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HONG Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam warned today against foreign interference in the Chinese territory’s domestic affairs, following international criticism of plans for a new security law.
She defended the draft legislation, which would ban treason, secession, sedition and subversion, as a necessary and responsible measure to protect the law-abiding majority of Hong Kong citizens.
Opponents claim that that the proposals constitute an attack on the city’s freedoms and would be used to target political opposition.
But at her weekly press conference, Ms Lam dismissed the allegations as baseless and said that the response from the public “flies in the face of what those overseas politicians are saying.”
She insisted that the Bill would only target those involved in terrorism or subversion, reminding the journalists present that the full details of the draft law had yet to be published.
The values and liberties of Hong Kong citizens would remain, Ms Lam said, while adding that “rights and freedoms are not absolute.”
Under the “one country, two systems” arrangement, Hong Kong is a special administrative region of China, enjoying a high degree of autonomy and retaining its own capitalist system, but the Beijing government has ultimate jurisdiction.
The draft legislation will be put to a vote of China’s National People’s Congress this week and, once passed, will be fleshed out and implemented by the end of June.
Ms Lam hit out at critics of the proposed national security law, saying that they had “no place interfering with this arrangement.”
Last year, Hong Kong was convulsed by months of protest as right-wing separatists, backed by nefarious US soft-power agency the National Endowment for Democracy, took to the streets in a wave of violence against people and property.
Though the demonstrators claimed to be fighting for democracy, their actions — vandalising Metro stations, banks and shops and assaulting those deemed to be supporters of Beijing — were condemned by the majority of citizens.
The rioters, who attempted to stir up anti-China sentiment, appealed to US President Donald Trump to “make Hong Kong great again” and called on former colonial power Britain to intervene.
Today, an editorial in the China Daily News said: “Every country has a right and a duty to protect its national security. To suggest that China does not have the same right to legislate to protect national security in Hong Kong shows a double standard and hypocrisy.”
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