Hong Kong pro-democracy campaigners yesterday vowed to take to the streets in protest over what they said was China’s fiercest assault on the territory’s treasured autonomy with its move to impose a security law.
The proposal for the legislation — expected to ban treason, subversion and sedition — was introduced at the opening of the National People’s Congress in Beijing yesterday.
It followed repeated warnings from Chinese leaders that they would no longer tolerate dissent in Hong Kong, which endured seven months of pro-democracy protests last year.
“This is the largest nuclear weapon the Chinese Communist Party has used in its mutual destruction of Hong Kong,” said Jimmy Sham (岑子杰), convener of the Civil Human Rights Front, which organized the rally that started last year’s unrest.
Democracy advocate Joshua Wong (黃之鋒) said that China’s message to the protesters was clear.
“Beijing is attempting to silence Hong Kongers’ critical voices with force and fear,” Wong wrote on Twitter, while also expressing defiance. “HKers will not scare off in the face of wolf warrior policy.”
Hong Kong has been allowed a limited form of autonomy since returning from British to Chinese rule in 1997, with those unique freedoms enshrined under a “one country, two systems” agreement.
However, a huge pro-democracy movement has built in the face of fears that China has been steadily eroding those freedoms.
The Chinese Communist Party yesterday made it clear that the planned law was aimed at quashing the democracy movement.
“We must take powerful measures to lawfully prevent, stop and punish them,” National People’s Congress Standing Committee Vice Chairman Wang Chen (王晨) said, referring to “anti-China” forces.
Article 23 of Hong Kong’s Basic Law states that the territory must enact a law to prohibit “treason, secession, sedition [and] subversion” against the Chinese government, but the clause has never been implemented due to opposition from Hong Kongers fearful it would destroy their civil rights.
An attempt to have Article 23 pass the Hong Kong Legislative Council in 2003 was shelved after about 500,000 people took to the streets in protest against it.
China’s move would circumvent the Hong Kong Legislative Council by having it imposed by Beijing.
Wang said Hong Kong’s delays in implementing the security law had forced the Chinese leadership to take action.
“More than 20 years after Hong Kong’s return, however, relevant laws are yet to materialize due to the sabotage and obstruction by those trying to sow trouble in Hong Kong and China at large, as well as external hostile forces,” he said.
The US reacted swiftly, with US Department of State spokeswoman Morgan Ortagus warning that imposing such a law would be “highly destabilizing, and would be met with strong condemnation from the United States and the international community.”
SECURITY CONCERNS: The Telecom Technology Center ran black-box tests for the Executive Yuan on devices and software from Chinese, US and South Korean firms Network devices from several Chinese manufacturers are insecure and allow personal information to be leaked, testing commissioned by the Executive Yuan has shown. A variety of devices and software, including apps, from Chinese, US and South Korean manufacturers that are used by government agencies at the central and local level were subjected to black-box testing — in which the functionality of an application is examined without knowing about its internal structure, an information-security official said yesterday on condition of anonymity. The Telecom Technology Center conducted the tests, which simulated cyberattacks, to determine their resilience to the attacks, the official said. The center
Americans awoke yesterday to charred and glass-strewn streets in dozens of cities after another night of unrest fueled by rage over the mistreatment of African Americans at the hands of police, who responded to the violence with tear gas and rubber bullets. Tens of thousands marched peacefully through streets to protest the death of George Floyd, a black man who died on Monday last week after a white Minneapolis police officer pressed his knee on his neck until he stopped breathing. However, many demonstrations sank into chaos as night fell: Vehicles and businesses were torched. The words “I can’t breathe” were
The nation marked its 49th day with no new domestic COVID-19 cases yesterday, and there were no new imported cases, but that does not mean the Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) can relax its attention, Minister of Health and Welfare Chen Shih-chung (陳時中), who heads the center, said yesterday in Tainan as he and a team of health officials wrapped up a weekend visit to the city. The visit is part of the center’s efforts to promote domestic travel under the “new disease prevention lifestyle.” Among the 442 confirmed cases, 423 have been released from isolation and 12 people remain hospitalized, Chen
EXTRA INVITATIONS: Russia, Australia, South Korea and India would be asked to a later summit dedicated to countering China, Donald Trump said US President Donald Trump has been forced to cancel a planned face-to-face summit of G7 leaders this month and now wants to host an expanded meeting in September dedicated to countering China to which Russian President Vladimir Putin would be invited. Trump on Saturday announced that he had canceled the June meeting, which he had billed as a symbol of the US “transitioning back to greatness,” after German Chancellor Angela Merkel told him in a telephone call that she saw the summit in Washington as a health risk. Hundreds of security staff, journalists and officials also attend the two-day summits. Reports suggest