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Trending: Call for Papers Volume 3 | Issue 2: International Journal of Advanced Legal Research [ISSN: 2582-7340]

Hong Kong security law: What is it and is it worrying?

 – Ujjwal Vats

What is this law all about?

Hong Kong was constantly intended to have a security law, however would never pass one since it was so unpopular. In this way, this is about China stepping in to ensure the city has a legitimate system to manage what it sees as genuine difficulties to its authority.

Law’s 66 articles details were not told until after it was passed. It criminalises any act of:

  • subversion – undermining the power or authority of the central government
  • secession – breaking away from the country
  • terrorism – using violence or intimidation against people
  • collusion with foreign or external forces

These are five important things which you need to know about the controversial law:

1) Maximum life sentence

The four classifications of criminal offense laid call at the law are: secession, subversion of state power, terrorist activities and collusion with foreign and external forces to endanger national security. Lead culprits and genuine offenders can receive a maximum life, or long-term imprisonment of 10 years and above for offences altogether categories.

In the meantime, harming conveyance and certain public facilities would be delegated as terrorism under the law. a person who composes or partakes in acts planned at splitting the country, whether or not they use violence or not, would be committing an offence. Those convicted would be barred from remaining in any Hong Kong decisions.

2) Chinese jurisdiction over ‘very serious’ crimes

Prior to its passage, the law stoked widespread fears over the death of Hong Kong’s autonomous lawful framework. As indicated by the law, China may assume control over the entire indictment from arrest to trial for: complicated foreign interference cases, “very serious” cases and cases where national security faces “serious and realistic threats”. In China’s opaque judicial framework, criminal cases ordinarily have a conviction rate of over 99%.

Human rights advocates guarantee that some national security cases are almost bound to be politically motivated, with respondents denied the proper to a good and open trial. dissidents, lawyers and other opponents of the govt are routinely focused by China’s own national security laws, and sometimes exposed to delayed extra-legitimate detention and even torture while awaiting trial.

 3) Secret trials, no jury

The law expresses that certain national security cases might be held behind closed doors without juries in Hong Kong if they contained state secrets, despite the very fact that the choice and inevitable decisions would be made public.

City leader Carrie Lam will personally appoint judges for national security cases, yet their terms are restricted to at least one year. Defendants won’t be granted bail “unless the judge has adequate reason to believe they’re going to not still commit acts that endanger national security”.

4) New national security agency

The controversial law enables China to line up a national security organization within the city, staffed by authorities who aren’t limited by local law when doing obligations. “The Hong Kong government has no jurisdiction over the national security agency in Hong Kong and its staff once they are releasing obligations provided during this law,” the text said.

Hong Kong’s Department of Justice is likewise required by the law to line up its own prosecution department for national security crimes, whose head are going to be appointed by Carrie Lam. The law gives police far-reaching powers to gather evidence, comprising of tapping communications and spying on suspects. It can likewise request platforms and repair providers to evacuate data and assist in investigations.

5) Oversight of foreign NGOs and news organisations

Government bodies will take “important measures to fortify administration of foreign and external NGOs and news organisations” in Hong Kong, as per the law. Hong Kong’s mini-constitution guarantees freedom of speech and freedom of the press, not in the least like in China, where the media and every one sorts of public commentary are intensely checked by the govt.

Foreign journalists in China state that they need encountered frequent harassment and intimidation from authorities, while a couple of US journalists are expelled from the country in recent months. The law likewise applies to non-permanent residents of Hong Kong that commit offenses under the law, no matter whether or not they aren’t on Hong Kong soil. Companies that violate the national security laws are going to be fined and should have their activities suspended.

Why are people in Hong Kong afraid?

The law became effective at 23:00 civil time on 30 June, an hour before the 23rd anniversary of the city’s handover to China from British rule. It gives Beijing forces to shape life in Hong Kong it’s never had. Critics state it viably shortens protest and freedom of speech – China has said it’ll return stability. The new law’s key provisions include that:

Beijing has said Hong Kong should regard and ensure rights and freedoms while safeguarding national security – however many despite everything dread the loss of Hong Kong’s freedoms with this law. it’s clear that the law will severely affect freedom of expression, if not personal security, on the people of Hong Kong. Many also are afraid Hong Kong’s judicial autonomy are going to be disintegrated and its legal framework will look progressively almost like mainland China’s. the town is that the main common law jurisdiction in China.

Viably, they’re imposing the People’s Republic of China’s criminal framework onto the Hong Kong precedent-based law framework, leaving them with complete discretion to conclude who should fall under which framework. Some pro-democracy activists – for instance, Joshua Wong – are campaigning foreign governments to assist their cause. Such battling could become a criminal offense within the future. Individuals likewise stress that a danger to Hong Kong’s freedoms could influence its attractiveness as a number one global business hub and economic powerhouse.

Reaction of the Rest of the World towards the National Security Law

As China took the first step to impose a new national security law on Hong Kong, global opposition grew more, with the foreign ministers of Britain, Australia and Canada issuing a joint proclamation of caution about the move and the European Union calling for the need to preserve the city’s high degree of autonomy.

“Profoundly we are worried at recommendations for acquainting enactment which are related with national security in Hong Kong” there was an announcement made by the British Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab with his Canadian and Australian partners Francois-Philippe Champagne and Marise Payne, said”

Without the direct participation of its people making such a law for ”Hong Kong’s” sake, judiciary or legislature would clearly undermine the principle of ”one country, two systems”, under which High degree is guaranteed in Hong Kong.

Besides, they stated, the treaty “additionally gives that rights and freedoms, including those of the individual, of the press, of assembly, of association et al. , are going to be ensured by law in Hong Kong , which the provisions of the 2 UN covenants on human rights (the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights) will stay in power,” they said.

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said something too, saying Britain “expects China to regard Hong Kong’s rights and freedoms and high degree of autonomy.

As associated with the Joint Declaration, the UK is focused on maintaining Hong Kong’s independence and regarding the ‘one nation, two systems’ model, Johnson said by means of a representative.

Likewise, the European Union’s foreign policy chief, Josep Borrell, gave an announcement on behalf of the entire bloc, containing a thinly veiled criticism of China’s bid to unilaterally impose security laws on Hong Kong.

The EU thinks about that democratic debate, consultation of key stakeholders, and regard for ensured rights and freedoms in Hong Kong would speak to the most ideal method of continuing with the appropriation of national security enactment, as predicted in Article 23 of the Basic Law, while additionally maintaining Hong Kong’s self-sufficiency and the ‘one nation two frameworks’ guideline, Borrell said.

Hong Kong’s Basic Law, the city’s small-scale constitution, spreads out the approaches of China on Hong Kong, including the “one nation two frameworks” rule, the local government and the fundamental rights and protections of Hongkongers.

There is developing concern whether Hong Kong’s favorable to vote based system supporters might be in peril under the new law, inciting calls for Britain to perceive citizenship rights for those holding the British National (Overseas) international IDs which were given to those conceived before the handover however do exclude the option to live in Britain. The British government considered the alternative last year, during the Hong Kong fights, however no conclusion was made, apparently because of the Foreign Office’s restriction.

References

·         https://edition.cnn.com/2020/07/13/asia/hong-kong-election-security-law-intl-hnk/index.html

·         https://indianexpress.com/article/explained/what-china-security-law-means-for-hong-kong-and-the-global-internet-6499907/

·         https://indianexpress.com/article/world/china-hong-kong-security-law-6500653/

·         https://www.wsj.com/articles/hong-kong-security-law-11590088410

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