Hong Kong: Bar Association "deeply concerned" about security law

"The Hong Kong Bar Association is deeply concerned with the content of the National Security Law and the way it has been implemented," said the organization.

The Hong Kong Bar Association expressed "deep concern" about the security law imposed by Beijing, warning that the very vague formulation of the diploma compromises the independence of the judiciary in the former British colony.

"The Hong Kong Bar Association is deeply concerned with the content of the National Security Law and the way it has been implemented," the organization said in a statement released on Wednesday night, quoted by the France-Presse news agency. (AFP).

Enacted on Tuesday by Chinese President Xi Jinping, after being adopted by the Standing Committee of the National People's Assembly, the new law allows punishing four types of crimes against state security: subversive activities, secession, terrorism and collusion with foreign forces that endanger national security.

Crimes against national security are now subject to life imprisonment in Hong Kong.

The Order of Lawyers of the semi-autonomous territory published a five-page legal analysis in which a dozen problematic points in the security law are pointed out.

In particular, that professional organization denounced China's secrecy surrounding the diploma before it was passed, although Hong Kong has a parliament that has so far openly discussed legislative texts.

"In addition to the total lack of meaningful consultations, lawyers, judges, police and Hong Kong residents did not have time to familiarize themselves with the content of the new law, and in particular with the serious crimes it creates, before its entry into force" , can be read in the opinion.

Less than 24 hours after its entry into force, Hong Kong police made the first arrests under the new law, which determines that the Chinese courts are competent for certain crimes.

Of the 370 people detained on Wednesday, ten were for alleged violations of the National Security Act, while thousands of Hong Kong residents gathered to mark the 23rd anniversary of the former British colony's return to China in 1997.

The meeting had been banned by the authorities for the first time in 17 years.

Earlier today, Hong Kong police arrested a man on board a flight to London, suspected of stabbing an agent during protests in the territory against national security law.

Kept secret until the end, the content of Beijing's national security law is seen as a response to violent pro-democracy protests in 2019, which resulted in more than nine thousand arrests.

Hong Kong returned to China in 1997 under an agreement that guaranteed the territory 50 years of autonomy and freedoms unknown to the rest of the country, under the “One country, two systems” principle.

As with Macau since 1999, Hong Kong has agreed a 50-year period with a high degree of autonomy, at the executive, legislative and judicial level, with the central Chinese government being responsible for foreign relations and defense.

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