China law requires Hong Kong to enact national security rules as soon as possible

China law requires Hong Kong to enact national security rules as soon as possible

Officials and delegates attend the opening session of NPC in Beijing
Chinese officials and delegates attend the opening session of the National People's Congress (NPC) at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, China May 22, 2020. REUTERS/Carlos Garcia Rawlins

BEIJING: China's proposed new legislation for Hong Kong requires the territory to quickly finish enacting national security regulations under its mini-constitution, the Basic Law, according to a draft of the legislation seen by Reuters.

China's parliamentary Vice Chairman Wang Chen was scheduled to give a speech explaining the new law later on Friday (May 22).  

The proposal to enact the new legislation was submitted to China's legislature on Friday, state media said, a move expected to fan fresh protests in the semi-autonomous financial hub.

In a state-of-the-nation speech opening China's annual parliamentary session on Friday, Premier Li Keqiang said only that China would "establish and improve the legal systems and mechanisms to safeguard national security" in Hong Kong.

But Beijing has made clear it wants to see legislation enacted in Hong Kong to curb a growing pro-democracy movement in the former British colony, which reverted to Chinese control in 1997.

READ: Calls for protest march in Hong Kong as China pushes new security laws

According to the legislation, China's parliament empowers itself to set up the legal framework and implementation mechanism to prevent and punish subversion, terrorism, separatism and foreign interference, "or any acts that severely endanger national security".

On Friday as well, Hong Kong activists made online calls for a march against China's plans to impose national security legislation on the semi-autonomous city which many fear could erode its freedoms and international standing as a global finance hub. 

The proposal has been condemned by the United States and Hong Kong pro-democracy figures as an assault on the city's freedoms.

UK EXPECTS CHINA TO RESPECT HONG KONG'S AUTONOMY

Britain has also said it expects China to respect the rights and freedoms of Hong Kong and that it is committed to ensuring the autonomy of the global financial hub. 

"We are monitoring the situation closely and expect China to respect Hong Kong's rights and freedoms and high degree of autonomy," said Prime Minister Boris Johnson's spokesman on Friday.

"As a party to the joint declaration, the UK is committed to upholding Hong Kong's autonomy and respecting the one country, two systems model," he added.

MORE: Our coverage of the Hong Kong protests

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Source: Agencies/aa

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