China is now censoring news reports that discuss the controversial national security legislation currently being debated in the National People’s Congress, an entity which largely acts to rubber stamp the decisions of the leadership of the CCP.
The legislation aims to crack down on “treason, secession, sedition, and subversion” within Hong Kong, and would allow “national security organs of the Central People’s Government” to set up agencies in Hong Kong itself. The legislation is understood to be a reaction to, and an attempt to crack down on, the protests which have rocked Hong Kong since the middle of last year.
According to Stephen McDonell, China Correspondent with the BBC, the broadcast of BBC News which discussed the legislation was totally blacked out during that part of the show, with the program returning to normal once they moved on to another topic.
Don’t adjust your set! @BBCWorld TV screens going to black across mainland #China every time we even mention the new national security legislation covering #HongKong. The bill introduced today at the opening of the NationalPeople’sCongress in #Beijing is 100% guaranteed to pass. pic.twitter.com/nioBogDjOa
— Stephen McDonell (@StephenMcDonell) May 22, 2020
The move to bring the legislation through the National People’s Congress would see China totally ignore Hong Kong’s Legislative Council and instead impose the legislation directly on the territory. Hong Kong, due to its historical ownership by the British, which ended in 1997, and the “One country, two systems” principle agreed to by the CCP before Hong Kong was returned to them, is a semi-autonomous part of China and is meant to possess “a high of autonomy” from the CCP on internal matters other than defense.
Johnny Patterson, Director of the human rights NGO Hong Kong Watch, said that, “this law will introduce a range of vague and draconian changes to Hong Kong law”, and that whilst “all countries have a duty to protect their own national security” this must not be done “at the expense of fundamental rights and freedoms.”
Lord Patten of Barnes, who served as the last governor of Hong Kong, said that “the integrity of one-country, two-systems hangs by thread”, and that the move underlines “something which more and more people understand: Chinese Communism is not to be trusted on anything.”
Carrie Lam, current leader of Hong Kong, has said she will ‘fully cooperate’ with Beijing in implementing the law, and that it was necessary in order to, “sanction those who undermine national security by advocating ‘Hong Kong independence’ and resorting to violence.”