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China's national security office to open permanent base in Hong Kong

China's national security office to open permanent base in Hong Kong

Hong Kong and Chinese national flags are flown behind a pair of surveillance cameras outside the Central Government Offices in Hong Kong, Jul 20, 2020. (File photo: REUTERS/Tyrone Siu)

HONG KONG: Hong Kong is to grant a site on the western Kowloon peninsula, close to the high-speed railway to the mainland, to Beijing's national security office for its permanent base in the city, the government said on Friday (Apr 23).

The office, which operates beyond the scrutiny of local courts or other institutions, will oversee the Hong Kong government's enforcement of sweeping national security legislation that Beijing imposed on the city in June.

China opened the office last July, temporarily turning a hotel near a city-centre park on Hong Kong island that has been one of the most popular venues for protests into its new headquarters.

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The national security law has allowed officers from China's security forces to take enforcement action in the city for the first time.

The Hong Kong government said the site, measuring about 11,500 sq m, is zoned for government use and the national security office would bear all construction costs.

The former British colony of Hong Kong returned to Chinese rule in 1997 with the guarantee of continued freedoms.

Activists say those freedoms are being whittled away, especially with the national security law cracking down on dissent. China denies the charge.

Source: Reuters/dv

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