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National Security Law Hong Kong Explained

As part of China`s security presence in Hong Kong, the law provides for the establishment of the CPG`s Office of National Security Protection in the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region, an office exempt from Hong Kong`s jurisdiction[8] that can prosecute cases under the Criminal Procedure Code of the People`s Republic of China if the central people`s government of the PRC decides to do so. transfer its jurisdiction. [124] On July 3, 2020, Zheng Yanxiong was appointed bureau chief. Zheng is credited with a strong nationalist view of national security, including an aversion to the media. [125] On July 6, 2020, the Hong Kong government published the rules for implementing Article 43. [6] The rules allow Hong Kong police to search private property without a warrant, restrict suspects` freedom of movement, freeze their assets, and intercept communications. Police may also require publishers, hosting providers, and internet service providers to remove or disable content or restrict access to content that police believe may constitute a criminal offense under the National Security Act. If providers don`t cooperate immediately, the police can confiscate the devices and remove the content themselves. [6] [7] The law could lead Hong Kong to adopt many harsh legal practices in mainland China, experts said. In general, the law stipulates that the rights of suspects and accused persons must be respected in national security cases.

But aside from the presumption of innocence and the right to defend oneself, it does not provide much clarity on these protections and leaves open the danger that some of the harsh and irresponsible practices common on the mainland could spread to Hong Kong. Article 23 of Hong Kong`s Basic Law states that the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region „shall itself enact laws” to ensure the security of the region and prevent political institutions outside the region from „carrying out political activities in the region” or otherwise interfering with Hong Kong`s independent security:[10] On June 15, 2020, on the 30th anniversary of the official entry into force of the Basic Law, Beijing announced that the Chinese government reserves the right to process cases under the national security law, as it expects the number to be low and under „very special circumstances,” and that a Hemispheric Security Office be opened in Hong Kong at the request of the Government. [112] The government refused to characterize the circumstances as extraordinary, raising fears that the law could be used to arrest critics of Beijing and then extradite them to the mainland for prosecution. In addition to the new security office on the mainland, Hong Kong must allow Chinese security authorities to operate in the region if necessary and accept that Chinese authorities will „monitor and direct the Hong Kong government.” [112] The controversy had erupted the day before after police arrested a teenage schoolgirl for protesting by pressing her neck against the ground with one knee, with another officer holding her by the waist. This drew comparisons to the murder of George Floyd and raised questions about the use of force against a nonviolent minor. [113] The Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights and expert bodies have repeatedly expressed concerns about the national security law, stating that general legislation can lead to „discriminatory or arbitrary interpretation and application that could undermine the protection of human rights.” The Committee has the authority to select law enforcement and law enforcement personnel to deal with national security matters. The budget and appointment of personnel related to the protection of national security will also circumvent legislative control. The Chief Executive may appoint judges to handle national security matters in a manner that appears to undermine the independence of the judiciary. 9. In June 2020, The Guardian`s China scholars Tania Branigan and Lily Kuo published a report titled „How Hong Kong Caught Fire: The Story of a Radical Uprising.” Many activists who had applied for political meetings worked for such organizations. For those who receive bail, the conditions for national security crimes are much stricter than for ordinary cases.

Defendants under the security law are prohibited from giving interviews to the media, posting on social media, and participating in elections. National security-related arrests became more frequent in June and July, when politically sensitive anniversaries of the Tiananmen Square crackdown and pro-democracy rallies traditionally take place on July 1. 15. In April 2021, during a day of citywide activities to encourage residents to support the national security law, Security Bureau chief Zheng Yanxiong thanked Hong Kong residents who, in his words, had come „through a very natural and reasonable process to accept, welcome and support” the law. [171] Hong Kong`s national security law has not really protected national security while protecting human rights. The consequences are serious – the vagueness of key aspects of the law has created fear among the people of Hong Kong, as no one knows what could constitute a crime of „endangering national security” and therefore exposes them to the risk of prosecution, deportation to the mainland or expulsion from the territory. Although the National Security Law contains a general guarantee of respect for human rights, including key human rights treaties such as the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, other provisions of the law may take precedence over this protection. The law targets terrorism, subversion, secession and collusion with foreign forces. Its language is expansive and brings many changes to Hong Kong`s legal system. He is building extensive infrastructure in the city, including a security committee that includes Hong Kong`s chief minister and Beijing`s top official. Chinese security forces are allowed to operate openly in Hong Kong for the first time.

The security law, which consists of 66 articles and more than 7,000 words, directly targets the vigorous anti-government protests that rocked Hong Kong last year and provides harsh penalties for the usual tactics used by protesters. The international response to this „national security law” has been to invoke the Siracusa principles, which state that national security „cannot be used as a reason to impose restrictions merely to prevent local or relatively isolated threats to law and order,” only against external threats. [12] International legal scholars have stated that the inclusion of „national security” in the Local Companies Ordinance is unjustified and inappropriate because „it is difficult to assume that a company or protest in Hong Kong will threaten China`s existence,” and any local threat can be dealt with with normal public order laws. [12] Nevertheless, the raison d`être of „national security” has been introduced. Although „national security” was defined as „the protection of the territorial integrity and independence of the People`s Republic of China”, there was no explanation of what constituted a threat or how it should be implemented. [12] The scope of the programme was clarified by Home Secretary Priti Patel in correspondence with Johnson on 12 June 2020.