On Wednesday (October 25), Hong Kong’s leader, John Lee, announced that the region would enact its own national security law in 2024. This decision follows four years after Beijing imposed comprehensive legislation with the aim of suppressing dissent in the region.
During his yearly policy address, Lee said: “The Government is pressing ahead to draw up effective legislative options and will complete the legislative exercise in 2024.”
In 2019, Hong Kong was rocked by pro-democracy protests rocked. The protests also erupted in other parts of the world. Hundreds of thousands of people took to the streets, demanding greater freedoms and more autonomy from China.
But Beijing imposed a national security law in reaction to punish four major crimes — secession, subversion, terrorism and collusion with foreign forces. The sentences ranged up to life in prison.
China introduced the national security law for Hong Kong in 2020. The law it easier for Beijing to prosecute protesters and provided the nation with powers to shape life in Hong Kong the way it has never had before, with critics labelling it “the end of Hong Kong”.
Lee, who was a security chief, said that the government would “continue to safeguard national security and improve its relevant legal system and enforcement mechanisms”.
In Hong Kong, the Basic Law states that it is required to make its own law combating seven security-related crimes, including treason and espionage.
The task, often referred to as “a constitutional responsibility” by the city’s government, has yet to be fulfilled. The last legislative attempt in 2003 was shelved after half a million Hong Kongers took to the streets to protest the move.