China expands scope of Hong Kong security legislation: Reports

China expands scope of Hong Kong security legislation: Reports

A man walks past barricades that have been erected near the Legislative Council
A man walks past extra barricades that have been erected near the Legislative Council in Hong Kong on May 26, 2020, ahead of planned protests on May 27. (Photo: AFP/Anthony Wallace)

HONG KONG: Beijing has expanded the scope of draft national security legislation to include organisations as well as individuals, Hong Kong media reported on Wednesday (May 27), a move that is likely to exacerbate concerns over freedoms in the financial hub.

The news comes after China last week proposed national security laws for Hong Kong that drew a swift rebuke from international rights groups and Western governments, with the United States branding it a "death knell" for the city's autonomy.

The law was being revised to cover not just behaviour or acts that endanger national security, but also activities, local broadcaster RTHK and the South China Morning Post reported.

"Chinese lawyers who have handled national security cases in the past say this change could bring not just individuals, but also organisations under the scope of the law," RTHK said.

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The security legislation could pave the way for Chinese security agencies to open up branches in Hong Kong. It targets secession, subversion, terrorism and foreign interference - terms that are increasingly used by authorities to describe last year's protests.

The law has revived mass protests by demonstrators who say China aims to curb the freedoms enjoyed in Hong Kong, a global financial centre with broad autonomy.

Authorities in Beijing and Hong Kong insist there is no threat to the city's freedoms. 

MORE: Our coverage of the Hong Kong protests

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Source: Reuters/lk

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