Opposition politicians in Hong Kong have spoken up in opposition to Beijing’s proposed national security law for the city, claiming that it violates China’s “promise” of autonomy and freedom to the Hong Kong folks.
“I believe we’re speaking from a really anxious, offended and frightened Hong Kong,” stated Emily Lau, a former Democratic Social gathering member of the Hong Kong Legislative Council.
“The large firms are additionally very nervous, their buyers are nervous as a result of Beijing goes to crack down on Hong Kong, take away our freedoms, our private security, our rule of legislation,” she informed CNBC’s “Street Signs Asia” on Friday.
The Democratic Social gathering is one the biggest opposition political events in Hong Kong, and has the third-largest presence in Legislative Council. Lau is a former chairperson of the occasion.
Beijing introduced the draft nationwide safety legislation throughout the Nationwide Folks’s Congress, an annual assembly of China’s prime legislative physique. The legislation, which Beijing stated is “extremely mandatory,” will prohibit secession, subversion of state energy, terrorism actions and overseas interference, reported Reuters.
Experiences of the proposed laws sparked activist requires a protest march on Friday, probably renewing widespread pro-democracy demonstrations that swamped town for a lot of final yr — however got here to a halt as a result of coronavirus outbreak to start with of this yr.
Hong Kong is dominated underneath the “one nation, two techniques” coverage, which supplies town self-governing energy, a largely separate authorized and financial framework from China, and numerous freedoms together with restricted election rights. It was a framework that was put in place for 50 years, after the previous British colony returned to China in 1997.
A protester holds a flag that claims “Free Hong Kong. Revolution of Our Time” at an illustration on December 8, 2019 within the metropolis.
Anthony Kwan | Getty Pictures Information | Getty Pictures
Lau stated the protests should not a push for Hong Kong’s independence from China.
“We aren’t preventing for independence or the overthrow of the Communist Social gathering with drive and violence,” she stated.
“We simply need the Chinese language authorities to maintain the promise within the 1984 Sino-British Joint Declaration through which Britain handed Hong Kong over to China underneath ‘one nation, two techniques’ that we will protect our free life-style till 2047,” she added.
That sentiment is shared by many different politicians and activists.
Tanya Chan, a pro-democracy lawmaker from the Civic Social gathering, stated the introduction of the draft legislation marked the “saddest day in Hong Kong’s historical past.”
“It confirms one nation, one system,” she informed reporters in Hong Kong, indicating the draft laws is a violation of the “one nation, two techniques” framework.
CNBC reached out to the Chinese language authorities for touch upon the politicians’ remarks however has but to listen to again.
Nobody is aware of for certain what is going to occur on the finish of the 50 years, when the coverage is anticipated to stop in 2047, however Hong Kong’s chief Carrie Lam had beforehand stated the one nation, two techniques” coverage could continue beyond the initial 50 years.
‘Time to place an finish to all of it’
In an editorial published on Friday, Chinese language state media International Instances pushed again at criticisms that the proposed legislation goes in opposition to the “one nation, two techniques” framework.
“Quite the opposite, the draft legislation is a transfer aimed toward stopping exterior forces from meddling in HK (Hong Kong) affairs. It could additionally deter the ability HK extremists. The choice would reestablish a secure atmosphere the place the ‘one nation, two techniques’ precept may work easily,” it learn.
The editorial additionally blamed “inside and exterior opposition forces” for “manipulating safety loopholes” within the metropolis.
“For the yr of 2019, HK didn’t get pleasure from a single peaceable day. It was like a metropolis in an undeveloped nation engulfed in turmoil. Shops and subway stations have been broken, roads have been blocked, and harmless folks have been attacked and burned. School college students have been prevented from attending courses,” it stated.
“As a result of chaos, HK fell sharply within the international rankings. Now’s the time to place an finish to all of it.”
However Lau — the previous lawmaker — stated the proposed safety laws is not going to solely have an effect on the Hong Kong folks. She stated it’ll additionally influence numerous overseas residents and multi-national firms which have benefited from town’s freedom.
“I believe Hong Kong folks should, we now have to face up for our rights, we now have to face up for our ideas,” she stated. “However I additionally name on the worldwide neighborhood … to do one thing for us.”
— CNBC’s Huileng Tan and Lilian Wu contributed to this report.