China on Tuesday ratified the Hong Kong National Security Law to enhance its influence in the autonomous province, according to local media.
The South China Morning Post reported that the People’s Assembly, the country’s top legislature, unanimously approved the National Security Law after detailed deliberations.
The law is expected to enter into force on June 1, the 23rd anniversary of Hong Kong’s extradition to China from British rule.
Earlier, Hong Kong Chief Executive Carey Lam Cheng, during a weekly press briefing, declined to comment on the new law, and said she would not answer any questions until the new law was passed.
Soon after the law was passed by the Chinese People’s Assembly, prominent Hong Kong opposition leaders, Joshua Wong Zhi Feng, Nathan Lu Kunzheng, and Agnes Zhao Ting, announced their resignation from their party and retired from politics.
“I now announce my resignation from the post of General Secretary of the Democesto (pro-democracy) party, my resignation from the party at the same time, and I will practice my beliefs in my personal capacity,” the Chinese newspaper quoted Wong as saying.
It is believed that Wong played a major role in pressuring American politicians for their support in approving the Hong Kong Human Rights and Democracy Law last year.
Earlier yesterday, the United States revoked the special commercial status granted to Hong Kong against the background of China’s Hong Kong National Security Law. (Medhat Mubarak)
The law, which aims to counter what China calls “separatism, conspiracy, terrorism and foreign interference” tendencies, came after demonstrations in the region since March 2019 against a bill authorizing provincial authorities to hand over wanted men to China for trial.
Hong Kong manages its internal affairs independently, but it follows Beijing in foreign and defense policies, and observers believe that the influence of the Chinese government on Hong Kong is steadily increasing.