Beijing is moving ahead with introducing national security legislation in Hong Kong.
A spokesman of the National People's Congress, Zhang Yesui, said at a press conference in Beijing on Thursday evening that the proposal would strengthen "enforcement mechanisms" in the SAR.
The National People's Congress Standing Committee will put forward proposals relating to the "setting up of comprehensive legal and enforcement mechanisms, in order to uphold national security" at the upcoming NPC plenary session.
"The Hong Kong SAR is an inseparable part of the People's Republic of China. The NPC is the highest organ of state power. In light of the new circumstances and need, the NPC is exercising the power enshrined in the constitution to establish and improve, at the state level, a legal framework and enforcement mechanism for safeguarding national security in the Hong Kong SAR, and to uphold and improve the institutional framework of One Country, Two Systems. This is highly necessary," Zhang said.
By putting the matter to the National People's Congress in a resolution, Beijing would be introducing its own national security legislation for Hong Kong and doing away with the need for the SAR to enact new laws via Basic Law Article 23.
The move appears to signal that the central government has either lost patience with Hong Kong which has failed to bring in such legislation over the 23 years since the handover, or it believes this might not be possible for some time with pro-democracy candidates expected to do well in this September's Legco elections.
The resolution is expected to be put to a vote next week.
With the annual session of the NPC beginning on Friday, local deputy Maggie Chan had said she planned to propose the idea of bypassing Legco by making use of Basic Law Article 18 which allows the NPC Standing Committee to insert national laws into Annex 3 of the city's mini-constitution.
Laws included in the annex can then be applied in Hong Kong via promulgation or local legislation.
Media reports said the legislation would outlaw secession, foreign interference and acts of terrorism in the city.
Last month, the director of Beijing’s liaison office, Luo Huining, said Hong Kong needed to bring in new national security legislation "as soon as possible", to combat radical violence, foreign interference and pro-independence forces.
He said the ongoing anti-government protest movement had dealt a major blow to the rule of law, and had been orchestrated by pro-independence and radical violent forces and seriously threatened national security.
Last updated: 2020-5-22 HKT 02.30
Beijing to put forward national security law in HK
2020-05-21 HKT 21:32
Paramilitary police walk near the Great Hall of the People, the venue for the annual session of the National People's Congress which begins on Friday. Photo: Reuters
A spokesman of the National People's Congress, Zhang Yesui (centre), said the proposal would strengthen "enforcement mechanisms" here. Photo: Xinhua
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