On the 30th of June, an hour before the anniversary of the city’s handover from British rule, the Beijing Government passed 66 articles in ‘HKSAR National Security Law’, described by the Chinese and the Beijing-appointed Hong Kong government as “a gaping hole in national security,” and that the law was “urgently needed.” and that it will “only target an extremely small minority of people who have breached the law, while the life and property, basic rights and freedoms of the overwhelming majority of Hong Kong residents will be protected.”
However the law’s main premise is that no one can hold signs, flags, leaflets or anything else that advocates for Hong Kong independence, and slogans like “Liberate Hong Kong, revolution of our times” or “Hong Kong independence, the only way out” are now “suspected to be inciting or abetting others to commit secession and may therefore violate”. This ordeal makes it much easier to punish protesters and basically criminalizing the yet ongoing pro-democracy protests.
Protests have been held against Beijing’s new mandates, with the police making around 400 arrests, at least 10 of which were accused of breaking this controversial law, including a 15 year old girl for waving Hong Kong’s independence flag.
The security law is so overreaching that Demosisto, Hong Kong’s democratic party (which does not even advocate for independence) closed its doors and ceased all operations in fear of direct repercussions from the mainland. This was closely followed in droves by activists and groups deleting social media profiles and shut down campaigns.
Other prominent anti-Beijing figures like campaigner Nathan Law have taken a step further and fled the city, as their last defence against tyrannical prosecution has fallen. Even common families, fearing a reign of unprecedented terror, have begun packing their bags and escaping through secret networks towards Taiwan, who has recently announced a humanitarian aid plan for people fleeing Hong Kong, or other countries like Britain, Taiwan, Australia and the United States who have begun proposing special measures that would ‘absorb Hongkongers as refugees’.
This imposition of China’s judicial system erodes the city’s judicial autonomy, and effectively breaks down yet another sector of the ‘One Country Two Systems’ policy implemented 23 years ago. With more than 26 years left until the socialist system of the People’s Republic of China can be fully implemented on the citizens of Hong Kong, the city is looking as if this agreement with the British has already passed.
Written by: Nathan Portelli