CHINA—A new security law has been passed in China as of Tuesday, June 30, which is meant to make certain actions crimes, such as protesting and freedom of speech.
This new security law is meant to punish secession, subversion, and collusion with foreign forces, and will also aim to minimize protests and freedom of speech, specifically with Hong Kong in mind. The new law comes after civil unrest and a pro-democracy movement and was approved unanimously in a session of the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress in Beijing.
China’s state news agency, Xinhua, confirmed that President Xi Jinping signed the security law. It has been added to Hong Kong’s Basic Law, the 50-year mini-constitution agreed when the territory’s sovereignty was returned to China by the UK in 1997.
The security law has now been in place as of Wednesday, July 1, but residents are unclear on what to abide by as terms have not been made clear yet. Although many who support the pro-democracy movement fear being arrested if they protest, others have continued to protest and voice their concerns or opinions regarding this law since it was first announced in May.
While the law will handle national security cases, it will have other powers such as overseeing education about national security in Hong Kong schools. Hong Kong will additionally have to establish its own national security commission to enforce the laws, with a Beijing-appointed adviser. Hong Kong’s chief executive will have the power to appoint judges to hear national security cases. Beijing will have power over how the law should be interpreted, meaning that if the law conflicts with any Hong Kong law, the Beijing law takes priority.