Xi signs contentious Hong Kong national security law Jul 01, 2020 0 338 12345 DPABeijingChinese President Xi Jinping has signed a decree enacting a national security law for Hong Kong, which has stoked fears among pro-democracy activists in the city and condemnation from governments around the world.Details of the law have not yet been released, but the state-run Xinhua news agency said it takes effect as of Tuesday.The legislation targets secession, subversion, terrorism and foreign interference in Hong Kong, a special administrative region of China that until now has enjoyed freedoms not seen on the mainland.Critics fear the law will quash dissent in the financial hub, which has been roiled by protests for the past year.Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam said in statement the law was “both necessary and urgent in order to plug the loophole in national security in Hong Kong.” In a separate recorded video message to the UN Human Rights Council, Lam defended the legislation by arguing that the central government in Beijing could not turn a blind eye to violent protests, as well as to calls for independence and foreign interference from some Hong Kong politicians.“Basic rights and freedoms of the overwhelming majority of Hong Kong residents will be protected,” she said.Lam accused foreign governments that are criticizing the law of double standards and said that every country had the right to have national security legislation.Before Xi signed the decree, the National People’s Congress Standing Committee, a top legislative body, unanimously approved the legislation. It also added it to Hong Kon’s Basic Law. The text of the law has not been released and much of what is contained within is not known. Sources told the South China Morning Post the legislation carries a maximum penalty of life in jail.Foreign governments and rights groups have decried the law’s passage. The European Commission considers the new legislation to be a breach of China’s international commitments and is “seriously concerned,” commission president Ursula von der Leyen said.Japan earlier said the law’s passage was “regrettable.” The law would also see the establishment of mainland Chinese security agencies in Hong Kong, according to a summary previously published by Xinhua. Only a handful of Hong Kong delegates to the national legislature saw a draft of the law before its approval, a contentious point with Hong Kong residents.The city’s chief executive, who must answer to Beijing, will be empowered to decide which judges can hear trials for state security cases.Amnesty International said Beijing’s passing of national security laws on Hong Kong’s behalf “represents the greatest threat to human rights in the city’s recent history.” The head of the rights group’s China team, Joshua Rosenzweig, said that Beijing’s exclusion of Hong Kong’s existing legislature in drafting and passing the law shows that the People’s Republic of China aims “to govern Hong Kong through fear from this point forward.” Pages 12 RELATED ARTICLES India’s ban on TikTok and other apps draws sharp China rebuke Jul 01, 2020 0 219 Myanmar finds soldiers guilty in Rohingya atrocities court martial Jul 01, 2020 0 219 Taiwan says ‘one country, two systems’ in Hong Kong has proven failed Jul 01, 2020 0 14 Philippine panel ‘quietly’ reviewing thousands of drug war deaths DPA Manila/Geneva The Philippine government has been “quietly” reviewing more than 5,000 deaths that occurred during its aggressive years-long crackdown on drugs, the country’s justice minister said Tuesday. In .. Pakistan PM blames India for stock exchange attack AFP Islamabad Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan on Tuesday blamed India for a deadly attack on the stock exchange in Karachi, saying there was “no doubt” who was responsible. “Our security forces fought and thwarted a .. New Zealand says APEC 2021 to be virtual summit AFP Wellington The annual APEC summit of Asia-Pacific leaders will be virtual next year to avoid travel risks associated with the global coronavirus pandemic, 2021 hosts New Zealand said Tuesday. Foreign Minister .. UN blames Afghan forces for deadly market shellig Kabul The United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) on Tuesday blamed Afghan forces for firing mortar shells that struck a busy market in a southern province, killing at least 23 civilians. “UNAMA’s .. Two dead, four hospitalised after gas leak in India pharma plant New Delhi At least two workers were killed and four more hospitalized after a gas leak at a pharmaceutical plant in India’s southern state of Andhra Pradesh, police said on Tuesday. The incident occurred at the plant of .. Chinese researchers warn of new swine flu with potential for pandemic DPA Beijing Scientists in China have identified a variant of the swine flu virus that has the potential to develop into a human pandemic. The team led by George Gao from the Chinese Centre for Disease Control and Prevention ..