The Security Law and the China and Hong Kong Problem

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Xi Jinping’s Communist Party has formally adopted the controversial Hong Kong Security law. The Chinese legislature unanimously adopted the law in a secretive and rushed process. The legislation sets the stage for key changes in Hong Kong’s governance.

After the law was passed, China unveiled the full contents of the security law that’ll be implemented in Hong Kong by fiat. Beijing published the security law minutes after 11 PM, immediately after it went into effect on 30th June 2020.

In essence, the legislation prescribes punishments as heavy as life imprisonment for Hong Kong nationals who engage in acts of subversion, collusion with foreigners, crimes, recession, and acts of terror.

The issue is that acts of subversion, collusion with foreigners, and acts of terror are subjective and allow for imprisonment at the Chinese government’s discretion.

What this Security Law Entails

Hong Kong has always shown its intentions to adopt a law that would control its security issues. The state sought to retain its peace, freedoms, and distance from China. Indeed, the people in Hong Kong had several reasons to protest against CCP overreach in 2019. But further protests were curbed due to the timely and rather uncanny arrival of COVID-19 sickness.

China took advantage of various situations, including onerous impositions on its people in mandating social distancing, quarantining, and other demands to control the spread. At the same time, it was able to grow its powers and step in and ensure that Hong Kong’s city adopted the controversial laws. 

Indeed, Beijing considered the special administrative metropolitan as a serious threat to its authority and sought to solve the problem. It was able to do so throughout 2019 and 2020 and continues to do so over 2021.

Xi Jinping’s government kept the details of the law under wraps until the 66 articles were passed. 

It is now clear that the law will punish the acts of: 

  • Breaking away from China (secession)
  • Undermining the power of the central government
  • The use of intimidation against the people 
  • Working with external forces

In essence, the security legislation gives Beijing the power to ‘streamline’ the living conditions in Hong Kong in a more extraordinary way than it has ever done before. 

Critics note the legislation as a devastating blow to the former British colony. Further, it is a blatant move to repeal Hong Kong’s autonomy as guaranteed under the “one country, two systems” agreement adopted when Britain handed this former colony to the control of China in 1997.

There are diverse agreements from human rights activists and legal scholars that concede Beijing will take advantage of the legislation to stifle dissent. Critically, China will use forcefully imposed security laws to target and punish any person it chooses to deem as a criminal.

What the Law means for Hong Kong

The security law has a range of adverse impacts on Hong Kong. Here’s the list of issues:

  • Courts in mainland China will tackle intense national security cases- this gives Beijing the power to extradite suspects and the re-introduction of the highly protested extradition bill.
  • The law will suppress any attempt for Hong Kong’s dissent against the rule of mainland China. The legislation makes it a requirement for anyone serving in public office to take an oath and swear allegiance to Beijing.
  • There will be massive consequences in the political realm as opposition leaders withdraw their stands to stay in line with the CCP.

What is the Implication of the Legislation to the International Community?

China is flexing its political muscles and showing that it will continue to play its long game of Go on a global scale.

The controversial security legislation puts Beijing at loggerheads with the international community. Britain, the United States, and other western economies have expressed their displeasure in Xi Jinping’s latest actions. These nations believe that China wants to use the security law to erode Hong Kong’s current position as a global financial hub as granted in the 1997 handover. That is a critical problem in an increasingly interconnected world.

In response, the United States made plans to start abolishing the special status it has accorded Hong Kong. This move will significantly reduce the volumes of militaristic support directed to Hong Kong. It will also restrict the territory’s previous advantage of accessing high-end technological products. 

Article 54 of the unscrupulous security law imposes stringent measures on foreign entities such as the media, nongovernmental organizations, and international institutions operating in Hong Kong. The legislation provides room for these organizations to face stern punitive action and censorship as it calls for stricter scrutiny of such entities. 

The security laws imposed on Hong Kong by Xi Jinping’s administration could yield more than localized strife as international players take their positions. 

As Washington planned to end its special status trade relations with Hong Kong, China reiterated that it would respond to this repeal by institutionalizing a series of severe countermeasures. There is a point where the agitation fueled by the enactment of the security legislation could escalate from a simple local scenario to an international scale. It already is occurring at a global scale, but it may result in even more ‘hot’ actions over cold actions.