CBS News
CBS News 1 Jul 2020

Protesters arrested in Hong Kong as Chinese national security law takes effect


China's controversial national security law, designed to keep Hong Kong in line after last year's massive protests, came into full effect overnight with police arresting hundreds of people. The law criminalizes support for splitting Hong Kong from China, overthrowing the city's government, or colluding with foreign powers -- both in Hong Kong and also around the world. CBS News Asia correspondent Ramy Inocencio reports.

A controversial new security law has taken effect in Hong Kong. It was implemented by the Chinese Communist Party in Beijing, and many argue the law curtails freedom of speech and diminishes Hong Kong's political and economic autonomy. Isaac Stone Fish, a CBSN contributor and a senior fellow at the Asia Society's Center on U.S.-China Relations, joined CBSN for a closer look at the law.
Chief Executive Carrie Lam has tried to downplay the potential impact of the Hong Kong's new security law. Addressing the United Nations Human Rights Council in a video conference on June 30, she said:

"[The national security law] will only target an extremely small minority of people who have breached the law, while the life and property, basic rights and freedoms of the overwhelming majority of Hong Kong residents will be protected."

This statement was misleading.
Hong Kong authorities swiftly moved to use the law against dissidents and unveiled sweeping new police powers that restrict freedoms citizens previously enjoyed.

The day after the law came into force on July 1 proved to be chaotic. Police used water cannons and rounds of tear gas on pro-democracy protesters. Journalists were reportedly asked to leave as protesters filled the streets with funeral papers and barricades made of trash and bricks.

Within 15 hours, the Hong Kong Police Force announced its first alleged violation of the law: a man holding a flag that read "Hong Kong independence."
Ottawa announced a series of measures, including the suspension of its extradition treaty with Hong Kong, in response to China's controversial new national security law on Hong Kong. Power & Politics speaks to Gordon Houlden, former Canadian diplomat to both Hong Kong and Beijing.
On Monday, prominent pro-democracy activist Joshua Wong submitted his application to run for a seat in Hong Kong‘s legislature. Another of the Chinese-ruled city‘s most prominent young activists, Nathan Law, recently fled Hong Kong for London. The UK is set to suspend its extradition treaty with Hong Kong amid growing international condemnation of China's new national security law in the territory. The controversial law punishes a broad range of offenses that fall under the umbrella of subversion, terrorism or collusion with foreign elements. That didn't stop pro-democracy activists from holding an unofficial primary election, hoping to come up with enough candidates to win a majority in the legislature later this year.

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