights
Visuals from the Hong Kong protest on Sunday against the national security law. (Credit: HK Police Facebook). Image Credit: ANI

Beijing's endorsement of a national security law tailoring Hong Kong from acts of secession, subversion, terrorism, or conspiring with foreign influences, activists believe, will soon lead to an imposition of arbitrary detentions and crackdowns on free speech and dissent like in mainland China. In an interview with Germany's Deutsche Welle News, a Hong Kong-based barrister Wilson Leung said the fear is that Beijing will use the new law to suppress peaceful resistance, opposition and activism in the same way authorities right now in mainland China oppress dissidents.

The so-called subversion is one of the criminal offenses listed under the law. Notable cases in mainland China prosecuted under this charge include the late civil rights activist Liu Xiaobo, pastor Wang Yi, and the human rights lawyer Wang Quanzhang. Now many activists in Hong Kong are very afraid that they could be similarly prosecuted, he added. Under the new national security law, the Hong Kong government will also be required to allow agencies based in mainland China to operate in the city.

The semi-autonomous region enjoys a level of civil liberties and autonomy not seen elsewhere in China under a mini-constitution called the Basic Law. Opponents of the proposed legislation from Beijing told the German newspaper that the law represents a significant erosion of these rights, especially freedom of speech. When asked about Beijing's assertion on the law that it is necessary to fight terrorism in the state, Leung said, "What we are seeing here is the well-known instrumentalization of buzz words like 'terrorism' and 'national security' for the oppression of civil rights."

UN special rapporteurs on human rights have repeatedly told Beijing about the danger of overextending Hong Kong's existing anti-terrorism laws. Despite the existing legal measures already in place in Hong Kong for fighting terrorism, the leadership in Beijing, and Hong Kong's chief executive, think it is necessary to pass this restrictive security law with the justification of a supposed terrorist threat. It is easy to see that this is just a facade.

"And in light of Beijing's actions against the Uighur minority in the north-western Xinjiang province under these auspices, I find this very concerning," he was quoted further by the newspaper as saying. One of the biggest fear, the activist further opined, is that the new law won't be a subordinate to mechanisms protecting human rights enshrined in Hong Kong's current legal system. It is also unclear whether complaints about abuse of the security law will be allowed to be heard in Hong Kong courts, he noted.

"After all, officials from mainland China are supposed to the responsible application of the new security law. Will they be arrested and interrogated by Hong Kong officials if someone complains? I think that is very unlikely," he said. "The big question is whether the new security law will be fully enacted outside the jurisdiction of Hong Kong's existing legal system. If the Standing Committee in Beijing says it is, then Hong Kong courts will no longer be able to intervene," he added.

On Thursday, Chinese Premier Li Keqiang said that the passage of new law, which due to come into effect from January next year, is for the long term prosperity and stability of the city-state.


TRENDING

OPINION / BLOG / INTERVIEW

Why COVID-19 is unstoppable in USA despite it being ranked at the top of GHS Index?

Several worst-hit countries such as Italy, France, Spain, the UK, Canada, and Russia have peaked COVID-19 cases in April. Almost all of them have gradually flattened the curve. However, the USA is setting new daily records of infections tha...

COVID-19 seems cooking biggest ever global scam

The increasing number of corruption cases on COVID-19 funds from throughout the world and involvement of high profile persons indicate that the countries cant ignore corruption in their pandemic response programs. This has generated the nee...

Health Management Information Systems lack holistic, integrated, and pandemic resilient character

Being a part of the United Nations system, the World Health Organization WHO deserves its share of rebuke for its alleged failure issue COVID-19 health emergency alerts on appropriate time. However, the pandemic has also exposed loopholes i...

Pride in the time of coronavirus: a welcome move online?

This year is different in many ways not least as celebrations are also taking place against the dramatic backdrop of a global health crisis and a resurgence in grassroots activism following the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis. ...

Videos

Latest News

Merck CEO says raising COVID-19 vaccine hopes 'a grave disservice' -report

COVID-19 vaccines under development are not guaranteed to work and people who say to expect a vaccine before year-end are doing a grave disservice to the public, Merck Co Incs chief said, according to an interview published on a Harvard Bu...

'We don't want them,' Mallorca says of wild-wayed tourists

Authorities in Spains Balearic Islands ordered the closure Wednesday of bars and nightclubs in beachfront areas popular with young and foreign visitors, pulling the plug on endless drunken nights to the beat of techno music. Arguing the nee...

ViacomCBS cuts ties with Nick Cannon, cites 'hateful speech'

Nick Cannons hateful speech and anti-Semitic theories led ViacomCBS to cut ties with the TV host and producer, the media giant said. ViacomCBS condemns bigotry of any kind and we categorically denounce all forms of anti-Semitism, the compan...

Basketball-WNBA's Delle Donne 'hurt' after opt-out request denied

Reigning WNBA Most Valuable Player Elena Delle Donne said on Wednesday she must decide whether to risk her life playing basketball amid the COVID-19 outbreak or forfeit her paycheck after her medical opt-out request was denied. Delle Donne,...

Give Feedback