The measure, which was unanimously approved, seeks to end the pro-democracy movement that has rocked the semi-autonomous city and has been widely condemned by the international community.
The Chinese regime on Tuesday passed a controversial national security law for Hong Kong , seen by its detractors as a way to muzzle the opposition in the autonomous territory.
Ignoring calls from western countries, the national parliament approved the text, one year after the mass protests in the former British colony against the influence of the central government.
In a few weeks, Beijing will impose this law that eludes the local legislative council and fears the Hong Kong opposition an unprecedented setback of freedoms since the return of the territory to China in 1997.
The text was submitted to the standing committee of the National Parliament on Sunday, a body that reports to the Chinese Communist Party (CPC).
” The national security law in Hong Kong has been officially adopted ,” the DAB, Hong Kong’s main pro-Beijing party, welcomed in a statement on Tuesday.
Several Hong Kong media outlets, including RTHK television and the South China Morning Post, confirmed the news, citing sources close to the case.
With this law, the central government seeks to guarantee stability, put an end to the vandalism that has peppered the 2019 protests in the city of 7.5 million inhabitants , as well as repressing the pro-independence movement.
According to the pro-democracy opposition in Hong Kong and several western countries, including the United States, the law is an attack on the autonomy and freedoms of the territory.
For now it is difficult to foresee the real consequences of the text, whose content is kept secret.
The official Xinhua news agency in June summed up its broad lines saying that the law provides for suppressing “separatism”, “terrorism”, “subversion” and “collusion with external and foreign forces . ”
In the sights of Beijing are supporters of independence and even some foreign countries, particularly the United States, accused of adding fuel to the fire by supporting protesters.
Furthermore, a “national security body” under the central government should be established in Hong Kong for the first time, in particular to collect information.
The idea of giving prerogatives to a Chinese power body in the autonomous territory greatly worries the local opposition. Because the separation of powers does not exist in mainland China , led by the CCP.
“This marks the end of Hong Kong as everyone knew it. With expanded powers and ill-defined law, the city will become a secret #policestate, ”Joshua Wong, one of the leaders of the Hong Kong pro-democracy movement, tweeted Tuesday.
Since its retrocession, the territory has enjoyed broad autonomy in relation to mainland China under the principle “One country, two systems”.
Hong Kong people have freedom of expression, freedom of the press, independent justice and a capitalist system.
But the region is led by a local government whose members are systematically subordinate to Beijing , due to a selection process that alienates opposition figures.
Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam declined Tuesday at the weekly press conference to confirm approval of the law, which she supported.
Western governments have expressed concern in recent weeks about the international status of the city , one of the world’s leading financial centers.
The European Union (EU) expressed “serious concern”. The G7 (Germany, Canada, the United States, France, Italy, Japan and the United Kingdom) also called for the project to be reversed.
Taking the vote for granted and firmly opposed to Beijing on the Hong Kong issue, Washington announced on Monday the end of sales of sensitive defense equipment to Hong Kong to avoid “falling into the hands” of the Chinese army.
The United States already announced visa restrictions on Friday for Chinese officials accused of “calling into question” the autonomy of the territory. China responded Monday with a similar move against “misbehaving” US citizens criticizing the law .
What will Hong Kong’s reaction be from now on?
At first glance, organizing mass demonstrations seems difficult as Hong Kong authorities continue to ban concentrations of more than 50 people due to the Covid-19 epidemic.
With information from AFP