The Vice Premier, Han Zheng, on Saturday reportedly moved to allay Hong Kong fears about Beijing's plan to pass a national security law for the SAR.
The proposal for the legislation which is expected to ban secession, subversion and terrorism – was introduced into the national parliament at the opening of its annual session on Friday morning, and followed repeated warnings that Beijing would no longer tolerate dissent in Hong Kong, after months of pro-democracy protests last year.
The state leader in charge of Hong Kong affairs met with about a hundred local deputies to Beijing's top advisory body at the capital early on Saturday for a meeting that lasted about two hours.
One of those present, Thomas So, said the state leader didn't give details about a proposal to allow national security agents to operate set in Hong Kong.
But So said he emphasised that the central government hoped to ensure that the rights and freedoms of Hong Kong people were protected and maintained.
He added that there would be a consultation process to ensure Hong Kong people's rights were not affected.
Ko Wing-man, another local deputy to the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference at the meeting, said the vice premier also spoke of the urgent need to enact a national security law for Hong Kong.
Ko, who's a former Health Secretary, says he also told the state leader that Hong Kong people have been doing well in the fight against Covid-19 pandemic after learning from the painful experience with SARS in 2003.
The head of the Hong Kong and Macau Affairs Office, Xia Baolong; and the director of central government's liaison office in Hong Kong, Luo Huining, were also at the meeting.
Last updated: 2020-05-23 HKT 12:59
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