With US' support, Hong Kong has a chance to fight back against China's new law

WION New Delhi, Delhi, India May 22, 2020, 10.57 PM(IST)

Hong Kong braces for new protests Photograph:( Reuters )

Story highlights

The proposed move will see China's parliament endorse, then annex the laws into Hong Kong's mini-constitution, the Basic Law, without any local legislative scrutiny.

Beijing is set to impose a new national security law on Hong Kong following the last year's often violent anti-China unrest that plunged the city into its deepest turmoil since returning to Chinese rule in 1997.

The move is being seen as a turning point, as it would allow China to garner greater control and a sense of security over Hong Kong.

It's also said that the Chinese proposal to impose national security laws on Hong Kong could see mainland intelligence agencies set up bases there, raising fears of direct law enforcement and what US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo called a "death knell" for the city's autonomy.

Communist Party rulers in Beijing unveiled details on Friday at the National People's Congress.

Some pro-democracy lawmakers denounced the plans as "the end of Hong Kong".

Foreign diplomats fear establishing new Beijing agencies in Hong Kong could give mainland security and intelligence officers enforcement powers that could potentially put rights and freedoms, protected in the handover agreement, at risk.

DRAFT PROPOSAL

The proposed move will see China's parliament endorse, then annex the laws into Hong Kong's mini-constitution, the Basic Law, without any local legislative scrutiny.

The document said the laws will safeguard the central government's "overall jurisdiction" as well as Hong Kong's "high autonomy" given Hong Kong's "increasingly notable national security risks".

When needed, relevant national security organs of the Central People's Government will set up agencies in Hong Kong to safeguard national security, the draft said.

US STEPS IN

The proposals could also heighten tensions between Beijing and Washington, whose relationship is already frayed by trade disputes and reciprocal accusations over handling of the coronavirus pandemic.

US President Donald Trump warned Washington would react "very strongly" if Beijing went ahead with the security law.

Pompeo said the "disastrous proposal" would be the "death knell" for Hong Kong's autonomy and that the United States stood with the people of Hong Kong.

The US State Department warned a high degree of autonomy and respect for human rights were key to preserving the territory's special status in US law, which has helped it maintain its position as a world financial centre.

In fact, the US Senate in the meantime is set to propose a bill to punish Chinese entities and officials involved with enforcing this proposed law. 

Under this, the US will identify entities and officials who back China's law, and then will penalise and punish banks that do business with them -- hitting China where it hurts the most.

Hong Kong has, time and again, stood up to China's oppression and with US's support this time, it remains to be what its plan of action would be.