China’s top legislative body yesterday released new details of national security legislation to be imposed on Hong Kong, shedding light on a measure that pro-democracy groups warn could undermine the territory’s appeal as a financial center.
The draft bill calls for Hong Kong to establish a new committee headed by its chief executive to protect national security, which would be supervised and accountable to Beijing.
China would also establish a new bureau in Hong Kong to analyze the security situation, collect intelligence and “lawfully handle national security cases,” according to draft language released by the official Xinhua news agency.
The law says the central government would have jurisdiction over an “extremely small” number of national security cases under “specific circumstances,” Xinhua said.
The police and judiciary would need to establish new departments to handle cases under the law, it said.
According to the security law, the Hong Kong chief executive would appoint judges to handle criminal cases endangering national security.
The draft also asks the Hong Kong government to increase efforts to safeguard national security and prevent “terrorism.”
Hong Kong must “adopt special measures strengthening oversight and management” of schools and social organizations, it says.
The national security commission would also set up a position of special adviser, who would be designated by the central government, and provide consultation to the special commission.
Hong Kong should “respect and protect human rights,” while ensuring national security, and anyone accused has the right to defend themselves, the bill says.
The Chinese National People’s Congress (NPC) Standing Committee has the power to interpret the law, which would override any local laws that are inconsistent with its provisions.
Details of the measures to punish acts of secession, subversion, terrorism and collusion with foreign forces in the former British colony had been secret since the NPC approved their drafting on May 28.
The NPC Standing Committee began deliberations on the legislation on Thursday, after a last-minute announcement that it had been added to the agenda.
The law would shape the future of Hong Kong, raising questions about the autonomy of a territory whose global status is a underpinned by its legal distinction from the mainland.
Chinese President Xi Jinping’s (習近平) government decided to bypass the elected Hong Kong Legislative Council and impose the security law after a wave of historically large and sometimes violent protests gripped the territory last year.
The law has fueled resurgent pro-democracy protests and led the US to threaten to revoke Hong Kong’s special trade status, which has helped maintain its role as a vital financial crossroads between China and the West.
The European Parliament on Friday voted in favor of taking China to the International Court of Justice in The Hague if Beijing imposes the security law on Hong Kong.
Hong Kong Lawmaker Fernando Cheung (張超雄) said the details made clear that the Chinese Communist Party “has the power to pick whoever they want” and bring them to the mainland to face criminal charges.
“No doubt, this law has immediately turned Hong Kong into a mainland city,” he said. “I don’t see how the international community would feel secure under this law and I’m sure that there will be an exodus of young professionals in the near future.”
‘NO EQUILIBRIUM’: Taiwan’s increased defense spending is a good step, but it needs to do more to have the ability to deter aggression from China, a senior US official said The US plans to sell as many as seven major weapons systems — including mines, cruise missiles and drones — to Taiwan, four people familiar with the discussions said. Pursuing seven sales at once is a rare departure from years of precedent in which US military sales to Taiwan were spaced out and carefully calibrated to minimize tensions with Beijing. However, US President Donald Trump’s administration has this year become more aggressive with China, and the sales would land as relations between Beijing and Washington are at their lowest point in decades over accusations of spying, lingering trade tensions, disputes about the
CLOSE ENCOUNTERS: Several of the PLA fighter jets that crossed the median line of the Strait came within 68km of Hsinchu, drawing warnings from Taiwan, the ministry said At least 18 Chinese military aircraft yesterday flew into the nation’s air defense identification zone (ADIZ) on the second day of a US delegation’s visit, the Ministry of National Defense said, adding that the military responded by deploying an air defense missile system to monitor their activities. A delegation led by US Undersecretary of State for Economic Growth, Energy and the Environment Keith Krach on Thursday started a three-day visit to Taiwan. The ministry from Thursday started publicizing the actions of the Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA) in Taiwan’s ADIZ on its Web site and Twitter. According to ministry reports, 18 PLA aircraft
ON THEIR OWN: The KMT has decided not to participate as a party at this year’s forum, and if any members do go, they would not be representing the party, Alicia Wang said The Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) yesterday announced that it would not send a delegation “as a political party” to this year’s Straits Forum, after a Chinese TV program described the planned visit to the annual meeting as “suing for peace.” The 12th forum is scheduled to open in Xiamen, China, on Saturday. On Tuesday last week, the KMT announced that former legislative speaker Wang Jin-pyng (王金平) would lead the party’s delegation to the forum, with KMT Secretary-General Lee Chien-lung (李乾龍) as deputy head. However, on Thursday last week, China Central Television’s (CCTV) Yangshipin (央視頻) program, hosted by Li Hong (李紅), included a headline
RIVERSIDE CAMP: As rescuers continued their search for a missing man, Taipower said that the floodgates at a hydro plant on the Lishi Creek opened due to a malfunction Three people have been confirmed dead and one was missing after being swept away by a flash flood while camping in Nantou County’s Renai Township (仁愛), police said yesterday. Six people from two families were camping near Lishi Creek (栗栖溪) when the riverbanks were suddenly flooded just after 4am, carrying away four of the campers — including two children — who were asleep in their tents, police said. A man who was among those swept away was able to climb ashore and call for help, police said, adding that another man had gone missing in the turmoil at the campsite.