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China passes controversial Hong Kong national security law

China passes controversial Hong Kong national security law

Beijing: In a move that is expected to not only strain relations between China and the West but attract retaliatory measures, China’s top legislative body passed a controversial national security law on Tuesday that critics say will threaten the autonomy of Hong Kong and the freedoms of its citizens.

The law, which criminalizes secession, sedition, subversion, terrorism and working with foreign actors to undermine the national security of the People’s Republic of China in Hong Kong, was unanimously passed by the congress’ standing committee Tuesday, local media South China Morning Post and public broadcaster RTHK reported, citing anonymous sources.

Little was known about the law after it was approved by the congress in late May, but last week China’s state-run Xinhua News released details that suggest it will expand Beijing’s oversight of Hong Kong, which has been rocked by pro-democracy protests for nearly a year but which have simmered in the past few months due to the coronavirus pandemic.

According to the law, the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region will be responsible for punishing those who commit acts that endanger national security, to establish a national security commission whose head will be appointed by the central government and to create a national security office in Hong Kong.

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