Critics denounce Hong Kong’s latest law as the ultimate blow

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Local authorities, known colloquially as Article 23, unanimously passed a law targeting various acts considered treasonous. Officials argue the law is crucial for stability, but critics see it as detrimental to the city.

China has advocated for this law for some time, dismissing criticisms as unfounded. The new legislation allows for closed-door trials, permits police to detain suspects for up to 16 days without charge, and imposes severe penalties, including life imprisonment.

Frances Hui, an activist now residing in the US, views the law as a severe crackdown on freedoms in Hong Kong, calling it a final blow to liberty.

A group of 81 lawmakers and public figures worldwide expressed grave concerns over the legislation, emphasizing its infringement on due process and fair trial rights, which jeopardizes Hong Kong’s international standing.

The US and EU have raised alarms over the legislation’s broad and vaguely-defined provisions, fearing its impact on Hong Kong’s business status. The UK’s Foreign Secretary condemned the law for further eroding rights and freedoms in the city.

Hong Kong’s leader defended the law, stating it would combat espionage and sabotage from foreign forces. However, pro-democracy activists see it as another step towards mainland China’s system.

Former Hong Kong lawmaker Nathan Law, now in exile in the UK, believes the law will suppress civil society and bring Hong Kong closer to mainland China’s system.

There are concerns the law could target Hong Kongers abroad or their families and friends. Civil liberties have deteriorated since the National Security Law was imposed in 2020, with hundreds arrested.

Critics, including Hong Kong’s last British governor, see the legislation as a breach of the Joint Declaration, which guaranteed the city’s autonomy. Despite assurances from Beijing and local authorities, China’s control over Hong Kong continues to tighten.

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