Report By Nandika Chand | Kashmir Srinagar | Last Updated at May 22 2020
Hong Kong has been embroiled in protests and violent riots since 2019. Regional experts described this as the biggest crisis in the former British colony since the 1997 handover.
China faces a wall of protests and backlash from the United States for introducing the Hong Kong bill. The Vice Chairman of the National Committee of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference, Leung Chun-ying said the bill is ‘fully necessary’. He said China’s determination to deal with Hong Kong issue should not be underestimated.
However, the US President Donald Trump warned that the White House would react very strongly to the planned legislation. This would intensify geopolitical tensions between Beijing and Washington. Relationship between these two countries is already weakened by trade disputes and the COVID-19 pandemic.
Hong Kong has been embroiled in protests and violent riots since 2019. Regional experts described this as the biggest crisis in the former British colony since the 1997 handover. Under the 1997 Sino-British Joint Declaration, Hong Kong’s legal system, borders and rights including freedom of assembly and free speech are protected.
Leung argues the bill will improve the legal system and enforcement mechanisms for Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) to safeguard national security. He highlighted a loophole in Article 23 of Hong Kong Basic Law. The Vice Chairman said this article has never been implemented. Leung stressed the NPC has power enshrined in the Constitution to establish and improve at the state level and legal system of the state.
“Safeguarding national security conforms to the interests of Hong Kong society and external investors. It will ensure the state’s safety and stability, which are closely linked with investment and thus Hong Kong’s economic development,” Leung said.
Premier Li Keqiang promised China would honour and implement the ‘one country, two systems’ framework. But pro-democracy activists fear that this could mean ‘the end of Hong Kong’, in other words, an end of its autonomy and freedoms.