Hong Kong adopted a strict security law

Hong Kong's political scene has changed dramatically since mass street protests in 2019 that challenged Chinese rule and the imposition of the National Security Law. A number of activists ended up in court, while others fled the country

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Hong Kong Chief Executive John Lee, government officials and lawmakers after the National Security Protection Act, also referred to as Article 23 of the Basic Law, was passed by Hong Kong's Legislative Council, Photo: Reuters
Hong Kong Chief Executive John Lee, government officials and lawmakers after the National Security Protection Act, also referred to as Article 23 of the Basic Law, was passed by Hong Kong's Legislative Council, Photo: Reuters
Disclaimer: The translations are mostly done through AI translator and might not be 100% accurate.

Hong Kong has passed a tough security law that officials say is necessary for stability, while critics fear it will further erode civil liberties.

It was passed in an expedited procedure by the pro-Beijing parliament in less than two weeks. All 88 representatives as well as the president of the legislative council unanimously voted for the adoption of the law, which will enter into force on March 23.

Legislative Council Speaker Andrew Liong said he believed all MPs were honored to be part of this "historic mission".

"The sooner the law is passed, the sooner national security will be protected," Liong said.

The package of laws, also known as Article 23, covers new crimes such as foreign interference and sedition, with penalties including life imprisonment.

As the BBC writes, it expands the controversial national security law previously imposed by China. According to that law, secession, collusion with foreign powers in Hong Kong as well as terrorism are already criminalized.

Critics worry that the new law will further erode civil liberties that Beijing has promised to preserve for 50 years when the former British colony returned to Chinese rule in 1997.

Hong Kong's political scene has changed dramatically since mass street protests in 2019 that challenged Chinese rule and the imposition of the National Security Law. A number of activists ended up in court, while others fled the country.

Hong Kong's constitution requires the city to enact a domestic law on national security. A previous attempt in 2003 sparked massive street protests involving half a million people that led to the legislation being delayed.

Similar protests against the current bill have been absent mainly due to, as AP writes, the frightening effect of the existing law on security.

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