China unveils details of national security law for Hong Kong
China has unveiled the details of the new national security law for Hong Kong, which has taken effect in the semi-autonomous city amid Western criticism.
According to Press TV, the law will punish crimes of secession, subversion, and collusion with foreign forces with sentences of up to life in prison in Hong Kong.
Mainland security agencies will also be officially based in Hong Kong for the first time, with powers that go beyond the city’s local laws.
Among other details is a ban on violators of the law standing for elections and greater oversight of non-governmental organizations and news groups.
The law further specifies that those who destroy government facilities and utilities would be considered subversive. Damaging public transportation facilities and arson would constitute acts of terrorism.
Under the law, Hong Kong’s leader will appoint judges for national security cases. Mainland authorities will exercise jurisdiction in “complex” cases such as those involving a foreign country, or serious situations that pose a major or imminent threat to national security.
Critics of the law view it as a blow to the region’s autonomy and civil liberties. Protests erupted in Hong Kong after the law was proposed on May 22.
China says the law is necessary to tackle secession, subversion, terrorism, and collusion with foreign forces following violent anti-government protests that escalated in June last year.
Hong Kong’s leader praises law
Speaking at a flag-raising ceremony, Chief Executive of Hong Kong Carrie Lam praised the new law as “the most important development” since the city’s return from British to Chinese rule in 1997.
“It is a historical step to perfect Hong Kong safeguarding national security, territorial integrity, and a secure system,” she said, adding that the law was “constitutional, lawful, sensible, and reasonable.”