Hong Kong braces for protests on heels of proposed national security laws

Hong Kong braces for protests on heels of proposed national security laws

A woman crosses Victoria Harbour on a star ferry in Hong Kong on May 23, 2020. Hong Kong braced on Sunday for its first protests since Beijing's controversial plan to directly impose national security laws on the city, in what could provide a litmus test of public opposition to China's tightening grip over the financial hub. Beijing on Thursday proposed tough security legislation for Hong Kong, a move that sent a chill through financial markets and drew a swift rebuke from foreign governments, international human rights groups and some business lobbies. In drafting the new laws, which could see the setting up of Chinese government intelligence agencies in the global financial center, Beijing plans to circumvent Hong Kong's lawmaking body, the Legislative Council. The move has sparked concerns over the fate of the "one country, two systems" formula that has governed Hong Kong since its return to Chinese rule in 1997 and which guarantees the city broad freedoms not seen on the mainland. Some local commentators have described the proposal as "a nuclear option" that is part of Chinese President Xi Jinping's high-stakes power play.
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