China Passes Draconian Security Law For Hong Kong, Opposition Groups Disband

  • China Passes Draconian Security Law For Hong Kong, Opposition Groups Disband

China Passes Draconian Security Law For Hong Kong, Opposition Groups Disband

In a statement on Monday, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said that the "United States will today end exports of U.S. -origin defense equipment and will take steps toward imposing the same restrictions on U.S. defense and dual-use technologies to Hong Kong as it does for China".

That all 162 members of the National People's Congress Standing Committee voted in favour of the law shows China's strong will to close the legal loophole in Hong Kong, he said.

"It will throttle the city's rule of law, presenting a major confrontation between what passes for law in China and the common law system in Hong Kong, which has allowed the city to function as one of most important financial hubs in Asia".

The new law was met by waves of protests and condemnation from the United States.

At her weekly press conference on Tuesday morning, Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam - a pro-Beijing appointee - declined to comment on whether the law had been passed or what it contained.

A draft of the law has yet to be published.

"Stirring up trouble" is frequently used as an accusation against peaceful critics of the ruling Chinese Communist Party, which has sought to label last year's mass protests for democracy and the preservation of Hong Kong's freedoms as a secessionist movement instigated by foreign powers.

Pompeo announced the decision hours after China in turn restricted visas to some Americans for Hong Kong.

Concerns were also expressed in Taiwan, which Beijing claims as its own territory to be brought under its control by force if necessary.

It is still unclear which specific activities are to be made illegal, how precisely they are defined or what punishment they carry.

Once the law is passed, "the Hong Kong government will announce it and promulgate it for implementation here, and then I and my senior officials will do our best to respond to everyone's questions, especially regarding the enforcement of this national law", Lam said.

Authorities in Beijing and Hong Kong have repeatedly said the legislation is aimed at a few "troublemakers" and will not affect rights and freedoms, nor investor interests.

Hong Kong's 7.5 million residents have yet to see the contents of the law.

The SCMP, citing "police insiders", said about 4,000 officers will be on stand by on Wednesday to handle any unrest if people defy the ban.

The test for China will come if it finds that by locking itself into so many disputes with the bulk of its major trade partners, moves such as clamping down on protest in Hong Kong end up backfiring by damaging the Chinese economy, and pushing previously neutral countries into the American orbit.

A new national security agency, reporting directly to Beijing, will be set up under the ambit of the new law, while a national security committee chaired by the Hong Kong Chief Executive will be set up to implement the law.

The U.S. views the national security law as being in breach of China's worldwide obligations under the 1984 Sino-British Joint Declaration governing the 1997 handover.

The latest development could become a setback for thawing ties between Japan and China despite their differences over perception of wartime history and territory.

Mr Raab said that "we fully intend to see through" plans to change visa rules to offer millions of people in Hong Kong a way to acquire United Kingdom citizenship.

China has hit back at the outcry from the West, denouncing what it called interference in its internal affairs.