Beijing is moving to impose new national security legislation on Hong Kong following last year’s often violent anti-China unrest that plunged the city into its deepest turmoil since it returned to Beijing rule in 1997.
Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam wearing a face mask following the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak attends the opening session of the National People’s Congress (NPC) at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, China May 22, 2020. REUTERS/Carlos Garcia Rawlins
The introduction of Hong Kong security laws are on the agenda of the Chinese parliament which begins its annual session on Friday.
Below are some reactions from politicians, economists, analysts, activists and Hong Kong residents.
ERIC CHEUNG, PRINCIPAL LECTURER OF HONG KONG UNIVERSITY’S DEPARTMENT OF LAW
“It is essentially declaring directly that ‘one country two systems’ is null and a failure.
“They think the Basic Law cannot improve the current situation so they need to find another way to handle the issue.”
BRUCE LUI, SENIOR LECTURER OF THE HONG KONG BAPTIST UNIVERSITY JOURNALISM DEPARTMENT
“If the law is enacted, it will greatly impact the freedom of Hong Kong people and the press. On secession, media will overstep the redline easily by reporting or taking pictures of Hong Kong independence advocates.
“On subversion … party security equals to national security. On foreign influence, foreigners who fly in for reporting or monitoring work might be regarded as interfering in local affairs.”
KENNY NG, SECURITIES STRATEGIST AT EVERBRIGHT SUN HUNG KAI
“The market is worried about the national security law. Before 2020, Hong Kong was weighed down by two factors: the social incidents and U.S.-China tensions. The security law could re-focus the market’s attention on both these factors.”
FORMER HONG KONG CHIEF EXECUTIVE LEUNG CHUN-YING
“This law doesn’t impinge on foreign investment, or the freedom of local residents, this is what Hong Kong needs to do.”
STEPHEN INNES, CHIEF GLOBAL MARKET STRATEGIST AT AXICORP
“A horrible risk for markets is that much of the attention from today’s NPC (National People’s Congress) will turn to Hong Kong. The agenda includes an item that would mean the government will tighten its grip over the special administrative region, which could potentially reignite the protests that wracked the city last year.
“But even more worrisome is the global backlash, especially with the U.S.-China hawks circling overhead. A denouncement by the White House, which is most certainly to happen, could exacerbate already tenuous U.S.-China relations and could trigger a global backlash that Trump seems to be pinning his hopes on.
“Indeed, it is starting to look like a U.S.-China summer of discontent in the making.”
JOSHUA WONG, HONG KONG PRO-DEMOCRACY ACTIVIST
“Beijing is attempting to silence Hongkongers’ critical voices with force and fear … Deep down protesters know, we insist not because we are strong, but because we have no other choice.”
MIRHA OMAR, 40, BANKER
“It will definitely affect the free economy. China is increasing intervention.
“In order to maintain its independent status, Hong Kong has to be liberal.”
WONG, 38, WORKS AT LAW FIRM
“It’s like cultural revolution 2.0. We felt like ‘one country, two systems’ was already dying last summer, but now it seems dead to us. Hopefully other countries can do something to protect the freedom we’ve been enjoying in the city.”
LEUNG, 21, CRIMINOLOGY STUDENT
“We kind of expected China to do something to suppress us. This step is too much.”
LEE, 25, WORKS IN HONG KONG REAL ESTATE
“At the moment we are quite lost, because we don’t know the details yet. But of course we are quite anxious. Things are coming very fast. People may lose confidence in investing in the Hong Kong market.”