Beijing is set to strengthen its control over Hong Kong as it plans to impose national security legislation on the semi-autonomous territory in a move that has been condemned internationally.
Mass protests in the metropolis have begun again after taking a hiatus for the Covid-19 pandemic and police have responded harshly while Hong Kong’s legislature was suspended, and two pro-democracy politicians ejected from the chamber.
Hand to hand scuffles erupted between politicians following a fierce debate over a proposed bill that would see criminal offence to “disrespect” China’s national anthem in the region as it is in mainland China.
The move by the Chinese Communist Party has not only raised tensions in Hong Kong but internationally with the US now considering additional sanctions over the move and Daniel Russel, Vice President of the Asia Society Policy Institute saying:
“The legislation on Hong Kong was a decisive show of force by Xi Jinping, signalling a willingness to defy international opinion, to challenge the United States and to threaten the people of Hong Kong – and by extension, the people on Taiwan as well,
There is little sympathy for Hong Kong protesters on the mainland, and this muscle-flexing by Xi is a timely distraction from the government’s early missteps on COVID-19 and the serious unemployment and economic problems that have followed the lockdown measures.”
The US Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo, said on Wednesday that the move meant that Hong Kong is no longer “autonomous” from China and this means it will no longer benefit from the special economic treatment that helped make it one of the world’s most dynamic trading and financial hubs.
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