_113174775_hi062221932 Hong Kong: 'Anti-protest' legislation kicks in as metropolis marks handoverPicture copyright
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Carrie Lam at a flag-raising ceremony in Hong Kong on Wednesday


Hong Kong is marking 23 years since British rule ended as a brand new “anti-protest” legislation, imposed by Beijing, comes into impact.

The nationwide safety legislation targets secession, subversion and terrorism with punishments as much as life in jail.


Hong Kong was handed again to China from Britain in 1997, below an settlement supposed to guard sure freedoms for at the very least 50 years.

However critics say the legislation is the “finish of Hong Kong”, and stops these freedoms.

“[China] promised 50 years of freedom to the Hong Kong people, and gave them solely 23,” US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo mentioned.

China’s new legislation: Why is Hong Kong fearful?

Town’s chief, nevertheless, mentioned the legislation would “restore stability” after widespread protests in 2019.

“The [new law] is taken into account crucial growth in relations between the central authorities and Hong Kong because the handover,” mentioned Chief Government Carrie Lam.

On the similar time, a Chinese language official bristled at overseas critics, asking them: “What’s this obtained to do with you?”

“We Chinese language is not going to be scared by anybody,” mentioned Zhang Xiaming of the Hong Kong and Macao Affairs workplace of the State Council. “Gone are the times once we needed to take cues from others.”

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EPA

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Small protests passed off on Wednesday morning

Will there be mass protests on the anniversary?

A pro-democracy protest is held annually on the anniversary, usually attended by tens or tons of of hundreds of people.

However for the primary time because the handover, authorities banned the march – citing a virus ban on gatherings of greater than 50 people.

Some activists have pledged to defy the ban and march later within the afternoon.

“We march yearly… and we’ll carry on marching,” pro-democracy activist Leung Kwok-hung instructed Reuters.

Photographs on social media – confirmed by police as real – confirmed a flag getting used to warn protesters in regards to the new legislation.

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One pro-democracy activist warned there was a “giant likelihood of our being arrested”.

“The costs is not going to be mild, please decide for your self,” mentioned Tsang Kin-shing of the League of Social Democrats.

Law enforcement officials within the metropolis are on standby, insiders instructed the South China Morning Put up. They mentioned round 4,000 officers had been poised to deal with any unrest.

What does the brand new legislation say?

Below the brand new legislation, crimes of secession, subversion, terrorism and collusion with overseas forces are punishable by a minimal sentence of three years, with the utmost being life.

Protesters usually focused metropolis infrastructure through the 2019 protests, and below the brand new legislation, damaging public transport amenities could be thought-about terrorism.

Beijing will even set up a brand new safety workplace in Hong Kong, with its personal legislation enforcement personnel – neither of which might come below the native authority’s jurisdiction.

Inciting hatred of China’s central authorities and Hong Kong’s regional authorities at the moment are offences below Article 29.

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Media captionMany Hong Kong residents are fearful the brand new safety legislation means the ‘one nation, two programs’ principal not exists

The legislation can be damaged from overseas by non-residents, below Article 38.

This might imply that foreigners could possibly be arrested in the event that they step into Hong Kong, if they’re suspected of breaking the brand new legislation.

Some critics feared the legislation would apply retroactively – that’s, to offences dedicated earlier than the legislation was handed – however Mr Zhang mentioned that might not be the case.

He added that suspects arrested in Hong Kong on costs of violating the legislation could also be tried on the mainland.

Life sentences for breaking Hong Kong safety legislation
Beijing to arrange new safety workplace in Hong Kong

What was the response?

Mr Pompeo mentioned the “draconian” legislation “destroyed Hong Kong’s autonomy”.

“Hong Kong demonstrated to the world what a free Chinese language people may obtain – one of the crucial profitable economies and vibrant societies on the earth” he mentioned.

“However Beijing’s paranoia and concern of its personal people’s aspirations have led it to eviscerate the very basis of the territory’s success.”

In the meantime, Canada has up to date its Hong Kong journey recommendation, saying: “You could be at elevated danger of arbitrary detention on nationwide safety grounds and attainable extradition to mainland China.”

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Media captionAi Weiwei: “In the present day is the darkest day for Hong Kong”

Minutes after the legislation was handed on Tuesday, pro-democracy activists started to stop, afraid of the punishment the brand new legislation permits.

“With sweeping powers and ill-defined legislation, the town will flip right into a secret police state,” mentioned Joshua Wong, a pro-democracy chief.

The political get together he co-founded – Demosisto – was additionally disbanded.

One opposition legislator instructed the BBC mentioned the transfer had taken away the town’s rights.

“Our rights are (being) taken away, our freedom is gone, our rule of legislation, our judicial independence is gone,” mentioned opposition legislator Ted Hui.

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Media captionJimmy Lai: China’s safety legislation ‘spells the dying knell for Hong Kong’

Within the US, lawmakers from each events have launched a invoice to provide refugee standing to Hong Kong residents prone to persecution, reported native media retailers.

Taiwan’s authorities has mentioned it might arrange a particular workplace to assist these in Hong Kong going through instant political dangers.

Below the nationwide safety legislation, most of the acts of protest which have rocked Hong Kong over the previous 12 months may now be classed as subversion or secession… and punished with as much as life in jail.

Town’s pro-Beijing chief, Carrie Lam, mentioned the legislation was lengthy overdue.

Political activists have resigned and one pro-democracy protester, who requested to stay nameless, instructed me that atypical people at the moment are deleting posts on social media.

Many people are simply stopping speaking about politics, and stopping speaking about freedom and democracy, as a result of they need to save their very own lives.

They need to save their freedom and keep away from being arrested.

One contact of mine, a lawyer and human rights activist, despatched me a message shortly after the legislation was handed.

Please delete all the things on this chat, he wrote.

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