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Update on the new Hong Kong security law

by Jacob Siegel

Hong Kong security law appears to be reasonable but upon further analysis, it targets people all over the world.

The controversial new Beijing law was just released, after it was passed. On its face, it doesn’t seem that bad, however, in practice, hundreds of protesters have been arrested on the same day that the bill was passed. But, multiple critics, point to the extra-territorial nature of the bill, stating that it covers everyone globally.

Looking at the text, the text seems to try to make it clear that it’s going after people who commit offenses in the region, and that they don’t have to be from the region to be punished, rather than simply just writing a text that’s anti-China, but, it’s still new, China does not have a good track record when it comes to respecting the rule of law, and already, as, we can see, the police-force were prepped with the passing of the law to take enforcement action against Hong Kong protesters.

Human rights shall be respected and protected in safeguarding national security in the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region. The rights and freedoms, including the freedoms of speech, of the press, of publication, of association, of assembly, of procession and of demonstration, which the residents of the Region enjoy under the Basic Law of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region and the provisions of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights as applied to Hong Kong, shall be protected in accordance with the law.


Beijing is claiming that they are ONLY targeting the “subversion of state power, terrorism, and collusion with foreign entities”, per NPR [1], and, each crime will have life in prison. Beijing will be operating their own national security agency and their national security forces in Hong Kong for the first time that will be only answerable to China.

Per NPR, “With this law being superior to all local law and the Basic Law (Hong Kong’s constitution) itself, there is no avenue to challenge the vague definitions of the four crimes in the law as violating basic rights,” states Michael C. Davis, who is a fellow at the Wilson Center. “Beijing is setting itself as the ultimate authority over Hong Kong giving them no resource in the final decision.”

Donald Clark, a Professor of Law at George Washington, is not alone in stating that the law would be extra-territorial in-scope. It would not just target residents of China, but, article 38 of the law would target everyone on the globe.

Anyone who is an official in Hong Kong has to also swear to China as well according to official text of the law. As CNN originally reported, China stated that the law will only affect a small number of people, in terms of national security. They say they are not going after the Democracy movement and they respect that Hong Kong has a plurality of political beliefs.

Chan Kin-Man, a professor at the Chinese University of Hong Kong, who is also a co-founder of the 2014 Occupy Central protests, states that with the new law, there is no difference between Hong Kong and China, what’s not clear is the global implications that this bill will have– this bill seems more targeted at the protest movement, and protesters have already begun deleting their Twitter accounts, and preparing for the worst. So, it should be clear to anyone right now that what China says and what they do are two very different things.

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