China on Tuesday unveiled details of its contentious new national security law for Hong Kong, ending weeks of uncertainty that have exacerbated concerns over Beijing’s erosion of freedoms in the global financial hub.
Riot police patrol at a shopping mall during a protest after China’s parliament passes a national security law for Hong Kong, in Hong Kong, China June 30, 2020. REUTERS/Tyrone Siu
Beijing passed the legislation on Tuesday, bypassing the city’s local parliament and setting the stage for the most radical changes to the former British colony’s way of life since it returned to Chinese rule 23 years ago.
The law defines four crimes: separatist activity, state subversion, terrorist activity and collusion with foreign forces.
Beijing said the legislation was necessary after sometimes violent anti-government and anti-Beijing protests rocked the city since June last year, plunging it into its biggest crisis in decades. Protesters are angry at what they see as Beijing’s tightening squeeze on Hong Kong’s affairs.
China denies interfering and accuses Britain and the United States of fomenting the unrest.
Following are details of the law, which took effect at 1500 GMT.
* The security law overrides existing Hong Kong laws.
* Crimes of secession, subversion, terrorism and collusion with foreign forces punishable by up to life in prison.
* The activities of a new national security agency and its personnel in Hong Kong will not be under the jurisdiction of local government.
* Mainland authorities will exercise jurisdiction in “complex” cases such as those involving a foreign country or issues that pose a major and imminent threat to national security.
* Companies or groups that violate national security law will be fined and could have operations suspended.
* Property related to crimes under the new law could be frozen or confiscated.
* Damaging certain transportation vehicles and equipment will be considered an act of terrorism.
* Anyone convicted of violating security legislation will not be allowed to stand in any Hong Kong elections.
* Authorities can surveil and wire-tap persons suspected of endangering national security.
* The law will apply to permanent and non-permanent residents of Hong Kong.
* The management of foreign NGOs and news agencies in Hong Kong will be strengthened.