Hong Kong: ‘Anti-protest’ legislation kicks in as town marks handover

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AFP / Getty

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Carrie Lam at a flag-raising ceremony in Hong Kong on Wednesday

Hong Kong is marking 23 many years since British rule finished as a new “anti-protest” law, imposed by Beijing, comes into influence.

The countrywide stability legislation targets secession, subversion and terrorism with punishments up to life in prison.

Hong Kong was handed again to China from Britain in 1997, but underneath an agreement intended to defend particular freedoms for at the very least 50 many years.

But critics say the law is the “close of Hong Kong”, and stops these freedoms.

“[China] promised 50 yrs of freedom to the Hong Kong men and women, and gave them only 23,” US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said.

  • China’s new regulation: Why is Hong Kong concerned?

The city’s leader, even so, claimed the legislation would “restore stability” immediately after common protests in 2019.

“The legislation of the national protection regulation is regarded the most significant improvement in relations amongst the central federal government and Hong Kong considering the fact that the handover,” reported Main Government Carrie Lam.

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Media captionMany Hong Kong citizens are apprehensive the new stability legislation usually means the ‘one state, two systems’ principal no longer exists

Will there be protests on the anniversary?

A professional-democracy protest is held every single calendar year on the anniversary, typically attended by tens or hundreds of 1000’s of individuals.

But for the to start with time since the handover, authorities banned the march – citing a virus ban on gatherings of extra than 50 people.

Some activists have pledged to defy the ban and march later on in the afternoon.

“We march every single calendar year… and we will preserve on marching,” pro-democracy activist Leung Kwok-hung instructed Reuters.

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EPA

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Tiny protests took place on Wednesday early morning

But one pro-democracy activist warned there was a “massive likelihood of our currently being arrested”.

“The prices will not be light, remember to decide for your self,” claimed Tsang Kin-shing of the League of Social Democrats.

Police officers in the metropolis are on standby, insiders told the South China Early morning Write-up. They said all over 4,000 officers have been poised to cope with any unrest.

What does the new legislation say?

Below the new legislation – which applies to both permanent and non-long term residents – crimes of secession, subversion, terrorism and collusion with international forces are punishable by a minimum amount sentence of a few several years, with the optimum remaining daily life.

Protesters normally focused metropolis infrastructure in the course of the 2019 protests – beneath the new law, detrimental general public transport facilities can be viewed as terrorism.

Beijing will also set up a new safety business in Hong Kong, with its very own law enforcement staff – neither of which would occur underneath the community authority’s jurisdiction.

Inciting hatred of China’s central federal government and Hong Kong’s regional govt are now offences less than Article 29.

  • Daily life sentences for breaking Hong Kong protection regulation
  • Beijing to set up new security place of work in Hong Kong

What was the response?

Minutes soon after the law was passed, pro-democracy activists began to quit, fearful of the punishment the new law makes it possible for.

“With sweeping powers and sick-described regulation, the metropolis will convert into a magic formula police state,” mentioned Joshua Wong, a pro-democracy chief.

The political bash he co-started – Demosisto – was also disbanded.

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Media captionAi Weiwei: “Right now is the darkest working day for Hong Kong”

One particular opposition legislator advised the BBC mentioned the transfer had taken absent the city’s legal rights.

“Our legal rights are (currently being) taken away, our freedom is absent, our rule of law, our judicial independence is gone,” claimed opposition legislator Ted Hui.

In the US, lawmakers from equally functions have released a invoice to give refugee standing to Hong Kong people at chance of persecution, claimed neighborhood media shops.

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Media captionJimmy Lai: China’s security law ‘spells the loss of life knell for Hong Kong’

Less than the countrywide security legislation, many of the acts of protest that have rocked Hong Kong over the past yr could now be classed as subversion or secession… and punished with up to life in prison.

The city’s pro-Beijing chief, Carrie Lam, explained the legislation was extended overdue.

Political activists have resigned and a person professional-democracy protester, who asked to keep on being nameless, informed me that ordinary persons are now deleting posts on social media.

A lot of people today are just halting chatting about politics, and halting chatting about flexibility and democracy, because they want to conserve their personal lives.

They want to preserve their independence and stay away from staying arrested.

A person get hold of of mine, a attorney and human legal rights activist, sent me a message soon following the law was handed.

You should delete everything on this chat, he wrote.

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