Britain must act against China's intention to destroy HK autonomy: UK MP

Stewart McDonald


United Kingdom MP Stewart McDonald has called the UK government to act against China's intention to destroy Hong Kong's autonomy.

In an opinion piece in Hong Kong Free Press, McDonald, who is a member of Commons Foreign Affairs Select Committee, writes: "China has recently decided to impose a national security law on Hong Kong, bypassing its legislature, which will criminalise any act of secession, subversion, terrorism and its broad scope could see people punished for criticising Beijing - as they are in mainland China. I call on the UK government to match the courage of the protesters and not kowtow to China's bullying."

Last week, Chinese authorities divulged details of the new national security legislation for Hong Kong after the three-day meeting of the National People's Congress Standing Committee, according to a report.

The controversial legislation 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 legislation 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 jeopardise national security.

Critics say that the legislation would destroy the civil liberties that Hong Kong residents enjoy under the 'one country, two systems' agreement put in place when the United Kingdom handed the territory back to China in 1997.

McDonald said that these laws are an atrocious attack on human rights and the agreement between China and the UK, known as the Sino-British Joint Declaration.

"Hongkongers are faced with an uncertain future, one where any dissent can be punished with harsh financial and judicial penalties or even 're-education,' and Beijing can set up its own security and intelligence operations in Hong Kong. Hong Kong, the only enclave of freedom in China, is being eclipsed by tear gas, rubber bullets, live rounds, police brutality, and torture; but still Hongkongers march on," the MP noted.
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