United Kingdom MP Stewart McDonald has asked the UK government to act against China’s intention to impose its draconian national security law which intends to destroy Hong Kong’s autonomy and punish people for criticizing Beijing.
“China has recently decided to impose a national security law on Hong Kong, bypassing its legislature, which will criminalize any act of secession, subversion, terrorism and its broad scope could see people punished for criticizing Beijing – as they are in mainland China”, McDonald said in an opinion piece in Hong Kong Free Press.
“I call on the UK government to match the courage of the protesters and not kowtow to China’s bullying,” he added.
The controversial legislation comprises six chapters and 66 articles. The chapters, inter alia, cover general provisions, duties and mechanisms for ensuring Hong Kong’s national security, issues of crimes and penalties, jurisdiction and law enforcement.
Under the law, secession and subversion are now punishable by a maximum sentence of a life in prison, and the same applies to “collusion with foreign powers.”
Critics are of the opinion that the legislation would destroy the civil liberties that Hong Kong residents enjoy under the ‘one country, two systems’ agreement put in place when the United Kingdom handed the territory back to China in 1997.
McDonald, who is a member of Commons Foreign Affairs Select Committee, said that these laws are an atrocious attack on human rights and the agreement between China and the UK, known as the Sino-British Joint Declaration.
“Hongkongers are faced with an uncertain future, one where any dissent can be punished with harsh financial and judicial penalties or even ‘re-education,’ and Beijing can set up its own security and intelligence operations in Hong Kong,” the MP noted.
“Beijing’s heavy hand will continue to create a climate of fear and a visceral sense of hopelessness unless we stand up. Hong Kong, the only enclave of freedom in China, is being eclipsed by tear gas, rubber bullets, live rounds, police brutality and torture; but still Hongkongers march on,” he concluded.