China’s plan to impose national security law in Hong Kong drives fear among local residents and create unrest with pro-democracy activists and calling the proposed law, unconstitutional.
But local leader Carrie Lam thinks otherwise. Lam sought to reassure the public that their “legitimate rights and freedoms” will be safeguarded. She and other politicians who support the law have also said that it will target only a tiny minority of lawbreakers.
Based on a survey by the Hong Kong Public Opinion Research Institute in mid-June found that 49 percent of respondents “very much oppose” the security legislation, while another 7 percent “somewhat oppose” it, Reuters reported. But the survey also indicated that public backing for street demonstrations had softened: Support for protests fell to 51 percent, down from 58 percent in a poll in March.
Foreign ministers from the Group of 7 (G7) have criticized the law and China’s decision to move forward with its plans.
G7 called on China to abandon the law, saying that it would undermine the autonomy of the territory.
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said on Friday that the United States would impose visa restrictions on Chinese officials, including retired ones “believed to be responsible for, or complicit in, undermining Hong Kong’s high degree of autonomy.” He did not name any officials or say how many might be barred.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson of Britain has promised to allow nearly three million people from Hong Kong to live and work in the country. Mr. Johnson, however, has left unanswered questions about how those admitted might be able to obtain British citizenship.
If the law is approved, it will establish a new security agency in the territory to enforce the security restrictions, and Beijing will create its own separate security arm in Hong Kong, empowered to investigate special cases and collect intelligence, according to a summary issued by China’s legislature.
The legislation also gives the territory’s chief official, who must answer to Beijing, the power to decide which judges are empowered to hear trials for state security charges, limiting the autonomy of the city’s judiciary.