China has passed its controversial Hong Kong national security law in defiance of international pressure.
The new law will give China new powers to tackle secessions, terrorism, collusion with foreign forces and subversion, which activists say will harm the “one country, two systems” status since Britain’s handover in 1997.
The anti-sedition law has been condemned over the past several weeks as a way for China to crush political dissident and to use the new powers to silence pro-democracy activists in Hong Kong.
Following the legislation’s passing, several prominent pro-democracy activists and groups disbanded – fearing immediate repercussions following its enactment.
After months of protests, Hong Kong has seen unprecedented unrest causing the once prosperous, semi-autonomous region to lose considerable foreign investment – resulting in a sharp recession.
News of the national security law’s passing is likely to have an immediate, negative economic impact on the region, with critics saying China has effectively ended Hong Kong’s autonomy.
Prior to the legislation’s passing, Hong Kong pro-democracy activists called on Britain to step in to prevent China from eroding freedoms, fearing their own political persecution.
Most recently, Prime Minister Boris Johnson said Britain would consider issuing 350,000 visas to BNO passport holders if the law was passed.
Separately, the United States has implemented sanctions on China ahead of the law’s passing by imposing an export ban on commercial and military technology to China. The U.S. is also revoking visas for party officials and is currently considering more substantial trade sanctions following the passing of the law.
Beijing will now set up a national security agency in Hong Kong, guiding the implementation of the law where it will have jurisdiction on specific cases – overruling Hong Kong law.