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A new law will be debated in China’s National People’s Congress this week that would introduce security measures in Hong Kong that will ban sedition, secession, and treason.
Pro-democracy protesters in Hong Kong have been fighting for nearly a year in the streets and legislative body for their democratic rights as the CCP from Mainland China continues to crackdown to get the island metropolis under Beijing control.
Among their demands, Hong Kong pro-democracy protesters wanted the withdrawal of a bill that would allow accused Hong Kongers to be extradited to Mainland China for trial (this was removed in September by Carrie Lam); independent inquiries in police brutality; for authorities to stop calling pro-democracy protesters "rioters," as this brings with it very specific criminal ramifications under existing law; amnesty for those anti-democracy protesters who have been arrested; and universal suffrage for Hong Kong to elect their own representatives in the Legislative Council, and for Chief Executive.
Now Beijing has proposed a controversial new security law. This law is likely to engage the opposition, who are opposed to any additional limits on their freedoms.
Hong Kong has more personal liberty than those in Mainland China, as a result of the Basic Law, which came into effect with the UK hand off of Hong Kong back to China in 1997.
Those freedoms have been under considerable threat from communist leaders.
While Beijing has the legislative power to push back against the Basic Law and suspend individual liberties of Hong Kongers, those residents have been dissatisfied with the elimination of their rights.
After the lockdown restrictions eased in Hong Kong in April, pro-democracy activists were back in the streets.
Hong Kong has its own elections coming up to in September, and if pro-democracy parties continue to have success, Beijing’s bills could be blocked.
Of course, representing pro-democracy interests in Hong Kong does not come without danger, as was seen earlier this week when legislators in favour of Hong Kong liberties over Beijing restrictions were forcefully dragged from the legislative council.
US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has come under attack by Beijing for what they say are his efforts to “blackmail” Hong Kong’s governmental body toward democracy.
On Wednesday, Pompeo said that the treatment of those pro-democracy activists in Hong Kong by pro-CCP legislators and from Beijing itself makes it hard to know whether or not Hong Kong has any real independence from Mainland Chinese interests.
This separation between Hong Kong and Beijing is what allows for the special treatment afforded Hong Kong under American law.