Hong Kong protest over proposed national security law mixed with tears

Hong Kong protest over proposed national security law mixed with tears
Hong Kong protest over proposed national security law mixed with tears

Thousands of protesters protested on the streets of Hong Kong on Sunday to protest the Chinese government's decision to implement the disputed national security law, threatening the city's autonomy and civil liberties.

Police fired tear gas at the crowd less than an hour after the march began, which did not get official authorization and went against coronovirus social distancing restrictions, which prohibit group gatherings of more than eight people. An online broadcast showed protesters throwing objects at police.

Despite heavy police presence on Hong Kong Island, protesters started gathering around Causeway Bay in a busy shopping district around noon. Attempts to claim that the march was a permission "health talk" were unsuccessful, and the police quickly declared the protest illegal and ordered people to disperse.

However, thousands of people shouted slogans that became a familiar haven in the city during more than six months of government unrest, including "Liberate Hong Kong, the revolution of our time."

Others "fired Hong Kong's freedom, the only way out" and others raised blue flags in favor of freedom. Such activity may be illegal under the proposed security law. Beijing has often resented the separatist sentiment in the city, which is a niche problem but gained influence during last year's riots.

Asked if she was worried about the possible consequences of the 26-year-old Macy Wong raising slogans, she said she was comfortable doing so because others were doing the same.

"Freedom is Hong Kong's long-term goal," Wong said. "It's not possible in the near future, but that's what we want."

Traitor law

China announced on Thursday that it plans to introduce a new national security law in Hong Kong, bypassing the city legislature, which is expected to ban treason, secession and sabotage against Beijing. This will allow mainland China's national security agencies to operate in the city for the first time.

The announcement sparked immediate opposition from opposition lawmakers in Hong Kong, human rights groups and several international governments.

It also sent the city's financial markets with Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index declining by more than 5% on Friday, its biggest one-day drop since July 2015.

Beijing's move involves too much interference in the city, which has largely been allowed to manage its affairs since the former British colony became a semi-autonomous region of China 20 years ago.

The end of "one country, two systems", said pro-democracy legalist Denis Kwok, refers to the principle through which Hong Kong has upheld limited democracy and civil liberties since it was under Chinese control. "Completely destroying Hong Kong."

The move is expected to lead to more anger and protests in the city, which lasted more than six months of increasingly violent riots against the government last year.

Those protests began with proposed legislation that would allow extradition to mainland China, but expanded to include police brutality and calls for an independent investigation into greater democracy.

A law passed later this month by the National People's Congress of China (NPC) will be introduced in Hong Kong in a slightly constitutional manner that would bypass Hong Kong's legislature.

From the city's political arena to the media, education, and international trade, the law will have a wide impact on large sections of Hong Kong society.

Chinese authorities and state media defended the law in the wake of last year's protests and the 17-year failure of the Hong Kong government, as was the latest effort. There were mass protests in 2003.

NPC spokesman Zhang Yesui said on Thursday, "National security is the foundation of a country's stability. Protecting national security serves the fundamental interests of all Chinese, including our compatriots in Hong Kong." At a press conference in Beijing.

Biggest hit after delivery

Hong Kong has always pushed itself to follow the rule of law with an independent judiciary and civil liberties, which are beyond the limits of cross-border permission in mainland China.

These rights are guaranteed (in principle) by the substantive constitution of the city in the Basic Law and an agreement between China and the United Kingdom, when Hong Kong was ceded to the Chinese government in 1997. Unlike Hong Kong, China, it is also a party to international treaties that guarantees various civil liberties.

The new law challenges all of this. By criminalizing such broadly non-defining acts, it could pave the way for the authorities to pursue the city's opposition as they see fit.

In China, extensive national security laws have been used to attack human rights activists, lawyers, journalists and pro-democracy activists. Nobel Peace Prize winner Liu Xiaobo, who died behind bars in 2017 after more than a decade, was convicted of "inciting subversion of state power".

United States Secretary of State Mike Pompeo condemned the proposed national security law and warned that passing the law would be a "death sentence" for Hong Kong's autonomy.

He said, "The United States urges Beijing to reconsider its disastrous proposal, comply with its international obligations and respect high levels of autonomy, democratic institutions, and civil liberties, given its special status under U.S. law Are important to preserve. " . Adding that the United States is "with the people of Hong Kong".

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