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Hong Kong Legislative Council unanimously passes new national security bill

by Derek Andrews
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The Hong Kong Legislative Council unanimously voted in favour of the brand new Safeguarding Nationwide Safety Invoice on Tuesday. The invoice will probably be gazetted and are available into impact on March 23.

The invoice consists of 9 components. It criminalises a number of nationwide safety offences which might be listed in Article 23 of the Hong Kong Basic Law however not within the 2020 National Security Law. The invoice additionally stipulates that legal prosecution underneath this invoice shall apply the legal procedural guidelines that had been beforehand tailor-made for nationwide safety offences within the 2020 Nationwide Safety Legislation.

The brand new legislation additionally makes it an offence to encourage public officers to “abandon upholding the Fundamental Legislation and abandon the allegiance to the [Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR)].” It additionally prohibits public officers from leaving the HKSAR with state secrets and techniques with intent to hazard nationwide safety or with recklessness as to nationwide safety.

The invoice was handed with an amendment that empowers the Chief Government in Council to specify a category of individuals as “public officers” when the Chief Government in Council moderately considers it essential to safeguard nationwide safety. The modification mirrored some lawmakers’ issues that the unique definition of “public officers” failed to focus on sure public organisations which “have an vital bearing on the safety of significant pursuits of the HKSAR.”

Each Chief Government John Lee and the President of the Legislative Council Andrew Leung equally said that the enactment of the invoice was a “historic second in Hong Kong. They each claimed that the enactment is a cornerstone to safety, stability and prosperity. Lee additionally emphasised that the invoice strikes a stability between safeguarding nationwide safety and defending human rights and freedom as part 2(b) of the invoice explicitly stated that the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights proceed to use.

Lee and Leung additionally addressed the invoice’s swift laws course of. Beforehand on March 16, the federal government requested the Legislative Council to waive the 12-day prior discover requirement underneath the Hong Kong Legislative Council Guidelines of Procedures – Discover of Motions and Amendments. Lee contended that protests and violent incidents within the 2019 anti-extradition bill amendment protest indicated an urgency to safeguard nationwide safety. The 30-day public session and 12-day deliberation within the Legislative Council mirrored the urgency. Lee additionally identified that the US’s Patriot Act was drafted 21 days after the 9/11 assaults to counsel that each nation legislate swiftly to safeguard its nationwide safety.

Nonetheless, the invoice and its swift laws generated issues from worldwide figures. Hong Kong Watch printed a press release from a cross-party international coalition of 78 parliamentarians and public figures calling for supportive governments to unite in opposition to the “flagrant breach of the Fundamental Legislation of Hong Kong, the Sino-British Joint Declaration, and worldwide human rights legislation.” Lord Patten of Barnes, the final British Governor of Hong Kong, argued that the invoice is “[a]nother massive nail within the coffin of human rights and the rule of legislation in Hong Kong and an extra disgraceful breach of the Joint Declaration.”

In Might 2020, the Chinese language Nationwide Folks’s Congress Standing Committee (NPCSC) issued a call, often known as the 5.28 NPCSC decision, to incorporate the 2020 Nationwide Safety Legislation into Annex III of the Hong Kong Fundamental Legislation. The choice additionally urged the Hong Kong authorities to fulfil its constitutional obligation to enact its native laws to safeguard nationwide safety. Hong Kong’s authorities repeatedly cited the NPCSC’s resolution to assist the invoice.

Source / Picture: jurist.org

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