Joint Statement from the UK, Australia and Canada on Hong Kong

Marco Green
May 22, 2020

Others potentially in the firing line include the thousands of protesters seen at rallies previous year carrying signs advocating Hong Kong independence or booksellers who publish gossipy titles about Chinese political leaders.

"We are concerned about the situation in Hong Kong".

Experts say the aggressive move comes at at a time when China is in a stronger position relative to much of the rest of the world struggling to contain the coronavirus pandemic.

On Friday, campaigners urged mass protests over the weekend against the law, which they see as an erosion of Hong Kong's autonomy.

The Chinese Communist Party is claiming the law is about "safeguarding national security", and so not fit for the LegCo but for the mainland National People's Congress, whose annual meeting starts Friday.

Chris Patten, Hong Kong's final British governor before the 1997 handover, said the proposal signalled a "comprehensive assault on the city's autonomy" and would be "hugely damaging".

Beijing's proposed legislation follows repeated warnings from China's leaders that they would no longer tolerate dissent in Hong Kong, which endured seven months of massive pro-democracy protests previous year. With the world preoccupied with the virus, Beijing is now set to pass legislation that would ban "treason, secession, sedition and subversion" in Hong Kong.

Why is the law so controversial?

The move is also significant in that China's central government appears to have all but given up hope that Hong Kong's administration will succeed at passing local legislation on such a law, amid a hostile political environment and deeply divided city, the report said.

A number of pro-democracy figures in Hong Kong, including Democratic Party leader Wu Chi-wai, said the announcement was the death of "one country, two systems".

Mr. Trudeau reiterated Canada's call for Beijing to de-escalate tensions and "open genuine dialogue between Hong Kong citizens and Beijing".

"Any decision impinging on Hong Kong's autonomy and freedoms as guaranteed under the Sino British Joint Declaration and the Basic Law would inevitably impact our assessment of One Country, Two Systems and the status of the territory", Pompeo said.

The US is now considering whether to extend Hong Kong's preferential trading and investment privileges.

President Trump has also weighed in, saying the USA would react strongly if it went through - without giving details. Some have described the proposed anti-sedition law as a "mark of desperation" after nearly a year of not being able to halt the protests.

It consists of an introduction and seven articles.

"Many people have felt discouraged and helpless, while feeling there was nothing they could do except to watch Hong Kong die, then this national security law came along and our fighting spirit has returned!" said another post.

China will build more medical facilities and expand testing capabilities, as part of medical reforms to prevent the resurgence of an epidemic like Covid-19, Chinese Premier Li Keqiang said on Friday (May 22).

"It is the beginning of direct rule by Beijing, sidelining the authority of the Hong Kong government and the legislative council as designated by the basic law", said Prof Ho-Fung Hung, a lecturer in political economy at Johns Hopkins University in the US.

Now, new legislation is in the works that promises to make that crisis much worse.

Opposition legislator Dennis Kwok also warned reporters yesterday that the law would be the "end of one country, two systems". That too could encompass wide-ranging acts and activities that the authoritarian rulers on the mainland consider far more menacing than those in Hong Kong, or for that matter elsewhere.

But the clause has never been implemented due to fears it would destroy Hong Kong's cherished civil rights.

The United States cannot stop China from doing this, but it can fight back.

It comes after months of pro-democracy demonstrations past year that at times descended into violence.

Mr Wang said the security risks had become "increasingly notable" - a reference to last year's protests.

Beijing's hardening policies also show that it has not understood what caused discontent in Hong Kong in the first place, he said.

If last year's success for pro-democracy parties in district elections is repeated, government bills could potentially be blocked. If these measures are passed, Hong Kong's separate political status will be a mere fig leaf covering the reality of Communist despotism. Wang Chen, vice chairman of the Standing Committee of the NPC, said since the return of Hong Kong, China has been firmly implementing the principles of "one country, two systems", "the people of Hong Kong governing Hong Kong", and a high degree of autonomy.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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