China’s top legislature has passed the Hong Kong National Security Law to be promulgated without local legislative control. According to local media, it received all 162 votes for it.
The law must be monitored by the Hong Kong Fundamental Rights Committee before it enters into force in the city. This could happen on Wednesday.
Critics say that legislation – designed to prevent and stop acts that threaten national security – would hamper freedoms and political disagreements after months of sometimes violent demonstrations for democracy.
Shortly after the news program, Chief Executive Carrie Lam refused to answer reporters’ questions about the law’s adoption at a weekly press conference ahead of their Executive Council meeting, saying that it was inappropriate for them to comment.
“In the past two days there has been a lot of speculation and reports about the clauses and the personnel agreement. So I think it is currently inappropriate to respond to questions or relevant explanations, ”she said.
The chairman is expected to speak to the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva by video today.
On Sunday Joshua Rosenzweig, head of the China team at Amnesty International, asked Beijing to reconsider: “Hong Kong is on the brink of an uncertain and troubling future. His freedoms are threatened by national security laws, which could override the city’s laws to protect residents from the worst excesses of state-sponsored repression, ”he said.
“The Chinese government must abandon plans to pass a national security law for Hong Kong unless it can provide watertight guarantees that the law will be fully respected in all respects.”
State news agency Xinhua last Saturday reported initial details of the draft, including plans to set up a Beijing-run national security office in Hong Kong, which will allow the director-general to select judges for the treatment of national security crimes while at the same time empowering the Chinese authorities determine in such cases.
More will follow.