China on June 30 approved a contentious national security law that allows authorities to crack down on subversive and secessionist activity in Hong Kong, a move many see as Beijing’s boldest yet to erase the legal firewall between the semi-autonomous territory and the mainland’s authoritarian Communist Party system.
President Xi Jinping signed a presidential order promulgating the law after it was approved by the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress, the official Xinhua News Agency said. It will be added to the Basic Law, Hong Kong’s constitution.
Few details were given but China’s liaison office in Hong Kong issued a statement warning opponents of the law not to “underestimate the party center’s determination to safeguard Hong Kong’s national security” or its willingness and ability to enforce the new rules.
“We hope the law will serve as a deterrent to prevent people from stirring up trouble,” said Tam Yiu-Chung, Hong Kong’s sole representative on the Standing Committee. “Don’t let Hong Kong be used as a tool to split the country.”
Tam said punishments would not include the death penalty, but did not give further details.
The legislation follows months of anti-government protests in Hong Kong. (AP)