China tightens on Hong Kong and does not fix growth – From China


China tightens its grip on Hong Kong and does not announce, for the first time, the growth target for the current year. Premier Li Keqiang launches the double move at the opening of the National People’s Congress, the session of the Parliament delayed for over two months due to Covid-19: Li has assured that on the former colony Beijing will act to “establish solid legal systems and enforcement mechanisms to safeguard national security “, so that the local government can” fulfill its constitutional responsibilities “. The financial markets of Hong Kong, even before the democratic front, suffered the blow and the stock exchange closed the worst session since 2015 (-5.56%).

The nervousness is for the loss of the autonomy of the city with an initiative never so far dared by Beijing. The territories, returned from London in 1997, will be covered by the national security law for the default of the city which alone would have had to approve the rule with article 23 of the Basic Law, the mini constitution. “Although the ‘one country, two systems’ principle has been successfully implemented, the risk on national security remains exceptional,” said Wang Chen, vice president of the Standing Committee of Congress during the work. “Foreign powers are in league with anti-Chinese forces and are threatening national security. Strong measures are needed to prevent, limit and punish separatist, subversive, infiltration and sabotage activities in Hong Kong.” According to the draft to be voted on Thursday, the approved text will be effective immediately with the inclusion in Annex 3 of the Basic Law, without a vote by the local parliament. Beijing will thus be able to open and operate in the city with intelligence offices. “I feel bad – commented Dennis Kwok, pro-democracy MP from Hong Kong -. This means the end of ‘one country, two systems’.”

The Civil Human Rights Front, the 2019 mass protests group against the extradition law in China, is working on the mobilization over the weekend. The governor Carrie Lam said the opposite: “Full collaboration to complete the relevant legislation as soon as possible”. The Taiwanese government has asked to avoid “major turmoil” in Hong Kong, but the rebel island has ended up in the sights of Premier Li: China will oppose “firmly” dissuading “any separatist activity in search of independence”, aiming the “reunification” of Taipei which, this time, was not accompanied by the adjective “peaceful”, as per tradition. For US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, a “fatal blow” to the autonomy of the city will be dealt: “We are alongside the people of Hong Kong”, he added, speaking of one of the issues of confrontation with Beijing, now across the board . And the EU also asked China to respect Hong Kong’s autonomy, while in a joint note, Great Britain, Australia and Canada expressed “deep concern” for the former colony.

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