Hong Kong shaken after Beijing’s announcement of security law

Domestic News

After a long year of anti-Beijing protests and legal limbo, Beijing looks set to strengthen it's control of Hong Kong once and for all.

SupChina illustration by Derek Zheng.

Beijing is set to deliver the death blow to “one country, two systems” as it kicked off its annual series of political meetings with the announcement that it intends to pass new national security laws that will give the Communist Party more control over political activity and freedom of expression in Hong Kong. The announcement follows a depressing week of Hong Kong news that included what many saw as pro-Beijing attacks on its education system and legislature.

“One country, two systems” is the formula under which Hong Kong was supposed to have autonomy from Beijing from 1997, when the U.K. handed the territory back to China, until 2047. Here is some of the fallout from Beijing’s move:

What was the reaction to the new law?

Hong Kong’s “stock market plunged amid expectations that money would soon be leaving the Asian financial hub, which faces tough new measures from Beijing and retaliation from the United States,” reported the New York Times (porous paywall), in a story titled “China’s tighter grip on Hong Kong shakes city’s business world.”

U.S. President Donald Trump warned that Washington would react ‘very strongly’ against the attempt to gain more control over the former British colony,” reported Reuters.

Beijing will “let mainland state-security agencies operate officially in Hong Kong,” according to the Wall Street Journal (paywall), “adding to concerns about the city’s diminishing autonomy as Beijing steps up its efforts to rein in the protest-torn city.”

Chinese state media has defended the new laws fiercely. Nationalist rag the Global Times says that America’s Hong Kong “sanction card won’t intimidate China” (Chinese version here). Xinhua News Agency says “no foreign country has the right to interfere in national security legislation for the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region.”