Updated: Jun 3, 2021
By Shahane De Silva | Sri Lanka
The Chinese government has enacted a new ‘National Security Law’ which may spell doom for the citizens of Hong Kong and their freedom.
In the midst of a pandemic-distracted world, America isn’t the only part of this planet where individuals face brutality from the police and where people are protesting for their civil rights.
Hong Kong needs your attention as well!
The newly passed law gives Beijing the ability to shape life in Hong Kong like never before. Critics suggest that the law will undermine their freedom to speech and public assembly.
You can view a summary of the law’s key provisions here, but some of the highlights include how:
Beijing has power over how the new law is interpreted and implemented
suspected ‘law-breakers’ can be wire-tapped and placed under surveillance
national security cases can be tried in mainland China
In my personal opinion, all of this is starting to sound pretty absurd.
“It is clear that the law will have a severe impact on freedom of expression, if not personal security, on the people of Hong Kong” Professor Johannes Chan, a legal scholar at the University of Hong Kong
It is so obvious as to why the majority of Hongkongers are afraid!
China is clearly imposing its will as it has done so many times in the past. However, the difference between the past and present-day reality is that Hongkongers can’t even protest now without being brutally arrested by the police – courtesy of the new National Security Law.
All protests against the new National Security Law have been met with immediate arrests under the legal justification of ‘obstruction to national security’. Not only is the new law immorally imposed on the people of Hong Kong, it also represents a breach in China’s legal obligations to the international community.
In 1984, then-UK Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher signed a joint declaration with the Chinese government, agreeing that Hong Kong would be handed back to China in 1997. However, there were certain conditions:
the preservation of their high level of autonomy from mainland China
the continuation of a free market economy (capitalist system)
As a result, Hong Kong has its own legal system and borders, and civil rights such as freedom of assembly, free speech, and freedom of the press are protected. The relationship between the Chinese Mainland and Hong Kong is more familiarly known as ‘One Country, Two Systems’. The agreement signed in 1984 was set to last for the following 50 years, until 2047.
China has clearly breached its 1984 agreement with the UK and is threatening the democracy of Hong Kong.
The people of Hong Kong now live in fear. Protesters and pro-democracy activists are frantically deleting social media posts and trying to leave the country. Fortunately, Britain is taking the initiative to uphold its commitments to the residents of Hong Kong by giving them temporary residency and a fast track route to citizenship.
It is a scary predicament, to say the least. These people feel like their only option is to leave their homes behind in order to feel safe. It presents how frightening and sad reality is for the people of Hong Kong.
Home isn’t home anymore for a majority of people in Hong Kong and that demands our attention.
The views and opinions expressed in this entry are solely those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the position of The Zeitgeist. Assumptions made in the analysis are not reflective of the position of any entity other than the author(s). The Zeitgeist does not verify the accuracy of any of the information contained in the entry. The Zeitgeist is not to be held responsible for misuse, reuse, recycled and cited and/or uncited copies of content within this entry.