Q&A: What does the new security law mean for Hong Kong?

News Telegraph



ina has passed a controversial new security law, giving it new powers over Hong Kong, following more than a year of pro-democracy protests. But what does the new law involve and what will be its affects? W

hy has Beijing introduced a national security law? Cr

itics of the national security law believe it has been introduced to crush the pro-democracy protests that have roiled the Asian financial hub for the past year, while tightening China’s direct control and bypassing the city’s nominal parliament. T


e UK has accused Beijing of breaching a binding deal when Hong Kong was handed back to China in 1997 to guarantee the city’s way of life until 2047. A

woman walks past a promotional banner of the national security law for Hong Kong Credit: Kin Cheung/AP What do we know? The new law is even worse and more overarching in scope than many had anticipated, introducing life sentences or long jail terms for vaguely def

ined national security crimes, grouped into four sections: subversion, secession, terrorism and colluding with foreign forces to endanger national security. The 66 articles appear to be tailored to crush the Hong Kong protest movement but also contain wide-sweeping “national secu


ity” offences that extend far beyond Hong Kong citizenship or the city’s borders to curb general dissent. Legal experts are alarmed by the text’s ambiguity.  For example, inciting hatred of China’s central government and Hong Kong’s regional government are now offences under Article 29. Beijing will


ave the final say.  The law grants China jurisdiction and the right to take over a prosecution under three di


ferent scenarios  – complicated foreign interference cases, “very serious” cases and when national security faces “serious and realistic threats”. Some trials will be held behind closed doors. Controversially, the law also empowers China to set up a national security agency in the city, staffed by officials who are not bound by l


cal law when carrying out duties. The new suite of powers radically restructures the relationship between Beijing and Hong Kong, toppling the legal firewall that has e


isted between the city’s independent judiciary and the mainland’s party-controlled courts. Both the national security agency and Hong Kong “can request to pass the case to mainland China and the prosecution will be done

by a procuratorate designated by the Supreme People’s Procuratorate and the trial will be in a court designated by the Supreme Court,” the law stated. “No matter whether violence has been used, or the threat of violence used, leaders or serious