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'Allowing mainland agents a complete disruption'

2020-05-22 HKT 12:45
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  • 'Allowing mainland agents a complete disruption'
Pro-democracy groups on Friday warned that Beijing’s move to enact a national security law for Hong Kong will pave way for the central government setting up its own national security bureau to operate in the Special Administrative Region.

Under the Basic Law, local law enforcement rests with the Hong Kong government and mainland agencies cannot operate in the SAR without the government’s permission.

At a joint press briefing by opposition parties who were joined by human rights activists and a religious group, speakers said Beijing is not only demolishing Hong Kong and the "One Country. Two Systems" principle, but also hurting its own interests by planning to impose national security laws here.

Former lawmaker and secretary of the Alliance in Support of Patriotic Democratic movements in China, Lee Cheuk-yan, said under the draft – which was unveiled in Beijing on Friday – the central government can set up its own national security bureau in Hong Kong.

“It’s a complete disruption of the Hong Kong system of course when they impose a national security organisation in Hong Kong, set up by the Chinese Communist Party in Hong Kong,” said Lee.

He said it is a signal that Beijing is “directly taking control” through this move. “But of course they said that there’s a word there that, you know, sort of says that if they need to,” he said.

Lee also said this is a challenge to everyone. “They are challenging the world, are you going to do something for Hong Kong? If you are not doing anything for Hong Kong, then they will do that,” said the former lawmaker.

The Civic Party’s Tanya Chan, who is the spokeswoman for the pan-democratic camp, said if mainland security agencies are established here, she’s concerned suspects could be taken to the mainland from Hong Kong.

Democratic Party lawmaker Helena Wong added that this would mean “even the SAR government will not be able to regulate what the agents do in Hong Kong”.

The Justice & Peace Commission of the Catholic Diocese said it is concerned the national security laws will be used to suppress religious activities.

The commission’s Jacky Hung said the city should have universal suffrage before laws on national security are enacted.