China is proposing to introduce a new security law in Hong Kong that could ban sedition, secession and subversion. The law will also disallow foreign interference in Hong Kong’s affairs. The proposal to enact new security laws was announced ahead of the annual meeting of China’s legislature, which starts on Friday, May 22.
The move is expected to spark mass pro-democracy protests around the island which has already seen months of ongoing unrest. The last time when a sedition law was proposed in 2003, more than 500,000 took to the streets to protest against it – prompting the government to drop the bill.
While Chinese media has said that the move defends national security, others have voiced their concerns over the encroachment on Hong Kong’s democracy. Without giving further details, United States President Donald Trump said the US would react strongly if China followed through with its proposals.
Chris Patten – the last British governor of Hong Kong before it was returned to China in 1997 – has called the move a “comprehensive assault on the city’s autonomy.”
When Hong Kong was handed back in 1997, an agreement between China and the United Kingdom – known as ‘one country, two systems’ – guaranteed that Hong Kong would continue to enjoy a level of autonomy and freedom. This agreement was promised for 50 years and warranted to last until 2047.
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