On Tuesday, June 16, the British government warned that the national security law currently in force in Hong Kong, which was imposed from the mainland, would undermine its civil liberties as well as its autonomy.
As reported by Reuters, since 1997 Hong Kong ceased to be a British colony and was re-annexed to China, except that it was able to retain its freedoms for another 50 years. An example of this is the independent judiciary that has ruled until now.
“The imposition of the proposed law lies in direct conflict with China’s [the CCP’s] international obligations under the Joint Declaration, a treaty agreed by the UK and China and registered with the United Nations,” Julian Braithwaite, Britain’s ambassador to the United Nations in Geneva told the Human Rights Council.
The controversial security bill that is about to enter into force in the Special Administrative Region (Hong Kong) directly targets anti-government movements, as well as prohibiting the promotion of secession, subversion, and foreign interference.
The measure will have serious effects on Hong Kong’s sovereignty and one of the nefarious results it could bring is greater interference by the CCP’s secret state security agency, a state office in charge of monitoring and detaining anyone considered a threat to the Chinese Communist Party (CCP).
Braithwaite urged the CCP to engage with the people, institutions, and judiciary of the region to “ensure it maintains Hong Kong’s high degree of autonomy and rights and freedoms.”
Referring to statements issued by the British government, Jiang Duang, minister for human rights at the Chinese mission in Geneva, said that Braithwaite had “interfered in China’s internal affairs, which we firmly reject.”
“China’s [the CCP’s] enactment of laws in the Hong Kong special administrative region to safeguard national security is aimed at plugging loopholes … and effectively safeguarding national sovereignty and security,” the CCP official said.
According to Reuters, for several months Hong Kong has experienced intense protests that have had as main protagonists CCP authorities against pro-democracy activists and citizens who advocate for autonomy and sovereignty in Hong Kong.
This is because Beijing has been promoting more strongly the political power of the CCP over the semi-autonomous region, and just two weeks ago a controversial law was proposed that sentences anyone who dares to insult the national anthem to prison for three years.
Ben Bland, a researcher at the Lowy Institute in Australia, told the Business Insider, “Beijing has been intensifying the pressure on the city over the last decade and this moves the campaign of repression to a new, more concerning phase.”