05/23/2020 Washington D.C. (International Christian Concern) – International Christian Concern (ICC) has learned that the National People’s Congress (NPC) in China, which recently opened after delaying for about two months, will propose new legislation on national security to tighten its grip on the ruling of Hong Kong.
According to the draft announced by Wang Chen, vice chairman of the Standing Committee of the NPC, the proposed national security law could ban secession, subversion of state power, terrorism, and foreign interference in Hong Kong, as interpreted by the Chinese government.
This law will be listed under Annex 3 of Hong Kong’s Basic Law, a gesture intentionally designed to bypass scrutiny of the Hong Kong Legislative Council. Under such law, any action taken against the government, such as online criticism, publishing of books, and protests, could be punished much more severely than in the past.
The legislation, scheduled to pass at the end of the NPC session on May 28, has already caused Hong Kongers fright. They fear that their autonomy and freedom will soon be stripped away by Beijing. Words such as “immigration” and “Taiwan” soared four times in Google searches since the announcement. Hong Kong stocks plunged 5.6% by the close on Friday.
Anna Yeung-Cheung, founder of New Yorkers Supporting Hong Kong (NY4HK), told ICC, “Of course my concern about the national security law is that Hong Kong’s ‘One Country, Two Systems’ is now becoming ‘One Country, One System.’ During these 20-something years, we can see the deterioration and encroachment from China. Now with this national security law without even passing through the legislature in Hong Kong, we can see the power, coming directly from Beijing, comes and presses on all the freedom of speech and human rights in Hong Kong.”
Eric Cheung, the principal lecturer for the law department at the University of Hong Kong, shared his concern with the Christian Times in Hong Kong, “Perhaps in the future, any teaching by the Hong Kong churches on acting justly after the new law comes into effect, will be seen as subversion of state power.”
The director of the divinity school at The Chinese University of Hong Kong, Ying Fuk-tsang, also added that once passed, this legislation could affect Hong Kong’s freedom of speech, while connections with foreign churches could be seen as colluding with foreign forces. Criticizing some Chinese churches and the Hong Kong government can be regarded as crossing the “red line.”
Gina Goh, ICC’s Regional Manager for Southeast Asia, said, “As Hong Kong is about to enter its one-year anniversary of the anti-extradition law movement, instead of heeding to the people’s demands, Beijing moves to further curb the freedoms and human rights of Hong Kongers. Its deliberate attempt to treat Hong Kong as one of its provincial cities, instead of a special administrative region, shows its disrespect of rule of law. Its reckless action is despised and should be condemned by the world.”