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What is the controversial Hong Kong law

  Jun 23, 2020

What is the controversial Hong Kong law which was passed by China recently? Discuss.

  1. China’s Parliament on Thursday passed new legislation for Hong Kong that will for the first time empower Beijing to draft national security laws for the Special Administrative Region (SAR).
  2. The law, called the “NPC Decision on Establishing and Improving the Legal System and Enforcement Mechanisms for the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region to Safeguard National Security”, essentially empowers the NPC to draft new national security laws for Hong Kong. 
  3. The draft legislation said the scope of the laws could cover any activity that “seriously endangers national security”. 
  4. It said it was aimed at enabling “measures to counter, lawfully prevent, stop and punish foreign and overseas forces’ use of Hong Kong to carry out separatist, subversive, infiltrative, or destructive activities”.
  5. The NPC decision has been criticised by pro-democracy parties and some in the legal community in Hong Kong as undermining the “one country, two systems” model. 
  6. Since 1997, Hong Kong has been governed by the Basic Law, which gives the SAR “executive, legislative and independent judicial power, including that of final adjudication”. 
  7. Only matters of defence and foreign affairs are handled by the central government.
  8. While the law says the state would “fully, and accurately implement the principles of one country, two systems”, it also enables organs of the central government “for the protection of national security” to set up “institutions in the HK-SAR”, a provision that has been a particular source of concern.
  9. Hong Kong’s court of final appeal has 15 foreign judges, under a system aimed to ensure judicial independence for a global financial centre.
  10. The law could also block foreign judges from sitting on national security cases.
  11. China says that it will still follow the principle of Hong Kong people governing Hong Kong. 
  12. It said “one country, two systems” is China’s “basic state policy” and Beijing would continue to ensure Hong Kong had “a high degree of autonomy”.