Nearly 3 million people sign petition backing China’s security law for Hong Kong
Nearly three million people have signed, either online or offline, a petition in support of the recently-passed legislation to safeguard national security for China’s Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR).
In June last year, unprecedented anti-government protests began in Hong Kong over a proposed extradition bill. The proposal was later withdrawn but the turbulent demonstrations continued the next several months and became more violent, endangering the lives and property of citizens.
The protesters have been demanding Hong Kong’s full secession since then. Beijing says the United States and Britain have been fanning the flames of the unrest in the semi-autonomous international financial hub by supporting the separatist protesters.
Late last month, deputies to the 13th National People's Congress (NPC) voted overwhelmingly in to approve the NPC Decision on Establishing and Improving a Legal System and Enforcement Mechanism for Safeguarding National Security for the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region.
The new law is expected to criminalize sedition, secession, and subversion against the mainland. It would also pave the way for Chinese national security institutions to operate in the city for the first time since 1997, when Hong Kong returned from British to Chinese rule.
In support of the legislation, a newly-established organization, named the United Front Supporting National Security Legislation, launched a petition eight days ago.
The petition, which was closed on Monday, could be participated in both online and through the 5,400 street stands across Hong Kong.
As of Sunday midnight, more than 1.08 million people had signed the petition online, while more than 1.83 million signatures were collected offline, in support of the security law.
"You can see that more than 2.9 million people have signed (the petition) online and offline. I believe this largely reflects the fact that many Hong Kong citizens are in support of the legislation to safeguard national security,” said Tam Yiu-chung, a member of the Standing Committee of China's National People's Congress, stressing that the petition is a reflection of the wish of the Hong Kong people.
The new security law drew criticism from the US, with American President Donald Trump saying last month that Washington would react “very strongly” to the legislation in due time.
Beijing has strongly slammed Washington’s stand on the new law, rejecting it as sheer interfering in China’s domestic affairs.
However, Trump on Friday said that he would restrict Chinese graduate students and start reversing the special status enjoyed by semi-autonomous Hong Kong in customs and other areas in protest against the new national security law.
On Monday, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian during a press conference responded that “any words and actions that harm the interests of China will be met with counter-attacks on the Chinese side.”