Details of China's national security law for Hong Kong unveiled

Details of China's national security law for Hong Kong unveiled

A controversial national security law imposed by China on Hong Kong has come into force, punishing crimes of secession, sedition and collusion with foreign forces with terms of up to life in prison. Beijing says the law is necessary to deal with separatism and foreign interference, but critics fear the legislation, which was approved in record time and not made public until after it was passed on Tuesday, will outlaw dissent and destroy the autonomy promised when Hong Kong was returned from the United Kingdom to China in 1997. Chinese President Xi Jinping signed the contentious law some 40 days after the introduction of the bill by the central government in Beijing. It took effect from 15:00 GMT, an hour before the 23rd anniversary of the handover of the former British territory to Chinese rule. The new suite of powers radically restructures the relationship between Beijing and Hong Kong, toppling the legal firewall that has existed between the city's independent judiciary and the mainland's party-controlled courts. It empowers China to set up a national security agency in the city, staffed by officials who are not bound by local laws when carrying out duties. It outlaws four types of national security crimes: subversion, secession, terrorism and colluding with foreign forces to endanger national security. The full text of the law gave three scenarios when China might take over a prosecution: complicated foreign interference cases, "very serious" cases and when national security faces "serious and realistic threats". "Both the national security agency and Hong ...
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