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.
https://www.nationalreview.com/2020/08/ ... hins-grip/