China officially imposes new security law on Hong Kong

China officially imposes new security law on Hong Kong

People living in Hong Kong could now face life in jail for breaking a controversial new law that became official on Tuesday. The full text of the law was only revealed hours after it was enacted. The new measures come into effect following more than a year of ongoing protests in the special administrative region. 

The Beijing backed leader of Hong Kong, Carrie Lam, defended the law, claiming it filled a "gaping hole" in national security. Some of the details of the new security law – applying to both permanent and non-permanent residents – include (courtesy BBC):

  • Crimes of secession, subversion, terrorism and collusion with foreign forces are punishable by a minimum sentence of three years, with the maximum being life
  • Inciting hatred of China's central government and Hong Kong's regional government are now offences under Article 29
  • Damaging public transport facilities can be considered terrorism - protesters often targeted city infrastructure during the long-running demonstrations
  • Those found guilty will not be allowed to stand for public office
  • Beijing will establish a new security office in Hong Kong, with its own law enforcement personnel - neither of which would come under the local authority's jurisdiction
  • Hong Kong's chief executive can appoint judges in national security cases, and the justice secretary can decide whether or not there is a jury
  • Decisions made by the national security commission, set up by local authorities, cannot be challenged legally
  • China also says it will take over prosecution in cases which are considered "very serious", while some trials will be heard behind closed doors.
  • Management of foreign non-governmental organizations and news agencies will be strengthened

 

Attempts at protesting during the day quickly fizzled out according to the South China Morning Post. Demosisto, a political party founded by activist Joshua Wong was among one of several groups pro-democracy groups to disband in the aftermath. Many businesses that were in favour of the protests also began to clear away remains of any pro-democracy involvement on their premises. 

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announced that defence and dual-use technologies would no longer be exported to Hong Kong, saying "we can no longer distinguish between the export of controlled items to Hong Kong or to mainland China. We cannot risk these items falling into the hands of the People’s Liberation Army, whose primary purpose is to uphold the dictatorship of the CCP by any means necessary."