BEIJING – Chinese President Xi Jinping signed a decree to enact the Hong Kong national security law into effect after it was passed by the National People’s Congress. China’s top legislative body, the standing committee of the National People’s Congress (NPC), voted unanimously in support of the new national security law on Hong Kong on Tuesday, the official China Central Television (CCTV) reported.
In response to the passage of the new legislation, a number of key foreign-backed activists in Hong Kong, including Joshua Wong, have decided to quit the political parties they were involved in. A number of the so-called “pro-democracy activists” have deleted their accounts on Twitter over alleged “fears of retribution or possible criminal charges” under the new legislation.
In contrast, Hong Kong chief executive Carrie Lam has stated that the national security law will not undermine Hong Kong’s autonomy. Earlier in the day, the US Commerce Department announced the suspension of preferential treatment of Hong Kong over China, including export license exceptions.
In addition, the Department of State announced on Monday that the US was ending exports of defense equipment and sensitive dual-use technologies to Hong Kong, placing them under the same restrictions that exist for China.
The new legislation bans secessionist, subversive and terrorist activities, along with any form of foreign interference in Hong Kong. The move is supported by the Hong Kong leadership but has been met by a wave of foreign-backed protests in the city, as some residents were led to believe that their rights may be infringed, and abroad.
However, according to Beijing, the new security law aims to punish illegal activities in the city without harming the existing democratic freedoms of locals.