Hong Kong is commemorating the twenty-third anniversary of its return to Chinese sovereignty today with the controversial security law drafted by the Chinese legislature already in force.
Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam said during a speech today that the law, the content of which has only been released once it has been enacted, is “constitutional, legal, sensible and reasonable.”
For Lam, “the law is a turning point to get Hong Kong out of the impasse it is in and restore stability and order”, although a good part of the local population, in addition to journalists, activists and lawyers, They fear that the new legislation will curtail the freedoms enjoyed by the semi-autonomous Chinese city.
The new law establishes penalties of up to life in prison for cases of “secession, subversion against state power (a charge usually used against dissidents and critics of the communist regime), terrorist activities and collusion with foreign forces to put national security at risk.”
Likewise, any person convicted of any of the assumptions of the law may not stand as a candidate for the Hong Kong Legislative Council elections. The next elections to elect the members of this body are scheduled for September.
Last November, the pro-democracy candidates won a large victory against those pro-Beijing in the elections for district councilors.
For its part, the Hong Kong Police issued a statement in which they promised to be in charge of enforcing that law, against which a demonstration is scheduled at around 19.00 local time (11.00 GMT).
Several pro-democracy associations announced their dissolution on Tuesday for fear that the new law would put its members at risk.
The 1984 Sino-British Declaration, which articulated Hong Kong’s retrocession from British to Chinese hands in 1997, established the maintenance for at least 50 years from that date of a series of unimaginable freedoms on the ground in mainland China.
However, from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of China its spokesmen have reiterated that the commitments contained in that document were fulfilled at the time.