Chinese Legislature Approves Security
Law for Hong Kong
June 29, 2020
China’s legislature has passed a
controversial national security law for Hong Kong that the United States
and pro-democracy activists believe will further erode the
semi-autonomous city’s freedoms.
The new law, approved Tuesday in Beijing by the Standing Committee of
China’s National People’s Congress, generally calls for the central
government in Beijing to establish a national security office in Hong
Kong aimed at confronting subversion of state power, terrorism,
separatism and collusion with foreign forces. The exact details of the
new law have yet to be released.
The new law caps Chinese President Xi Jinping’s aggressive efforts to
tighten control over the financial hub over the past few years, which
has led to massive street protests by pro-democracy activists seeking
greater freedoms for Hong Kong. The city was rocked during the second
half of 2019 by angry and often violent demonstrations sparked by a
controversial extradition bill that was eventually withdrawn.
The action by the Chinese legislature bypasses Hong Kong’s legislature,
which has the authority to pass any security laws under the Basic Law,
the city’s constitution. Hong Kong lawmakers have been pressured by
Beijing in the past to approve a national security law, but were met by
The law was approved Tuesday on the eve of the anniversary of Britain’s
1997 handover of Hong Kong to China. City authorities have banned the
annual rally marking the anniversary of the handover, citing risks of
the coronavirus pandemic.
Trump administration has taken a series of steps after China announced
its intentions to approve the national security law back in May. U.S.
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announced earlier this month that the
United States no longer considers Hong Kong autonomous from China, and
on Monday ended exports of defense equipment and dual-use technologies
that originate in the U.S. to Hong Kong, citing national security
Last Friday, the United States announced visa restrictions on current
and former Chinese Communist Party officials deemed responsible for, or
complicit in, undermining Hong Kong’s high degree of autonomy, or
undermining human rights and fundamental freedoms in Hong Kong.
A spokesman for China’s Foreign Ministry told reporters Monday in
Beijing it would impose similar visa restrictions on certain U.S.