China’s ‘secret’ new law ‘raises stakes’ with ‘severe’ penalties ‘What Beijing says, goes’

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Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab has said the UK will decide what action to take after China passed their controversial national security law for Hong Kong despite global opposition. The new legislation is the most radical change to the former British colony’s way of life since it was returned to China almost 23 years ago. Sky’s Asia Correspondent, Tom Chesire, warned that the “very severe” penalties included in the law could hamper the protest movements.

He said: “We’ve only just found out about it. This is a law drawn up swiftly, and pretty secretly, by Beijing over the last few weeks and then imposed on Hong Kong.

“At 11pm local time, they finally released the text of the law, at the same time that it became law.

“So many in Hong Kong will be waking up to look at this, or staying up to look through the detail.

“There are some pretty extraordinary details.”

Mr Chesire continued: “The main thing is that there are four crimes: subversion, secession, terrorism and colluding with foreign forces.

“These all could carry a penalty of life in prison.

“But there are some details in there that really leap out – there can be trials without juries, the Hong Kong Chief Executive can pick judges, national security education (as defined by Beijing) will be taught by Hong Kong children.

“And anyone in the world can be guilty of an offence, this applies outside Hong Kong.”

The Sky correspondent added: “But I think the devil is less in the details, and more in the ambiguity.

“These are defined in pretty sweeping ways: terrorism can include damaging public transport.

“Triggering hatred towards the Chinese Government is a crime.”

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Mr Chesire told viewers: “Interfering in, disrupting or undermining Government activities is also a crime.

“Ultimately, what Beijing says, goes. The ultimate interpretation of this national security law is decided by the Chinese political body on the mainland.

“Beijing and the Hong Kong Government have promised that Hong Kong’s traditional freedoms (of speech, of assembly, of protest) will be protected.

“That is in the law, those freedoms are spelt out, but it also says that they really only exist up until a point.

“This has really raised the stakes. The penalties here are very severe, and I think it will change protests.”

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