Details of a bill unveiled on Saturday would grant China sweeping powers over the enforcement of a new national security law in Hong Kong.
According to Reuters, citing the official Xinhua news agency, Hong Kong will establish a local national security council led by city leader Carrie Lam and supervised by a central government commission controlled by Beijing. The new Hong Kong body will also include a mainland adviser.
New local police and prosecution units will be set up to investigate and to enforce the law, backed by mainland security and intelligence officers deployed to Beijing’s new commission.
Lam will also have the power to appoint judges to hear cases related to national security, an unprecedented move likely to unnerve some investors, diplomats and business leaders in Hong Kong
Currently senior judges allocate judicial rosters up through Hong Kong’s independent judicial system. -Reuters
"From these initial details, this new law presents unprecedented legal questions that we will have to confront in coming years," according to University of Hong Kong law school professor and barrister, Simon Young, who added that he was troubled by the apparent "broad supremacy" of the new law.
Beijing and Hong Kong officials have sought to calm concerns over the new laws, insisting that only a small minority of "troublemakers" will be targeted (which, in China means anyone Muslims to pro-democracy dissidents).
Xinhua claims freedom of speech, freedom to assemble and human rights would be protected.
The details were unveiled after a three-day meeting of the top decision-making body of China’s parliament. It is unclear when the law will be enacted but political analysts expect it to take effect ahead of Sept. 6 Legislative Council elections in Hong Kong.
Under the new law, no institutions, organisations and individuals in Hong Kong should engage in activity endangering national security, Xinhua said. This was widely expected to raise concerns for some religious, human rights and foreign-backed groups that have long been based in Hong Kong but are not welcome on the Chinese mainland. -Reuters
Also included in the new law is a requirement that any Hong Kong government employees, or anyone running for public office must swear allegiance to the city and its mini-constitution.
Details of the law come after months of anti-Beijing protests over an extradition bill which would have allowed China to deport suspected criminals to be tried in mainland CCP courts. Beijing and local officials have blamed "foreign forces" for stoking the unrest.