Tue. Jan 18th, 2022

Leader Carrie Lam tells new ‘only patriots’ legislature that the move will ensure that territory complies with Article 23 of its mini-constitution.

Hong Kong plans to create a myriad of new national security crimes, the Chinese-controlled city’s leader said on Wednesday as she chaired the first session of a new legislature that excludes any political opposition.

The current national security law was imposed in June 2020 in the wake of mass protests the year before, banning what Beijing sees as secession, undermining, terrorism and collusion with foreign forces.

Hundreds – from journalists to academics, activists and legislators – were caught in the ensuing suppression while some fled into exile overseas. Amnesty International says the law has “decimatedHong Kong’s freedoms, which Beijing promised to respect for at least 50 years when the area returned to control in 1997.

Carrie Lam, chief executive, confirmed on Wednesday when the city’s new legislature addressed that her government would draft “local legislation” that complies with Article 23 of Hong Kong’s mini-constitution, which requires the city to pass its own national security laws. .

New members of Hong Kong's legislature face emblems of China and Hong Kong affixed to the wall Legislators within the Legislative Council under symbols for China and Hong Kong at the start of the first session of a new ‘patriots only’ legislature [Peter Parks/AFP]

Lamb did not elaborate on what crimes could be included, but Article 23 lists high treason, secession, incitement, undermining and theft of state secrets.

It also includes banning any foreign political organizations from conducting political activities in Hong Kong or local political organizations establishing ties with overseas political bodies.

Beijing had earlier said it was forced to enact national security legislation because Hong Kong could not do so itself. An earlier attempt to introduce the legislation in 2003 was abandoned after mass protests amid concerns that the area’s freedoms would be jeopardized.

Security Secretary Chris Tang, the former police chief, told the South China Morning Post in an interview last September that the time was ripe for the implementation of Article 23 and that the contradiction of “an obvious increase in state-level espionage activities” groups ”would be central to the legislation.

The legislature is the first to convene under electoral rules imposed by China to ensure that only “patriots” are capable of holding political office in Hong Kong.

Election for the election, held in December, dropped to a record low.

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