The Chinese National People’s Congress (NPC) Standing Committee is to vote on Hong Kong’s security legislation tomorrow morning, the day before the territory’s handover anniversary, Now TV News reported yesterday, signaling Beijing might soon hand down a measure that pro-democracy advocates and business groups say could erode the territory’s unique freedoms.
At a three-day meeting that started yesterday, the Standing Committee discussed the legislation to punish acts of secession, subversion, terrorism and collusion with foreign forces, Radio Television Hong Kong (RTHK) reported earlier, citing Ip Kwok-him (葉國謙), a member of Hong Kong’s Executive Council and one of its non-voting delegates on the committee.
The proposed legislation includes a life sentence for acts of secession and subversion, according to the Now TV report, which cited unidentified people.
The penalty would be far more severe than what Tam Yiu-chung (譚耀宗), the territory’s only voting delegate in the committee, has suggested.
Prison sentences for the four types of crimes would range from three to 10 years and would be largely in line with Hong Kong’s criminal laws, RTHK said last week, citing Tam.
Albert Ho (何俊仁), former chairman of the territory’s Democratic Party, said the proposed sentence did not surprise him.
“It is a shame that the so-called Hong Kong delegates just let the legislation go through like this,” Ho said. “It is also a shame for China — how can it face the world?”
If the proposed law passes during this Standing Committee session, it could come into effect in time for Wednesday’s anniversary of the territory’s return to Chinese rule in 1997.
Under the legislation, the central government would retain its authority in the territory in three specific circumstances, Now TV said, without providing details.
About 56 percent of residents oppose the legislation, compared with 34 percent who support it, a Reuters/Hong Kong Public Opinion Research Institute poll released on Friday showed.
In related news, hundreds of Hong Kongers yesterday marched silently through the streets in protest against the proposed national security legislation.
Riot police armed with shields were present as the crowd moved from Jordan to Mong Kok in the Kowloon district, as part of a “silent protest” in which they marched with the usual chanting or slogan shouting largely absent.
Scuffles broke out in Mong Kok, prompting police to use pepper spray to subdue parts of the crowd, an eyewitness told Reuters.
“I am here to oppose the national security laws,” said Esther, 25, who was on the streets. “It’s not the last battle, there is a long-term resistance [to the laws].”
Additional reporting by Reuters
CAUTION: Taiwanese should be alert, even if they have just liked or shared posts that would breach Beijing’s national security legislation for Hong Kong, the council said Due to the newly implemented Hong Kong national security legislation, the Mainland Affairs Council (MAC) has drawn up a list of what it described as “high-risk groups,” cautioning them not to travel to Hong Kong. People who support independence for Taiwan, Hong Kong, Tibet and Xinjiang; those who are critical of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP), the Hong Kong government and the “one country, two systems” concept; and those who donated to or voiced support for the Hong Kong anti-extradition bill movement are urged to refrain from visiting Hong Kong, the council said on its Web site. It released two posts on
NEW HONG KONG LAW: A visit to Beijing-friendly nations or those with weak judicial systems could leave people at risk of deportation to China, a former MAC official said Beijing could request countries with which it has extradition agreements to deport Taiwanese to China to face criminal charges following the implementation of national security legislation for Hong Kong, a former Mainland Affairs Council (MAC) official warned yesterday. Some developing countries, and those close to China because of the Belt and Road Initiative, are likely to accommodate Beijing’s requests to extradite Taiwanese to China, said former deputy MAC minister Chen Ming-chi (陳明祺), who served from July 2, 2018, until May 20, and then returned to his former post as an assistant professor of sociology at National Tsing Hua University. While Taiwanese
MORAL COURAGE: The Ministry of Foreign Affairs urged the global community to face China’s intention to subdue Taiwan and reject such irrational requests The Ministry of Foreign Affairs yesterday strongly condemned the Chinese government for meddling with US officials’ interactions with Taiwan after FBI Director Christopher Wray revealed China’s efforts to discourage US officials from visiting Taiwan. The greatest long-term threat to the US’ information security and intellectual property, as well as its economic vitality, is China’s counterintelligence and economic espionage operations, Wray told a video event at the Hudson Institute in Washington. Beijing is engaged in a highly sophisticated and maligning foreign influence campaign, with methods that include bribery, blackmail and covert deals, he said. Giving an example, Wray said that when a US official
IN THE PIPELINE: The Ministry of National Defense said the sale, expected to take effect in one month, would be the seventh arms sale under the Trump administration The government yesterday thanked the US for approving the possible sale of a US$620 million missile repair and recertification package to Taiwan. The US Department of State has approved the sale of a package to recertify Patriot Advanced Capability-3 (PAC-3) missiles to the Taipei Economic and Cultural Representative Office (TECRO) in Washington for an estimated US$620 million, the US Defense Security Cooperation Agency said in a news release on Thursday. The agency has delivered the required certification to the US Congress, notifying it of the possible sale, it added. The TECRO had requested to buy an upgrade package that would support an operational