Hong Kong Security Legislation: A new chapter of China-Hong Kong ControversyJuly 8, 2020
SHOULD PM FUNDS BE SHUNNED FROM THE AMBIT OF RTI ACT, 2005?July 9, 2020
In the midst of coronavirus outbreak throughout the world and in the times of pandemic during these darkest hours in the history of mankind a nation’s worst nightmare is having political tension within their country. Recently, the world witnessed hundreds of thousands of people protesting in Hong Kong against an Extradition Bill 2019 and the new National Security Law. This drafted legislation would enable extradition of fugitive offenders to mainland China but the people of Hong Kong fear this law because they think this law would enable the Chinese government to interfere in their legal system and their autonomy will be in danger.
This Civil unrest has been among the biggest throughout the antiquity of Hong Kong and is another clear indication of skyrocketing terror and wrath over the erosion of civil liberties which will also soon differentiate the de facto independent sphere of influence from the Chinese Mainland. Hong Kong’s connection to Beijing’s central government seems to be complex and constantly changing over time. So here’s the key to this context.
IS HONG KONG A PART OF CHINA?
Yes, one can say that Hong Kong is a part of China but it is not as simple as it seems to be because there’s some complexity to it. Here’s why :
Back in 1997, Hong Kong, a former British colony, was given back to China under a policy known as “one country, two systems,” that further pledged significant level freedom and sovereignty for the region. The agenda also helped safeguard the civil service of Hong Kong, autonomous judiciary, anarchic media, accessible network, and other characteristics that differentiate it from the Chinese mainland.
But in 2047 that freedom and sovereignty, allowed underneath a mini-constitution regarded as Basic Law, will lapse. Nevertheless, already when Hong Kong is projected to lose its distinct identity, this same Basic Law has been crippled and the governing Chinese communist party and its secret services are immensely invading Hong Kong, for instance, they have been abducting booksellers and a Chinese-born billionaire.
WHY IS BEIJING INTERVENING IN HONG KONG?
This is simply because the ruling communist party of China which is being led by President Xi Jinping is seeking further tightening of controls across China. President Xi Jinping, who assumed the presidency in 2012, has challenged increasingly bold criticism. Hong Kong seems to be an essential criterion because it has a politically active population of federalist-democracy anarchists and legislators. Tens of thousands engaged in the protest demanding free elections which took possession of major highways in late 2014 and massive gatherings participated in an annual memorial service commemorating Beijing’s 1989 crackdown on Tiananmen Square.
However, the Basic Law ensures that the Chinese government could never put an authoritarian dictatorship on criticism of the government in Hong Kong, as they used to across the nation and in the sovereign states of Tibet and Xinjiang. Critics think that politically pressured Beijing chipped away, through certain other mechanisms — for instance, the extradition plan — the autonomy of Hong Kong’s bureaucracies.
WHAT IS THE EXTRADITION PLAN?
This law will authorize Hong Kong, in countries and regions with which it has no official extradition treaties, like Taiwan and the Chinese mainland, to arrest and expel people it wishes. Hong Kong’s chief executive, Carrie Lam, stated that the proposed bill is desperately required to convict a Hong Kong citizen who was already sought in Taiwan regarding his girlfriend’s assassination. Critics claim that the proposed bill will authorize literally anybody in the region to be arrested and imprisoned in mainland China, a place where the judiciary always executes the Chinese communist party’s orders. They suspect that this proposed policy will not only tackle violent offenders but also social dissidents. This extradition document outlines 37 offences. This document avoids the political offences, however, individuals argue that the law will allow the modicum of abductions to the homeland, some of which have occurred in Hong Kong throughout recent times. Taiwan, a self-governing system of government, stated that they will not abide by any extradition treaty which establishes it as a province of china. With Taiwan suspending the extradition bill 2019, comes the suspension of the bill by the Hong Kong’s chief executive, Carrie Lam, which is being considered as China’s biggest political retreat under President Xi Jinping.
WHETHER CHINA’S NEWEST NATIONAL SECURITY LEGISLATION ANNIHILATE THE CURRENT REVERED LAW & ORDER OF HONG KONG?
After a proposition by China’s governing council, the National People’s Congress (NPC), authorizing its general assembly to frame national security legislation for Hong Kong, civil unrest is going rampant in Hong Kong. The ruling, which was documented in secrecy, is expected to become a practice by August 2020. Article 18 of Hong Kong’s Basic Law explicitly prohibits Beijing from implementing federal laws to the region, other than in defense and foreign relations concerns.
However, the NPC ruling changes everything. Not only does it empower the general assembly to introduce such a bill, but it also permits the legislation to be enforced through enactment into Hong Kong’s Basic Law.
WHO OPPOSES THE PLAN?
This same proposal has provoked protests from citizens throughout Hong Kong who suspect they might eventually wind up in a mainland judicial framework where opposition figures and many others are promptly prosecuted by the communist regime for partisan purposes. These ongoing 2019-2020 protests across Hong Kong against an extradition bill 2019 are considered to be the city’s biggest ongoing protests in recent five years, and therefore leading it to feuds at the judiciary in Hong Kong recently.
These ongoing protests, which spread for even more than a mile via city skyscrapers creeks, seemed to be the biggest since around 2003 when quarter a million protestors expressed opposition to a Beijing-backed bill of national security legislation forbidding sedition, manipulation, and conspiracy against the Chinese communist party. As per the latest University of Hong Kong survey, the opposing party to that same extradition bill is even greater. China ‘s highest house of representatives, the National People’s Congress, is now struggling to decide on a new national security bill for the Special Administrative Region of Hong Kong (SAR), intended to discourage and prosecute practices that endanger China’s national stability, including traitorousness, separatism and insurgency.
UNITED STATES OF AMERICA CONSIDERS HONG KONG NO LONGER AUTONOMOUS FROM CHINA?
U.S. State Secretary Mike Pompeo on May 27, 2020, declared to Congress that the American government no longer recognizes Hong Kong as supremely independent from China. As a matter of fact, he made clear that “Hong Kong does not continue to warrant treatment under U.S. laws in the same way that U.S. laws were applied to Hong Kong before July 1997.” As the Washington Post published, Pompeo’s statement “could have far-reaching ramifications in its trade relationship with the U.S.” Pompeo’s statement reflects China’s decision last week of a national security policy directed at “improving the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region’s (HKSAR) legal system and enforcement mechanisms.” Pompeo commented on the controversial legislation, reiterating that it is “only the latest in a series of actions that fundamentally undermine Hong Kong’s autonomy and freedoms.”
WHAT’S NEXT FOR HONG KONG?
Article 23 of the Basic Law, the mini-constitution of Hong Kong, declares that the government of Hong Kong will enact its very own interpretation of national security legislation which forbids separatism, incitement as well as repression of the centralized administration.
In 2003, the Hong Kong administrations were compelled to revoke a proposal that would have enforced the provision after the vast majority of Hong Kong protesters marched in the streets in response to the proposal.
Under the latest rule, Beijing bypasses the Hong Kong government. The recent decision by the Chinese government grants the NPC advisory council to create the new proposed regulations on its own. When it is published, the Administration of Hong Kong is expected to promptly enforce the legislation. Anti-regime demonstrations in Hong Kong that fell into a slump throughout the coronavirus epidemic after most of 2019 enveloping the region resumed recently after Beijing revealed the new national security laws.
Authorities shot spike pellets recently and detained more than 360 protesters again during a rally over a new law for the national anthem.
Given the difficulties that Hong Kong faces, the dissonant movements have demonstrated the iconic essence of Hong Kong’s social context, and the willingness of its people to share their opinions domestically and globally. The intensity and size of the demonstrations further illustrate serious misalignments in Hong Kong, spanning from a basic distrust of Beijing to feelings of localism or democracy, protectionist political correctness, and socioeconomic concerns. Such actions go beyond concerns regarding ‘one country, two systems’ constitutional structure. There seems to be little possibility that Hong Kong’s issues will be rectified considering the extent of the trauma and resentment. So far there is no majority about the appearance of a diplomatic compromise yet.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Saurav Kumar is a 2nd-year law student at National Law University, Odisha.
In Content Picture Credit: ThoughtCo