Global Affairs analyst Michael Bociurkiw has said that the Hong Kong security law is a tool deployed by the Chinese government to quash dissent and that just condemning the act is not sufficient, “the West needs to take definitive actions”.
Bociurkiw said that Hong Kong, overnight and with no consultation, became a legal and security jurisdiction of China, “denying its citizens the 27 more years of semi-autonomy Beijing had promised under the “one country, two systems” model that was to have been in effect until 2047″.
“While the world is distracted by the Covid-19 pandemic and the antics of the Trump administration, China has moved to suppress Hong Kong’s pro-democracy movement,” he said.
“This step is consistent with a regime that knows it has to act quickly in the current discombobulated geopolitical environment,” he added.
The new law criminalises four activities: “secession, subversion, organization and perpetration of terrorist activities, and collusion with a foreign country or with external elements to endanger national security”. It also empowers Beijing to establish a new security office in Hong Kong, with its own law enforcement personnel – neither of which would come under the local authority’s jurisdiction
This office can send some cases to be tried in mainland China – but Beijing has said it will only have that power over a “tiny number” of cases.
Bociurkiw said the legislation has dealt a heavy blow to pro-democracy activism, with activists reportedly deleting social media posts and with the leadership of one pro-democracy group, Demosisto, announcing it would step down.
“Beijing acted in sledgehammer fashion in response to months of often violent protests that caused significant destruction of public property, including vandalism and fires at transit stations, and which caused the economy to tank,” he stated.
“The last thing the central authorities would want is for the protest movement to spread onto the mainland, especially at a time when its own economy is feeling the ill effects from the long battle with Covid-19,” he added.
The analyst said that Washington needs to follow the lead of the United Kingdom and its “new bespoke immigration route,” which could pave the way for British citizenship for some 2.9 million Hong Kongers who hold special passports as overseas British subjects from before 1997.