A government advertisement promoting Beijing's proposed national security law is displayed on the city hall building in Hong Kong on June 29, 2020.

China passes narrowly Hong Kong national security law: report

Beijing’s highest legislature, the National People’s Congress (NPC), passed the law unanimously on Tuesday morning, local time, bypassing Hong Kong law, through a rarely used constitutional courtyard, according to Hong Kong, the public television channel RTHK, citing unnamed sources.

China’s state-run Xinhua news agency previously reported that the law would criminalize acts such as secession, subversion against the central Chinese government, terrorism and quarrels with foreign powers.

The bill was not released before it was passed, meaning most people in Hong Kong have not seen the details of the law that will now govern their lives.

The adoption of the law has not been officially confirmed, and the details remain unclear. But RTHK reports that the maximum possible sentence for crimes under the law will be “much higher” than 10 years in prison.

Hong Kong CEO Carrie Lam declined to comment on the progress of the law at her weekly news conference Tuesday morning, saying it would be “inappropriate” to answer questions while the NPC meeting is still ongoing.

The laws have been sharply criticized by opposition lawmakers in Hong Kong, human rights groups and politicians around the world, with many saying the law will cement Beijing’s direct control over the semi-autonomous city. Many worry that the law could be used to target political dissidents, due to fear stemming from the results of Chinese court results.

The law comes a day before July 1, the anniversary of Hong Kong’s surrender from British colonial rule to China in 1997. It became the city’s annual protest day, but for the first time since the surrender, police did not allow protesters to hold peaceful demonstrations.

This is an evolving story

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