As the world try to combat Covid -19 Hong Kongers are trying to come to grips with the push from Beijing to impose controversial security laws. The proposed legislation would effectively end one country, two systems status.
While under the darkness of the on going Covid pandic China is planning to push through sweeping national security laws for Hong Kong at its annual meeting of parliament, in a move that critics say will effectively end the territory’s autonomy.
Article 23 of Hong Kong’s mini-constitution, the Basic Law, says the city must enact national security laws to prohibit “treason, secession, sedition [and] subversion” against the Chinese government. But the clause has never been implemented due to deeply held public fears it would curtail Hong Kong’s cherished rights, such as freedom of expression. An attempt to enact article 23 in 2003 was shelved after half a million people took to the streets in protest.
Critics say the measure severely undermines Hong Kong’s legal framework, established under the terms of the former British colony’s handover to Chinese control in 1997. Chris Patten, the last British governor of Hong Kong, described it as a “comprehensive assault on the city’s autonomy”.
Demonstrators, who have begun to take to the streets again, appeared more determined to pursue their demands.
“At this time last year, didn’t we believe that the extradition law was sure to pass? Hong Kongers have always created miracles,” Nathan Law, a pro-democracy activist, wrote on Facebook.
“People will continue to protest on streets,” tweeted Joshua Wong, an activist and former student leader during the 2014 protest movement. “Hong Kongers will not be scared off.”
Lily Kuoo in Beijing, Verna Yin in Hong Kong, and Sean Stark In Sydney
Fri 22 May 2020 04.31 AEST First published on Fri 22 May 2020 00.18 AEST