European leaders condemn China over 'deplorable' Hong Kong security bill

Police officers ask people to leave during a protest after China's parliament passes a national security law for Hong Kong

Pro-democracy demonstrators at a shopping mall in Hong Kong observe a minute of silence during a protest on Tuesday after lawmakers in China passed a national security law for the city.

But Carrie Lam, Hong Kong's Chief Executive, on Tuesday defended the law in a video message to the UN Human Rights Council, stating that recent violent protests had degenerated into "groups advocating "Hong Kong independence" and "self-determination" which, she continued, "incited protesters, very often radicalised young people, to desecrate and burn the national flag, vandalise the national emblem and storm the Central Government's office in Hong Kong". "It's a fundamental change that dramatically undermines both the local and worldwide community's confidence towards Hong Kong's "One Country, Two Systems" model and its status as a robust financial centre", Hong Kong political analyst Dixon Sing was quoted as saying by the French AFP news agency.

"It will throttle the city's rule of law, presenting a major confrontation between what passes for law in China and the common law system in Hong Kong which has allowed the city to function as one of the most important financial hubs in Asia". "Hong Kong people, see you all in the streets".

It is believed that Beijing will now also have ultimate power over appointments to top government departments, further reducing the relative independence it promised to Hong Kong in a 1984 joint declaration with Britain that is considered an worldwide treaty.

The legislation pushes Beijing further along a collision course with the United States, Britain and other Western governments, which have said it erodes the high degree of autonomy the city was granted at its 1 July 1997, handover.

Collusion will be one of the four national security crimes under the new law.

"No one is sure about what will happen tomorrow", he said, vowing to continue fighting for his belief in his personal capacity.

Wong said "worrying about life and safety" has become a real issue and nobody will be able to predict the repercussions of the law, whether it is being extradited to China or facing long jail terms.

She said the law, which is expected to come into force imminently, would not undermine the city's autonomy or its independent judiciary.

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This month, China's official Xinhua news agency unveiled some of the law's provisions, including that it would supersede existing Hong Kong legislation and that interpretation powers belong to China's parliament top committee. A security commission directly reporting to the central government will also be set up in the territory.

However, it remains unclear whether the law will be applied retroactively.

Authorities in Beijing and Hong Kong have repeatedly said the legislation is aimed at a few "troublemakers" and will not affect rights and freedoms, nor investor interests.

Beijing's imposition of a draconian National Security Law on Hong Kong is a needless disaster. Past behaviors deemed illegal under the new law could also be used as a reference for criminal prosecution.

"Stirring up trouble" is frequently used as an accusation against peaceful critics of the ruling Chinese Communist Party, which has sought to label last year's mass protests for democracy and the preservation of Hong Kong's freedoms as a secessionist movement instigated by foreign powers.

Hours after the trio announced their exit from Demosisto, the party said it would disband.

The U.S. views the national security law as being in breach of China's global obligations under the 1984 Sino-British Joint Declaration governing the 1997 handover.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo onsaid the US would stop exporting sensitive military items to Hong Kong, following his announcementthat Washington was imposing visa restrictions on current and former Chinese Communist Party members believed to be responsible for undermining Hong Kong's promised autonomy and traditional freedoms.

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