Proposed law ignites fears of ‘one country, one system’ . . .
In a move that has drawn widespread international backlash, China unveiled a new national security legislation targeting Hong Kong on Friday, the first day of the country’s annual legislative session. The National People’s Congress, a largely ceremonial organ in China, is expected to pass the law. In addition to banning secession, sedition, terrorism, and foreign interference, the proposed legislation allows the central government to establish a national security system in Hong Kong if needed. If enacted, the new law would bypass Hong Kong’s legislature and take effect as an attachment to the city's de facto constitution, known as the Basic Law. Democracy lawmakers in Hong Kong have called this circumvention a significant breach of Hong Kong’s autonomy and marks the start of a ‘one country, one system’ model.
Protests resume after COVID-19 hiatus . . .
Hong Kong has been successful in containing COVID-19, and since May it has seen more protests, along with arrests and accusations of police harassment, despite a ban on large gatherings in effect until at least June 4. After the new legislation was announced, protests broke out in parts of Hong Kong, and are likely to escalate. Many are worried that the law would enable law enforcement in mainland China to directly suppress dissent in Hong Kong, further encroaching on the city’s freedoms. When a similar national security law was introduced in 2003 by the Hong Kong government, the move triggered a 500,000-strong demonstration, which led to the proposal being rescinded.
Questions for Canada as US-China rift deepens . . .
Beijing’s latest move on Hong Kong came as U.S.-China relations continue to worsen. On Wednesday, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo warned that Hong Kong could lose its special trade status if it became insufficiently autonomous from mainland China. After news of the proposed law broke on Thursday, some U.S. senators said that they would introduce a bill to target Chinese officials and entities operating in Hong Kong. In contrast, Canada’s response has been more restrained. Both Prime Minster Justin Trudeau and Minister of Foreign Affairs François-Philippe Champagne said that they were concerned about the situation without committing to any further action. Canada’s relationship with China took a turn for the worse after the arrest of Huawei executive Meng Wanzhou in Vancouver at the end of 2018. Since then, two Canadians have been detained in China in apparent retaliation; another two are on the death row.
- Global News: Trudeau says Canada concerned about China’s proposed new law for Hong Kong
- Slate: What the end of Hong Kong’s independence means for the world
- South China Morning Post: Two Sessions 2020: Beijing ‘out of patience’ after long wait for Hong Kong national security law, plans to proscribe secession, foreign interference and terrorism in city