China passed Security Law in Hong Kong which would restrict public freedom, manifesting the complex relationship between the two.
Crux of the Matter
China passed the Security Law for Hong Kong (HK) on 30 June 2020. The law criminalizes “secession, subversion and collusion” against the Chinese Govt for HK citizens. Critics have expressed strong disapproval of the law, labeling it as “draconian” which would infringe fundamental civil rights.
Previous protests on a similar level occurred in 2019 when China attempted to enforce Extradition Law. The law would have allowed the trial of dissenters of HK in Chinese Courts.
Impact On Civilians
- Severe restrictions now imposed on the criticism of Chinese government.
- China would set up a Security Office in Hong Kong, which would function outside HK jurisdiction.
- Extradition allowed: Dissenters in HK would be put on trial in China by Govt permission.
- Hyper surveillance of citizens and dissenters would be done.
- Definition of ‘sedition’ changed, now also including acts of protest and dissent.
- Chinese government would have stronger control over foreign NGOs and news agencies.
- Lawbreakers would be imprisoned, with sentences possible to be extended for life.
Civilians have started removing posts from social media which criticized the Chinese government, while pro-democracy activists have started resigning from their posts.
History of Hong Kong
Hong Kong (HK) existed as an island under Chinese rule.
- 1842: China and Britain engage in the first Opium war. China loses the war and HK is handed over to Britain.
- 1898: Britain wins the second Opium war, and takes HK on a lease of 99 years.
- 1949: The Communist Party of China wins the civil war, forcing the nationalists to flee to Taiwan and HK.
- 1949-1997: HK establishes autonomous rule and a capitalist economy.
- 1997: Britain grants the rule of HK to China after the 99 years lease expired. China integrates HK with ‘One country, Two systems‘, which allows it to retain its capitalist economy.
- 2014: Mass protests occur as the bill of pre-screening the Chief Executive nominee is passed.
- 2019: China attempts to pass ‘Extradition Law‘, which it withdraws after mass protests.
- 2020: China passes the Security Law. US imposes trade restrictions after concerns over the autonomy of HK against Chinese forces.
One country, Two Systems: Hong Kong & Macau to have their own governmental, legal, financial systems & trade relations with foreign countries, independent from those of the Mainland. It was formulated in the early 1980s by Deng Xiaoping during negotiations with the UK over Hong Kong. It must also be noted that under Hong Kong’s mini-constitution, the Basic Law, Hong Kong was guaranteed its freedoms for “at least 50 years” after 1997.
- The name Hong Kong is actually a phonetic translation of the city’s Cantonese name (heung gong), which literally means “Fragrant Harbour”.
- A series of sit-in street protests, often called the Umbrella Revolution, occurred in Hong Kong from 26 September to 15 December 2014. Its name arose from the use of umbrellas as a tool for passive resistance to the Hong Kong Police’s use of pepper spray.
- A bipartisan group of prominent U.S. lawmakers has nominated Hong Kong’s pro-democracy protesters for the Nobel Peace Prize. In a letter to the Nobel Peace Prize committee, U.S. Senators Marco Rubio and James McGovern recommended awarding the prize to the countless and often anonymous individuals [who] risked their lives, their health, their jobs, and their education to support a better future for Hong Kong.
- Reuters – Highlights: China unveils details of national security law for Hong Kong
- The Guardian – Timeline: Hong Kong
- The Hindu – Explained | What is China’s One Country Two Systems policy?
- BBC – Hong Kong: First arrest as ‘anti-protest’ law kicks in on handover anniversary
- The New York Times – U.S. Halts High-Tech Exports to Hong Kong Over Security Concerns