China introduces a new national security law in Hong Kong that aims to crackdown on human rights and political activists
Hong Kong has been witnessing prolonged pro-democracy protests against the violent subjugation by China that has wider geopolitical consequences. Subbing the democratic protests over the last many years, China has now introduced a draft national security law, doing away with the autonomy and personal as well as political freedom that the special administrative region enjoyed under ‘One Country Two System’ which came into being since 1997.
With Communist China replacing the ‘One country, Two systems’ with ‘One country, One system’, democracy and freedom of expression that prevailed in the region will cease to exist. Speaking to StratNews Global Editor-in-Chief Nitin A. Gokhale, Hong Kong’s prominent pro-democracy activist Joshua Wong said, if the law is imposed, Hong Kong won’t be the place with free flow of capital or the free flow of information.
“From a global financial centre, it will turn into a city under the hardline direct rule of Beijing.” It’s an uphill task but we won’t cow down to Beijing, says Wong who was also at the forefront of the protests against the immigration bill. “The whole world should stand by Hong Kong as it’s a matter of right versus wrong, he says, adding, what Beijing is doing today in Hong Kong may be replicated in Taiwan tomorrow,” he added.
Different from other Chinese cities, Hong Kong has a special status as per a treaty in 1984 between China and UK, under the principle of "one country, two systems". This treaty ensured "a high degree of autonomy, except in foreign and defence affairs" for 50 years when it became a part of China. Accordingly, Hong Kong has its own legal system and borders. And unlike China, the Human Rights including freedom of assembly, free speech and freedom of the press are protected.
However, for the last many months, political, press and academic freedoms have been deteriorating in Hong Kong. In March, China had expelled several US journalists - but also prohibited them from working in Hong Kong.
The crisis has deepened further as US President Donald Trump announced that the US would end its special relationship with the city. Trump’s move is expected to imperil the city’s status as a global financial hub.
Meanwhile, there has also been a huge rise in anti-Chinese sentiment in Hong Kong, with citizens and young activists demanding the independence of the city from China.