The assembly approved the proposal with 2,878 in favor, one against and six abstained, with the effect of imposing on the former British colony the controversial law that will punish secession, subversion of state power, terrorism and acts that endanger security national.
In view of the vote, after the announcement of the measure last week, Hong Kong has seen rising protests that, between Sunday and Wednesday, led to the arrest of over 600 people. The United States criticized the move that would have threatened the city’s autonomy and freedoms agreements based on the agreements that led to the passage of Hong Kong in 1997 from British to Chinese sovereignty.
“An important action,” comments the president of the National People’s Assembly, Li Zhanshu, explaining that it is “in line with the fundamental interests of people in China and Hong Kong.” The new law will allow to continue steadily with the “one country, two systems” model – which should regulate relations between Beijing and Hong Kong.
In response, the United States has revoked Hong Kong’s special statute under American law. The decision, made while Washington accuses Beijing of trampling on Hong Kong’s autonomy, will mean that the financial hub will no longer enjoy financial privileges, nor lower tariffs than China. “No reasonable person can say today that Hong Kong maintains a high degree of autonomy from China, given what is happening on the ground,” said Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.
The revocation of the special status is defined by Beijing as a “barbaric, unreasonable and shameless” act, to which China strongly opposes. The spokesman for the Beijing Foreign Ministry office in Hong Kong has asked the United States to “immediately stop” interference in the Hong Kong issue and China’s internal affairs.
China and the US are having “new problems and difficulties” in bilateral relations in many fields and China continues to reject the “Cold War mentality,” said Premier Li Keqiang, at the press conference closing the National People’s Congress. He defined the friction points between the two countries as “inevitable” based on the differences in their social and cultural systems. China and the United States, however, “gain from cooperation and lose through confrontation”, and bilateral cooperation between Beijing and Washington “is in the interest of both peoples and the world”.
Joshua Wong, leader of Hong Kong’s pro-democracy activists, said in a press conference that “now is the time for President Trump to exercise his power in line with the indications of Secretary of State Pompeo.” Da Wong has appealed to the international community to express his opposition to the controversial national security law that Beijing is preparing to adopt. And to European, Asian and American leaders to share Pompeo’s line. “We ask the international community to act and keep our eyes on Hong Kong. Now is the time to act and fight, “he added.
Washington had asked to convene a UN Security Council meeting on the situation in Hong Kong, but for Beijing this request is “without foundation”. For Beijing’s ambassador to the UN, Zhang Un “the national security legislation for Hong Kong only concerns China’s internal affairs” and therefore “has nothing to do with the mandate of the Security Council”.
Another American reaction to China is the approval by the United States Congress of a measure that paves the way for sanctions against Chinese officials for the internment of Uyghurs and other minorities. The measure, called the Uighur Human Rights Act, has already raised Beijing’s wrath. The signature of President Donald Trump is now missing.