World outrage erupts over China’s ‘draconian‘ safety legislation for Hong Kong


Senior overseas coverage lawmakers and senior politicians from 23 nations, amongst them the previous Hong Kong governor, Chris Patten, have warned {that a} new Chinese language safety legislation for the town is a “complete assault” on its rights and freedoms and “can’t be tolerated”.

In a strongly worded assertion, the 186 signatories mentioned that they had “grave considerations” concerning the laws and feared it will jeopardise the town’s future.

“The assertion exhibits rising and widespread worldwide outrage on the determination by the Chinese language authorities to unilaterally impose nationwide safety laws in Hong Kong,” Patten mentioned.

Critics say the brand new safety legislation successfully spells the top of Hong Kong’s present lifestyle. The US secretary of state, Mike Pompeo, has described it as a “demise knell” for the town’s autonomy.

Beijing’s determination to legislate for the territory successfully sweeps apart the guarantees made when the town was handed over to China from British colonial rule in 1997. On the time, Hong Kong was assured 50 years of autonomy, with all civil rights and freedoms preserved for that point.

Pro-democracy protesters hold placards as they march in Hong Kong on 22 May.

Professional-democracy protesters maintain placards as they march in Hong Kong on 22 Might. {Photograph}: Anthony Wallace/Getty

It has its personal police pressure, an unbiased judiciary and freedom of speech, which have been crucial to constructing its standing as a global monetary and commerce hub. All of that’s prone to be threatened by the brand new legislation.

“That is probably the most critical risk to the individuals of Hong Kong that there was from the Chinese language authorities since 1997,” mentioned Malcolm Rifkind, the previous UK overseas secretary and one of many assertion’s signatories. “The individuals of Hong Kong want, and deserve, our assist.”

Offences coated, together with “treason, secession, sedition [and] subversion”, are used to detain and silence authorities critics on the mainland. The draft model of the laws additionally permits Chinese language safety forces to arrange outposts within the metropolis.

And Hong Kong authorities have made clear they are going to use their new powers to crack down on pro-democracy protests which have roiled the town for almost a 12 months.

A heavy crackdown won’t deal with the grievances driving the protest motion, which during the last 12 months solely escalated as the town’s police pressure turned to more and more aggressive ways, the worldwide group mentioned.

“It’s the real grievances of strange Hong Kongers which can be driving protests. Draconian legal guidelines will solely escalate the state of affairs additional, jeopardising Hong Kong’s future as an open Chinese language worldwide metropolis,” the assertion mentioned.

Coverage-makers and politicians from throughout the political spectrum, and around the globe, put their names to the assertion. Within the UK, they embody chair of the overseas affairs committee, Tom Tugendhat, two former leaders of the Conservative get together, and the distinguished human rights campaigner, Baroness Helena Kennedy.

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