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Police Arrest Protesters Under New Security Law in Hong Kong

'Orwellian' fears that China seeks total domination are not unfounded.

Hongkongers fear that China’s ‘Orwellian’ new security law will allow it to get what it desires most, ultimate control over Hong Kong.

Protests have erupted in Hong Kong, as many fear that Hong Kong will be changed forever due to the passage of China’s controversial new national security law. Nearly 400 protestors have been arrested on the first day of protests by Hong Kong police. In spite of the new law, protestors were heard chanting for ‘Hong Kong independence’ and ‘resist till the end.’

Individuals promoting free Hong Kong material have been detained as an immediate consequence of the passage of the new law. These detainees include a man holding an independent Hong Kong flag, a fifteen year-old girl holding a similar flag, and a woman holding a British flag. Police have deployed teargas, rubber bullets, water cannons, and pepper balls in an attempt to quell the protests. The Hong Kong police raised a banner warning the protestors that their actions are likely in violation of the new law. It is likely that both the protests and arrests will continue in the coming days.

China’s new national security law cements its status over Hong Kong and strips Hong Kong of its semi-autonomous status. The law was passed in Beijing with no consultation with Hong Kong officials or no release to the public until it became law.

This law grants China broad powers to control Hong Kong’s security and legal system in order to combat what it perceives to be national security threats.

With the institution of the new law, Chinese officials can call for secret trials along with the suspension of a right to trial by jury. The law establishes the Office for Safeguarding National Security in Hong Kong staffed by mainland Chinese officials who do not have to abide by Hong Kong’s laws.

The law criminalizes, “acts of secession, subversion of state power, terrorist activities, and collusion with foreign or external forces to endanger national security.” These charges carry a maximum sentence of life. It is unclear whether criticism of the Chinese Communist Party is included in the law.

This new law is designed to cripple an autonomous Hong Kong and weaken the push towards democracy as China seeks to defeat any threat that endangers its totalitarian system.

While any nation seeks to protect their citizens from both internal and external threats, given China’s propensity towards human rights abuses and infusion of the CCP into daily monitoring of its citizens, it is almost certain that they will abuse their power to cripple Hong Kong’s democratic movement.

Citizens of Hong Kong have taken to the streets for nearly a year in protest of the expansion of Chinese security into Hong Kong. These protests ignited support for a pro-democracy movement, both in Hong Kong and across the world. Protestors flew American flags yearning for autonomy and democracy separate from China’s system. Despite thousands of arrests, violence, barrages of tear-gas and other weaponry directed at stopping the demonstrations, protestors continued their march to protect the Hong Kong of the past.

Great Britain’s lease over Hong Kong ceded in 1997, as it transferred Hong Kong to China, with the expectation that China would preserve its systems and freedoms. Through this emerged the ideal of one country, two systems. While Hong Kong would be a part of China, it would maintain separate governmental systems and be able to conduct its own diplomacy.

The institution of China’s Security Law may be the death knell for Hong Kong’s autonomy.

 

 

about the author

Alberto Bufalino is a student at Wake Forest University in North Carolina and TAC's summer editorial intern.

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