Hong Kong residents are bracing for a crackdown as China’s President Xi JInping steamrolled a national security law to cover the semi-autonomous region, which was supposed to enjoy freedoms until 2047, the year when it finally falls under Beijing’s complete control, but apparently, Xi thinks the 1984 agreement with the United Kingdom of the promise of autonomy and the 1997 handover under the principle of “one country, two systems” are nothing but toilet paper.

In an analysis, The Economist wrote on June 30, 2020 that Hong Kong braces itself for repression by China’s Communist Party on the 23rd anniversary of the handover, as a new national-security law takes effect and the crimes of secession, subversion and collaboration with foreign powers will be punished severely.

“The point of the new law is clearly to deter the kind of unrest that has roiled Hong Kong since then. Billboards hailing the legislation were plastered across Hong Kong even before senior officials in the city had seen it. The early outline stressed that the bill would comply with ‘important principles of the rule of law’ and international human-rights legislation. But it will take precedence should a conflict arise between the new law and existing ones. The legislature in Beijing will be able to overrule any verdict in Hong Kong’s courts. There may be little need for that: Hong Kong’s pliant government will decide which judges can handle national-security cases,” The Economist stressed.

“Hong Kong’s police will investigate such crimes. But, in a ‘tiny’ number of important cases, central-government agencies will be allowed to step in. Hong Kong’s chief executive will head a new national-security commission, with one seat reserved for a central-government ‘adviser.’ A new body will be set up in Hong Kong for mainland spooks to ‘collect and analyze national-security intelligence.’ That is likely to mean they will name targets, even if arrests will be made by a new branch of the local police that will focus on national security,” it added. A senior adviser in Hong Kong to the central government, Lau Siu-kai, says the aim is to “kill a few chickens to frighten the monkeys”—to deter people with a few high-profile sentencings rather than carry out sweeping arrests. That is just how the party likes to crush dissent on the mainland. The first test of the scare tactics will be how many people dare to protest against the new law. Even before the bill was passed, the police had turned down an application for a demonstration on July 1st. Whatever happens on the streets, however, “one country, one system” creeps ever closer.

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