The Effects of Hong Kong’s National-Security Law Are Already Clear - Politics | PoFo

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The Effects of Hong Kong’s National-Security Law Are Already Clear
By Doug Bandow
August 20, 2020

The law has emboldened Xi Jinping’s administration to suppress dissent, punish activism, and create fear within the city’s democracy movement.

Just a few weeks after China’s imposition of a new “national-security law” on Hong Kong, we can already see the law’s effects: It has emboldened the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) to suppress dissent, punish activism, and create fear within the city’s democracy movement.

In 1997, the United Kingdom returned Hong Kong, which it had governed for 99 years under a lease extorted from the Qing Dynasty, back to the People’s Republic of China. At the time, the PRC promised to preserve the political autonomy and freedoms the city had enjoyed under the British until 2047. The national-security law and the crackdown it initiated marked the breaking of that promise.

Beijing’s move to exert increased control over the city reflects several factors, first and foremost among them the rise of Xi Jinping. Xi has attempted to strengthen the CCP’s control of China and his control of the CCP, and after tightening his grip on the mainland, he naturally sought to inflict the same fate on Hong Kong. The city’s democracy movement, in turn, erred by forgetting that it ultimately was dealing with Xi’s regime, which had already crushed all opposition at home, and in demanding what the Hong Kong authorities could never provide (full democracy) while delivering what the CCP could never abide (chaos).

Hence the imposition of the national-security law by Beijing, with results worse than anyone predicted.

The NSL criminalizes separatism, subversion, and terrorism. All of those crimes are vaguely defined, with ultimate interpretation up to Beijing, which uses similar restrictions to stifle dissent on the mainland. Special judges will be appointed to oversee national-security trials, which can be conducted in secret. Chinese security agents now operate in Hong Kong and defendants can be sent to the mainland for trial. The law singles out “collusion with a foreign country or with external forces to endanger national security,” which is so broad it could cover something as simple as criticizing Beijing in an interview with a foreign reporter. Under the law, Beijing even claims the power to charge foreign nationals for acts committed overseas, and indeed has already attempted to do so. Those convicted can receive life imprisonment. ... hins-grip/
Of course the law in China doesn't directly say that you can get life in prison for protesting, but these protesters were charged with a multitude of serious laws that could result in them being sentenced to life in prison, at least theoretically according to the law. It all comes down to interpretation of the law by the courts.

Ironically the main point of complaint that these protests were about is China changing its law to give mainland Chinese courts direct jurisdiction and extradition power over Hong Kong.

Hong Kong police have made their first arrests under a new "anti-protest" law imposed by Beijing, as crowds marked 23 years since the end of British rule.

Ten people were held accused of violating the law, including a man with a pro-independence flag. About 360 others were detained at a banned rally.

The national security law targets secession, subversion and terrorism with punishments up to life in prison.

Activists say it erodes freedoms but China has dismissed the criticism.

Hong Kong's sovereignty was handed back to China by Britain in 1997 and certain rights were supposed to be guaranteed for at least 50 years under the "one country, two systems" agreement.

On Wednesday, thousands gathered for the annual pro-democracy rally to mark the handover anniversary, defying a ban by authorities who cited restrictions on gatherings of more than 50 people because of Covid-19.

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said China had broken its promise to Hong Kong's people.

But in Beijing, foreign ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian urged countries to look at the situation objectively and said China would not allow foreign interference in its domestic affairs.

What does the new law say?

Crimes of secession, subversion, terrorism and collusion with foreign forces are punishable by a minimum sentence of three years, with the maximum being life. It also says:

Damaging public transport facilities - which often happened during the 2019 protests - can be considered terrorism

Beijing will establish a new security office in Hong Kong, with its own law enforcement personnel - neither of which would come under the local authority's jurisdiction

Inciting hatred of China's central government and Hong Kong's regional government are now offences under Article 29

The law can also be broken from abroad by non-residents under Article 38, and this could mean that foreigners could be arrested on arrival in Hong Kong

Some trials will be heard behind closed doors​

The article also shows a picture of a man who was arrested for holding a "Hong Kong independence" flag.

Police used their own flag, with writing, to warn protesters that certain slogans and banners might now constitute serious crimes.
The flag stated: "This is a police warning. You are displaying flags or banners / chanting slogans / or conducting yourselves with an intent such as succession or subversion, which may constitute an offences under the 'HKSAR National Security Law'. You may be arrested and prosecuted."

Ahead of the protest, pro-democracy activist Tsang Kin-shing, of the League of Social Democrats, warned there was a "large chance of our being arrested", saying: "The charges will not be light, please judge for yourself."

A man who gave his name as Seth, 35, told Reuters: "I'm scared of going to jail but for justice I have to come out today, I have to stand up."

The law gives Beijing extensive powers to shape life in the territory that it has never had before. It not only introduces a series of tough punishments for a long list of crimes, it changes the way justice is administered.

Trials can be held in secret - and without a jury. Judges can be handpicked. The law reverses a presumption that suspects will be granted bail. There appears to be no time limit on how long people can be held.

Crimes are described in vague terms, leading to the possibility of broad interpretation, and the right to interpret lies only in Beijing. Foreign nationals outside of Hong Kong face prosecution.

In the US, lawmakers from both parties have launched a bill to give refugee status to Hong Kong residents at risk of persecution.
Taiwan's government has said it will set up a special office to help those in Hong Kong facing immediate political risks.​ ... 40892.html
BBC News, Hong Kong: First arrests under 'anti-protest' law as handover marked, July 1, 2020, Michael Bristow, BBC World Service Asia-Pacific editor
Puffer Fish wrote:The national security law targets secession, subversion and terrorism with punishments up to life in prison.

Activists say it erodes freedoms but China has dismissed the criticism.

how comparable would be this to Australia, even more knowing they have shout also to China [1] isnt this hypocrisy!?

probably they see it as softy regulation compared to China!? now arresting even with covid-19 excuses what for "western" democracy would be ridiculous ...
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