Chinese authorities release details of proposed security legislation for Hong Kong

Beijing [China], June 21 (ANI): The Chinese authorities on Saturday divulged the details of the new national security legislation for Hong Kong after the three-day meeting of the National People's Congress Standing Committee, Sputnik reported.

The controversial legislation, which drew strong criticism from Hong Kong citizens and abroad, comprises six chapters and 66 articles. The chapters, inter alia, cover general provisions, duties and mechanisms for ensuring Hong Kong's national security, issues of crimes and penalties, jurisdiction and law enforcement.

The draft document lists the main responsibilities of the Chinese authorities regarding national security, as well as Hong Kong's constitutional responsibility to maintain it. The bill sets out rules for the prevention, suppression and punishment of secessionist activities, attempts to undermine the state authority, terrorist activities, and colluding with foreign states or forces to jeopardize national security.

According to the bill, the Chinese government will establish a national security agency in Hong Kong, which will be responsible for analysing security situation in the special administrative region, making recommendations on the policy in the field of national security, as well as monitoring, coordinating, guiding and supporting Hong Kong in the implementation of national security obligations. Moreover, the body will have to set up a mechanism for cooperation with the region's law enforcement and judicial authorities.

The bill stresses that the central government of China will have very limited jurisdiction primarily confined to special national security matters.

Hong Kong is also set to create a new committee headed by the city's chief executive to ensure national security. According to the bill, it will be accountable to Beijing. The chief executive of Hong Kong will be able to appoint judges to cases involving crimes threatening national security.

In addition, the autonomous city's police department should set up a new special unit to ensure national security. The draft states that almost all judicial proceedings in the relevant cases, including the initiation of criminal proceedings and investigation, prosecution and punishment should be conducted under the jurisdiction of Hong Kong with the application of the said bill and local laws.

It is emphasized that activities to ensure the national security should be carried out with respect to human rights and freedoms in accordance with the provisions of the Hong Kong Basic Law, the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights. In particular, freedom of speech, press and media, freedom of assembly, processions and demonstrations must be respected.

According to media sources, a final vote on the bill would be held in the coming weeks. (ANI)