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Chinese Parliament To Impose National Security Laws That Will End Hong Kong Autonomy

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Chinese Parliament To Impose National Security Laws That Will End Hong Kong Autonomy

In a move that can be construed as ending Hong Kong’s autonomy, the parliament of China has passed controversial national security laws for the territory, similar to the ones in place on the mainland.

What Happened

China’s parliament, the National People’s Congress, voted to implement legal measures in Hong Kong that will crush rights demonstrations, and stifle challenges to the communist party’s rule in the territory.

2,878 lawmakers voted for the resolution, with only one opposing, while six abstained, and one did not cast a vote, according to the Wall Street Journal.

Bernard Chan, a member of the NPC and Hong Kong Cabinet, told the WSJ, “I don’t think [the NPC] would ever allow Hong Kong to be used against China—that red line can never be crossed.”

Opposition lawmakers and rights activists in Hong Kong have protested the passage of the law, claiming it undermines the “one country, two systems” formula under which the territory is ruled by China.

Why It Matters

The passage of the law puts China at odds with the United States. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has already informed Congress that Hong Kong is no longer autonomous. 

Hong Kong is now exempt from trade sanctions imposed by the U.S. on China, but the passage of the law may bring the territory under the scope of these sanctions.

According to Joshua Wong, a Hong Kong pro-democracy activist, President Donald Trump is considering a temporary suspension of Hong Kong’s special status as a separate customs territory, which would give Beijing the opportunity to reconsider its actions, reported the WSJ.

The United Kingdom, which used to rule Hong Kong before 1997, has opened the path to citizenship for more than 300,000 British National Overseas (BNO) passport holders in the territory.  

BNO passport holders will be offered full British citizenship unless Beijing rolls back the imposition of the newly passed law. Overseas passport holders have the right to consular assistance but are not British citizens.

 

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