China, a new crackdown on Hong Kong autonomy

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THE TENSION GOES UP

The National People’s Congress begins today preparing the security law. Xi’s challenges: managing Covid-19 and reviving the economy.

by Luca Veronese

(AFP)

The National People’s Congress begins today preparing the security law. Xi’s challenges: managing Covid-19 and reviving the economy.

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China is preparing a new squeeze to keep Hong Kong under control. The new national security law for the former British colony is a response to the pro-democracy (and against Beijing) protests that led to a violent confrontation with pro-Chinese authorities and police last year, plunging the city into a social crisis more turbulent since it returned to China in 1997. And it is also a signal to the United States, accused by Chinese leaders of wanting to destabilize the country. Donald Trump’s response was immediate: “I don’t know what it is because nobody knows it yet, but if it happens, we will react very strongly,” said the US president from Washington. While the European Union has called on China to “respect the principle one country, two systemsยป.

The Covid-19 post

The new restrictive measures will be presented during the National People’s Congress, which opens today in the Great People’s Hall in Beijing. And that, after being postponed by three months for the pandemic, he should have focused on the strategy to revive the economy which due to Covid-19 (and the subsequent almost global lockdown) collapsed by 7% in the first quarter.

“In light of new circumstances and needs, the National People’s Congress – confirmed Congressman Zhang Yesui himself – is exercising its constitutional power” to safeguard national security in Hong Kong.

Hong Kong citizens have always opposed, even with large street demonstrations and international support, a national security law or laws that can limit democracy and remove autonomy from the former colony: the formula one country, two systems while emphasizing the authority of Beijing, it has guaranteed Hong Kong (to its citizens as well as its economy) a very special status within China. The same riots of 2019 (in which three people died, there were more than 2 thousand injured and over 7 thousand arrests) were triggered by a controversial proposed extradition law (later withdrawn) that would have allowed to try in China, for some crimes, even Hong Kong residents.



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