It’s a harrowing scene as “pro-democracy lawmakers were dragged out of Hong Kong’s legislative chamber during a row about a Chinese national anthem bill” reported the BBC. China’s ruling communist party has “set in motion a controversial national security law for Hong Kong” which is being deemed as the end of Hong Kong’s freedoms.
Beijing’s proposed law which is known as a “draft decision” until it’s approved by the National People’s Congress (NPC) consists of 7 articles and is intended to ban “treason, secession, sedition, and subversion.” As explained by the BBC, article 4 could be the most controversial, saying Hong Kong “must improve” national security. To do so, “When needed, relevant national security organs of the Central People’s Government will set up agencies in Hong Kong to fulfill relevant duties to safeguard national security in accordance with the law.”
The vague, all-encompassing wording of the security law leaves room for the communist leadership to act in any manner it deems necessary, under the banner of “national security.” Beijing’s measure comes after pro-democracy protests erupted in Hong Kong last year when leadership proposed a bill that would allow for extraditions to mainland China.
Critics say “Beijing is breaking its promise to allow Hong Kong freedoms not seen elsewhere in China” and the “ambiguities inherent in such a law and the broad, generalist framework it would bring to a place which has a very different legal tradition than the communist-controlled mainland,” writes the BBC.
Unfortunately, the new national security law proposal which criminalizes “treason, sedition, and subversion’ is all open to a very wide interpretation. Up to now, the worst charge most arrested protesters have faced has been for rioting.” The national security law is a hall pass for leadership to turn crimes of rioting into treason.
“Terrorism” also comes up in the proposed law. “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” according to the BBC.
Many fear this is the final nail in the coffin for mainland China to have full control over Hong Kong. “This is the largest nuclear weapon the Chinese Communist Party has used in its mutual destruction of Hong Kong” said Jimmy Sham, a pro-democracy activist who played a “leading role” in Hong Kong’s protests last year.