TEHRAN (Iran News) – Beijing unveiled details of its new national security law for Hong Kong on Saturday.
The much-anticipated legislation, which has provoked deep concerns in Washington and Europe, includes a national security office for Hong Kong to collect intelligence and handle crimes against national security, the official Xinhua news agency reported.
It said Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam could also appoint specific judges to hear national security cases, a move likely to unnerve some investors, diplomats and business leaders in the global financial hub, Reuters reported.
National security activities would protect human rights and freedom of speech and assembly, it added, without providing details.
China says the draft law is aimed at tackling separatist activity, subversion, terrorism and collusion with foreign forces, but critics fear it will crush wide-ranging freedoms that are seen as key to Hong Kong’s status as a global financial center.
The details of the law were unveiled following a three-day meeting of the top decision-making body of China’s parliament.
The exact time frame for enacting the law was unclear, although political analysts expect it will take effect ahead of key Legislative Council elections in Hong Kong on Sept. 6.
China’s move to impose the law directly on Hong Kong, bypassing the city’s legislature, comes after a year of sometimes violent anti-government and anti-Beijing protests that mainland and local authorities blame “foreign forces” for fomenting.
Beijing proposed the new legislation last month, drawing a swift rebuke from Britain and the United States.
On Friday, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said Washington would in future treat Hong Kong as a Chinese city, rather than a semi-autonomous one, and the United States was working its way through a decision-making process over who would be held accountable over curbs to Hong Kong’s freedoms.
Underscoring global concerns over the move, the European Parliament on Friday voted in favor of taking China to the International Court of Justice in The Hague if Beijing imposes the security law on Hong Kong.
The country has repeatedly warned foreign governments against interfering in its internal affairs.
‘Interference in internal affairs’
China said on Friday that “improper” remarks by the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet regarding the legislation proposed for Hong Kong “grossly interfere in China’s sovereignty and internal affairs”.
Earlier on Friday, Bachelet issued a statement saying that any new national security laws imposed on Hong Kong “must fully comply with China’s human rights obligations” and international treaties protecting civil and political freedoms, Reuters reported.
Hours later, China’s Mission to the UN in Geneva said in a statement: “These remarks grossly interfere in China’s sovereignty and internal affairs and violate the purposes and principles of the Charter of the United Nations, to which China expresses its strong dissatisfaction and firm opposition. Solemn representations have been made to the high commissioner and her office.” Legislation on national security “falls within the sovereignty of a state”, it added.
The new law also would override any existing Hong Kong laws that may conflict with it once it is implemented, Xinhua said in a report detailing the draft legislation.
The law would punish secession, subversion of state power, terrorism, and acts that endanger national security, as well as allow Chinese security agencies to operate openly in Hong Kong, a move some activists say will kill the former British colony’s promised freedoms.
- source : Iran Daily, Irannews