Despite several attempts of coercion by foreign actors, the much-anticipated national security law was approved in Beijing on Tuesday, June 30th.
Following the passing of the law, the Chinese government has revealed certain aspects of law but has yet to publicly detailed the full extent of the legislation. Some of the conditions that have been released implied that any act that attempts to undermine the authority of the Mainland will be severely punished. This can include life long prison sentences.
It was also stated that the legislation would enable the Chinese central government to overrule any local law if there were any conflicts in the region.
This announcement has triggered a wave of responses from the population in Hong Kong. The pro-democracy supporters have expressed concerns towards the new limitations as well as the possible eradiation of the ‘one country, two systems’ form of ruling. Those who support the law that stated that the bill would provide more stability in the region that is prone to protests.
Foreign governments who have previously voiced their strong opposition against such act, have also already spoken out to officially counterattack the approving of the bill.
The UK Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab said “China has ignored its international obligations regarding Hong Kong. This is a grave step, which is deeply troubling” and ensured that the United Kingdom would take the necessary measures once the full legislation was released.
John Ullyot, the Spokesperson for the White House National Security Council, stated “The United States will continue to take strong actions against those who smothered Hong Kong’s freedom and autonomy.”
This followed the press statement released by Secretary of State, Michael Pompeo, on June 29th announcing that the US would no longer export defence equipment to Hong Kong. Pompeo stated that the United States would prioritize their national security and that if the bill were to be passed, they would not be able to differentiate “the export of controlled items to Hong Kong or to mainland China. “
China responded to the US- imposed measure by reiterating that the situation in Hong Kong was a matter of their “internal affair and no foreign country has any right to interfere. “
After the approval, the Chinese authorities have defended their position by saying that the legislation was necessary to combat terrorism, subversion, secession and collusion caused by the anti-government protests that have intensified in the past year. “This is a fundamental solution for Hong Kong to restore order, end chaos and resume stability” stated a document released by the Chinese Ministry of Foreign affairs.
The law was approved the day before the anniversary of the handover of Hong Kong. Traditionally protesters have roamed the streets demonstrating their stance against the interference of the Mainland but this year the rally was banned by the police department due to COVID-19.