Hong Kong’s new national security laws reach beyond China | #socialmedia | #hacking | #facebook | #computerhacking


Bing Ling, a Professor of Chinese Law at the University of Sydney, said the scope of the legislation meant Australians peacefully talking about Hong Kong independence or proposing sanctions on Hong Kong “would be considered criminal and people can be arrested if they enter Hong Kong”.

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“It is a heavy handed piece of legislation, not only in terms of the conduct that it criminalises but in terms of the institutions it establishes, the powers that it confers and the scope of the jurisdiction that this law is going to have,” said Bing. “This is going to apply not only to Hong Kong but people outside Hong Kong.”

Chinese officials confirmed on Wednesday that cases investigated directly by the newly established intelligence unit — the Office for Safeguarding National Security of the Central People’s Government in Hong Kong — will also be able to be prosecuted on the mainland, pushing residents accused of crimes out of the global financial hub and into China’s opaque judicial system.

The legislation drew condemnation from 27 countries, including Australia and Switzerland at the United Nations Human Rights council on Wednesday. The group accused China of breaching a legally binding treaty that guaranteed a high degree of autonomy for Hong Kong when it was handed over by Britain in 1997.

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said the legislation was draconian and would eviscerate the foundation of the territory’s economic success. He threatened to launch more trade sanctions on China as tensions between the two superpowers continue to escalate. “The United States will not stand idly by while China swallows Hong Kong into its authoritarian maw,” he said.

Cuba led a separate statement by 53 countries, including Pakistan, Egypt and Venezuela, supporting China’s right to safeguard national security in Hong Kong after 15 months of protests over Beijing’s growing power consumed the territory.

Bing said it was to the credit of the Chinese government that the law had essentially restored public order in Hong Kong. “But because this law contains quite a lot of overreach the potential for undermining autonomy is very worrying,” he said.

Helicopters fly the flags of China and the Hong Kong over Victoria Harbour, HK, on July 1 – the first day of the new laws and the 23rd anniversary of the handover from British rule.Credit:Getty Images

“National security is a pervasive area and can potentially affect all areas of human activity. The thing is do you have confidence in the people or the bodies that are going to interpret this language?”

The legislation, released publicly after the laws came into force on Wednesday, also reveals the Hong Kong government will tell schools, universities and the media to promote national security education.

The law maintains that freedom of speech, press and assembly will be protected under the “one country, two systems” model. But it also gives the government power to force media organisations and individuals to delete information or “provide assistance” on matters concerning national security.

The deputy director of Beijing’s Hong Kong and Macau Affairs Zhang Xiaoming said on Wednesday the purpose of the laws was not to turn the pro-democracy camp into “an imaginary enemy”.

“The legislation is focused on a narrow group of crimes against national security,” he said. “You can criticise China but you should not use this as a pretext to turn against China.”

Pro-democracy activists deleted their social media accounts and disbanded political parties as residents tore down posters advertising the protest movement around the city on Wednesday. Buildings and a barge in Hong Kong harbour were plastered with messages welcoming the new laws on the 23rd anniversary of the transfer of the former British colony to China.

Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam said it was “the most important development in relations” between Beijing and Hong Kong since the handover.

Hong Kong Police began unveiling new warning flags within hours of the laws coming into effect. The coloured flags have conventionally been raised to indicate a round of tear gas or pepper balls to disperse protesters.

“You are displaying flags or banners/ chanting slogans/ or conducting yourselves with an intent such as secession or subversion, which may constitute offences under the HKSAR National Security Law,” the banners read. “You may be arrested and prosecuted.”

Just after 3pm a man was caught holding a Hong Kong independence flag in Causeway Bay. Hong Kong Police announced their first arrest.

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