Colm Quinn explains in Foreign Policy:
China is set to bypass Hong Kong’s legislature to enact new national security laws in the latest blow to the city’s autonomous status and a signal that 23 years of Beijing’s “one country, two systems” approach to the financial hub may be coming to an end.
Speaking to the annual gathering of the National People’s Congress in Beijing on Friday, Chinese Premier Li Keqiang said China would establish a “sound” legal system to safeguard national security for both Hong Kong and Macau.
The new law would ban “secessionist and subversive activity as well as foreign interference and terrorism” in Hong Kong, according to the South China Morning Post.
This move affirms that Hong Kong as we knew it is gone and rule of law is n ow rule by law,” China expert Bill Bishop wrote in his Sinocism newsletter.
Will the move spark more protests? “I think the provocation of last year’s protests has proved too much and Beijing wants to reassert its authority in Hong Kong forcefully and decisively,” Antony Dapiran, a writer and lawyer based in Hong Kong told Foreign Policy.
Hong Kongers have fiercely opposed national security laws in the past, viewing them as an attack on civil liberties. In 2003, half a million people protested against proposed national security legislation until the issue was dropped. The move is likely to spur fresh protests in Hong Kong
U.S. reacts with sanctions threat. The Wall Street Journalreports that U.S. Senators Chris Van Hollen and Pat Toomey will introduce a bill that would sanction Chinese officials involved in enforcing the new laws in Hong Kong. It would also sanction banks and businesses that work with entities involved in carrying out the law.