Hong Kong pro-democracy campaigners yesterday vowed to take to the streets in protest over what they said was China’s fiercest assault on the territory’s treasured autonomy with its move to impose a security law.
The proposal for the legislation — expected to ban treason, subversion and sedition — was introduced at the opening of the National People’s Congress in Beijing yesterday.
It followed repeated warnings from Chinese leaders that they would no longer tolerate dissent in Hong Kong, which endured seven months of pro-democracy protests last year.
“This is the largest nuclear weapon the Chinese Communist Party has used in its mutual destruction of Hong Kong,” said Jimmy Sham (岑子杰), convener of the Civil Human Rights Front, which organized the rally that started last year’s unrest.
Democracy advocate Joshua Wong (黃之鋒) said that China’s message to the protesters was clear.
“Beijing is attempting to silence Hong Kongers’ critical voices with force and fear,” Wong wrote on Twitter, while also expressing defiance. “HKers will not scare off in the face of wolf warrior policy.”
Hong Kong has been allowed a limited form of autonomy since returning from British to Chinese rule in 1997, with those unique freedoms enshrined under a “one country, two systems” agreement.
However, a huge pro-democracy movement has built in the face of fears that China has been steadily eroding those freedoms.
The Chinese Communist Party yesterday made it clear that the planned law was aimed at quashing the democracy movement.
“We must take powerful measures to lawfully prevent, stop and punish them,” National People’s Congress Standing Committee Vice Chairman Wang Chen (王晨) said, referring to “anti-China” forces.
Article 23 of Hong Kong’s Basic Law states that the territory must enact a law to prohibit “treason, secession, sedition [and] subversion” against the Chinese government, but the clause has never been implemented due to opposition from Hong Kongers fearful it would destroy their civil rights.
An attempt to have Article 23 pass the Hong Kong Legislative Council in 2003 was shelved after about 500,000 people took to the streets in protest against it.
China’s move would circumvent the Hong Kong Legislative Council by having it imposed by Beijing.
Wang said Hong Kong’s delays in implementing the security law had forced the Chinese leadership to take action.
“More than 20 years after Hong Kong’s return, however, relevant laws are yet to materialize due to the sabotage and obstruction by those trying to sow trouble in Hong Kong and China at large, as well as external hostile forces,” he said.
The US reacted swiftly, with US Department of State spokeswoman Morgan Ortagus warning that imposing such a law would be “highly destabilizing, and would be met with strong condemnation from the United States and the international community.”
The Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) caucus yesterday issued a rebuttal to former US secretary of state Condoleezza Rice, who said a fistfight in the Legislative Yuan might have been “provoked from the outside” to destabilize Taiwan. Rice made the comment in an online discussion about the AUKUS alliance of Australia, the UK and the US hosted by the Policy Exchange forum in London on Thursday. On mention of Taiwan, she was quoted by The Australian as predicting that Beijing would use paramilitary forces and acts of sabotage to destabilize the nation. “There was a fistfight in the Taiwanese parliament a few weeks ago
ADVANCING TECH: With revenue on target to reach US$15.4 billion, the Hsinchu-based chipmaker said it is looking to produce 3-nanometer chips later this year Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co (TSMC, 台積電) yesterday announced plans to build a new plant in Japan next year to produce 22-nanometer and 28-nanometer chips in its latest effort to expand its global manufacturing footprint. The Japanese fab is to start operations in 2024, the world’s biggest contract chipmaker said, ending months of speculation. “We have received strong commitment to supporting this project from our customers and the Japanese government,” TSMC chief executive officer C.C. Wei (魏哲家) told a quarterly investors’ conference. “We believe the expansion of our global manufacturing footprint will enable us to better serve our customers’ needs and reach global talent,
KNOWN ISSUES: Fire safety issues were found in the 40-year-old building, which previously housed a theater and restaurants, in 2019, last year and May, an official said Forty-six people died and 41 were injured in a building fire that raged out of control for hours overnight in Kaohsiung, authorities said yesterday. Flames and smoke billowed from the lower floors of the 13-story Cheng Chung Cheng (城中城) building on Fubei Road in Yancheng District (鹽埕), as firefighters tried to douse the blaze from the street and aerial platforms. The death toll rose steadily through the day as rescue workers searched the combined commercial and residential building. By late afternoon, authorities said 32 bodies had been found, while a further 14 people who showed no signs of life were among 55
China’s recent increase in military exercises and warplane missions near Taiwan was necessary to defend sovereignty and territory, a Chinese official said yesterday, prompting Taipei to say that it had sabotaged peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait. China’s military flew 56 planes off the southwest coast of Taiwan on a single day earlier this month, a single-day record that capped four days of a sustained pressure campaign involving 149 flights in international airspace. The purpose of the maneuvers was to “fundamentally safeguard the overall interests of the Chinese nation and the vital interests of people on both sides of the Taiwan