China’s national security law to cost Hong Kong its financial hub tag

As China continues to push ahead with the implementation of its draconian national security law on Hong Kong, it is speculated that the city will soon lose its attractiveness as the most sought after financial destination.
According to a report, the foreign firms in Hong Kong have already started looking out for options in other Asian countries as they fear the national security law will end the city’s autonomy and freedom, which have been crucial to the city becoming a financial hub.
Beijing says the law, which comes in response to last year’s often-violent pro-democracy protests in Hong Kong, aims to tackle subversion, terrorism, separatism and collusion with foreign forces.
Though Beijing has claimed that the security law is only aimed at restoring stability in the city, the foreign firms understand that the law might restrict the free flow of information, thus, affecting their ability to woo talent.
Earlier in June, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe had said that the ruling Liberal Democratic Party has called for the government to “take advantage of being a safe business location, which is supported by solid democracy and the rule of law”.
Similarly, South Korea’s financial regulator, the Financial Services Commission, announced a new set of proposals calling for regulatory reforms to promote private sector innovation, infrastructure “on a par with global standards” and administrative support for fledgeling financial hubs in Seoul’s Yeoido district and Busan’s Moonhyun district.
City-wide protests have been taking place in Hong Kong since June 2019, with protesters claiming to oppose China’s increasing influence on the special administrative region. The latest wave of protests was caused by a security bill specially tailored by Beijing for Hong Kong.
The security legislation deals a devastating blow to Hong Kong’s autonomy as promised under the “one country, two systems” framework, the terms of the former British colony’s handover to Chinese control in 1997.
The law will see Beijing set up a national security agency in Hong Kong to “guide” the territory’s implementation of the law. It will also have jurisdiction over cases in “certain circumstances”. Should discrepancies arise, the security legislation will override Hong Kong law. Rights advocates and legal scholars believe the law will be used broadly to stifle dissent.
 However, both Hong Kong’s leadership and the central government say the bill would not affect the legitimate rights of the residents.